While most parts of the United States are chilly around this time of the year, Florida’s eternal sunshine seems to keep things warm. If there’s one downside to Florida being such an ideal location for people to come to for a vacation, it’s that it entices so many to ride personal watercraft despite not knowing how to operate them. Individuals get hurt or killed in the state each year because of this.
The latest Boating and Accident Statistical Report published by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) at the end of 2017 captured how there were 151 incidents involving personal watercraft that year. This accounts for 20 percent of all reported boating accidents. At least 11 operators of these vessels were killed in them.
Of all those incidents, at least 46 percent, or 96 of them, involved rented equipment. The report shows that 63 of them involved a second water vessel. As for where the incidents occurred, at least 40 percent happened in either Pinellas, Monroe or Miami-Dade counties. More detailed data about these crashes gives some insight about why these crashes occurred. Personal watercraft operators appeared to follow too closely to other vessels. They often failed to look over their shoulders for other boaters before attempting to make turns. They tended to stall, making them more vulnerable to being crashed into. They also didn’t continue scanning the boating area for potential traffic congestion.
Although personal watercraft operators are expected to uphold the same responsibilities that any captain of any other water vessel is expected to, they generally not skilled as to how to maneuver them as well as they should.
With personal watercraft, if the collision itself doesn’t seriously injure or kill you, then an accidental drowning might. Individuals who have been seriously hurt or lost a loved one out on the water should consult with a recreational boating accident attorney who can advise them of their right to file a lawsuit against the negligent party. For more than 40 years, the Law Offices of John W. Merting, P.A. has represented people injured in personal watercraft incidents.