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Personal watercrafts and potential dangers

Personal watercrafts and potential dangers

January 24, 2013

The popularity of personal watercrafts has exploded in recent years around the world, and Hawaii is certainly no exception. There are dozens of rental companies throughout the islands offering a variety of high-powered ocean sleds to eager enthusiasts, in an industry that has enjoyed the benefits of this increased popularity.

Recent high-profile accidents involving personal watercrafts, however, have increased concern about the potential dangers the machines pose to ocean-goers. In August of 2012, California resident Kristen Fonseca was involved in a high-speed watercraft collision at Keehi Lagoon and died soon after as a result of a traumatic brain injury. Tyson Dagley, the Australian tourist who was operating the watercraft that collided with Fonseca’s, was arrested and pleaded “no contest” to charges related to Fonseca’s death. He was sentenced to time served, fined $78,000, and released from custody to return to Australia.

A similar incident in Georgia in July, 2012, saw the stepson of pop superstar Usher and another child critically injured after being struck by a personal watercraft at a recreational site.

It is crucial for operators of such personal watercraft to be aware of safety measures to prevent such tragedies. Researchers at the University of Florida have found that inexperienced operators are responsible for 95% of all injuries related to personal watercraft injuries.

Below are some tips to Avoid Jet Ski Injuries:

  • Always wear a properly rated personal flotation device and protective eyewear.
  • Always wear a lanyard attached to a “kill switch” in the event of being separated from the watercraft.
  • Wear a whistle around your neck in the event of the need to summon help.
  • Children should always wear a protective helmet, and never operate a personal watercraft without adult supervision.
  • Be aware of other watercrafts and vessels in the vicinity.
  • Keep a safe distance from other vessels in the area.
  • Never operate a personal watercraft after consuming alcohol.
  • Personal watercrafts are, by law, a motorboat like any other, and are required to abide by the same maritime rules and regulations.

If you’ve been involved in an accident or personal injury through someone else’s negligence or carelessness, they can be held responsible and liable. Give us a call, or write to us. We can help.

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