U. S. Coast Guard statistics show that July was the month of the year 2010 with the greatest number of personal watercraft incidents: 1140 accidents and 108 deaths. The total number of personal watercraft-related accidents in 2010 was 4607, including 672 deaths. The year 2011 is shaping up to be a similar year as many seek to escape the oppressive heat of the summer on personal watercraft.
The number of personal watercraft fatalities are second only to those involving open motorboats. At the top of the list of injuries occurring in 2010 and involving personal watercraft, are broken bones, lacerations, scrapes and bruises, concussions, and hypothermia. The least publicized injuries are those to the groin and abdominal area. Victims are seriously and permanently injured when they fall off the backs of their personal watercraft and suffer severe damage from the jet nozzle. Because injuries to the vagina, anus and rectum have received little attention from the media, most operators and owners of personal watercraft are unaware of the dangers. Those who rent personal watercraft are often given little instruction on how to operate the vehicle and race away without the benefit of supervision or training.
While some safety experts are calling for manufacturers to redesign and improve personal watercraft by adding a reverse thruster, braking-type system to help slow the vehicle when approaching a hazard and install protective seatbacks that would prevent the driver or passenger from falling directly behind the craft into the jet nozzle, operators of personal watercraft can take some simple precautions to prevent accidents:
1. Pay attention at all times while operating the craft.
2. Seek knowledge and training on how to safely operate the vehicle prior to leaving the dock. Log on to PWCSafetySchool.com for information.
3. Do not use alcohol while operating the craft.
4. Use a proper lookout.
5. Avoid congested or hazardous waters.
6. Load the craft properly.
If you or a loved one are injured in a personal watercraft accident, you may need an attorney to represent you. The experienced and compassionate attorneys at the Law Offices of Henry Hanflik can help you now.