Do you boat? Like to ride on jet ski's? Be careful, injury numbers from these accidents are staggering in our area. Riding a jet ski (or personal watercraft) is one of the most exciting things you can do on the water, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Although statistics indicate that jet skis are not involved in a significantly greater percentage of accidents than other watercraft, the accidents involving jet skis are more likely to be serious or fatal. Inexperience seems to lead to may Jet Ski crashes, according to Safetyresource.org. In many cases, injured riders are using a borrowed or rented machine at the time of their crash. Many people also don't realize that, just like a car, a Jet Ski requires a certain stopping distance. Additionally, the Jet Ski's power steering only functions when the motor is on. If the vehicle gets swamped, or something else happens that cuts power, the rider will not be able to steer.
In other cases, injuries can happen to swimmers who are hit by Jet Ski operators, or who are sucked into the powerful water intake jets on the front of the machine.
Many jurisdictions have laws regarding speed and prohibiting certain "tricks" with a Jet Ski, such as wake jumping or spinning u-turns. Boating in Martin and St Lucie Counties follow all posted laws. Do not ride a jet ski unless you have reached the legal age to do so according to the relevant jurisdiction. Although in some states one only needs to be 11 years old to operate a jet ski, in many states one must be 16. At present, the personal watercraft industry recommends that jet ski riders be at least 16 years old.
Of course, combining alcohol or drugs with any type of water activity is dangerous and illegal, as well.
To remain safe while using any personal watercraft, riders should wear a tight-fitting life jacket that doesn't impede arm movement. In addition, they should make sure they familiarize themselves with how the vehicle works. Most importantly, they should stay sober and obey all safety rules.