Safety On The Water

A day on a sailboat might be relaxing, but for real thriller-seekers, personal watercrafts are the best way to spend a day on the water. Personal watercrafts are recreational watercrafts that involve a riding standing or sitting on the vessel, rather than in it. Though formally called personal watercrafts, they are often referred to by brand-names, like Jet Ski, Sea-Doo, or WaveRunner. All of these brands, however, refer to personal watercrafts.

While fun, personal watercrafts can be incredibly dangerous. They are less visible than other watercrafts, and can travel at high speeds— sometimes, this is a recipe for disaster. According to statistics from the United States Coast Guard, 40% of boating fatalities in 2012 involved personal watercrafts. Of the 58 personal watercraft accidents in that same year, 23 deaths were the result of drowning, while other factors caused 35 deaths. During a personal watercraft accident, causes of death might include head trauma, spinal injuries, or other trauma incurred during a collision with an object or other vessel.

Thankfully, with a little preparation and awareness, accidents can be easily prevented! There are important steps you can take on the water— and even some things you can do before you embark from the dock.

Before

  • Check the vessel for any damage, and make any necessary repairs. Check the steering, fuel levels, and battery connections, and look for any damage of the hull, throttle, and engine.
  • Talk to a neighbor or friend before leaving, and let them known when you intend to return. If you do not show up at the appointed time, they can alert authorities, like the Coast Guard or a local search-and-rescue agency.
  • Bring all necessary safety equipment, including a lifejacket and a kill switch that can attach to your wrist or lifejacket; a kill switch will stop the vessel if you fall off.
  • When you reach your location, make sure the area looks safe.

On The Water

  • Know the rules of the water. For example, be aware that non-powered crafts, like sailboats, have the right-of-way.
  • Never carry more weight than your personal watercraft is designed to carry. This includes extra passengers.
  • Stay in sight of the shoreline.
  • Stay away from any areas that are clearly labeled as not allowing personal watercrafts
  • Do not try to ride the wake of a boat; it is very easy to misjudge the distance, which can cause a collision with the boat
  • Keep an eye on the fuel gauge, and make sure you have enough fuel to return to shore
  • Stay alert at all times. Look out for other boaters and marine life, and always keep an eye on the weather.
  • Never operate a personal watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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