There’s nothing like fun on the water. Boating, waterskiing, kayaking,
sailing, paddleboarding, windsurfing – just a few of the many ways
South Floridians get out and enjoy the waves. One of the more popular
aquatic activities is the use of personal watercraft (PWC), which began
as “water scooters” in the 1950s and evolved into stand-up
and sit-down varieties.
A fast-growing segment of the recreational marine industry,
there are over 117,000 personal watercraft registered in the Sunshine State. PWCs today are marketed under brand names such as:
- Yamaha’s WaveRunner
- Kawasaki’s Jet Ski
- Bombardier’s Sea Doo
- Honda’s AquaTrax
- Polaris’ Sealion
- Arctic Cat’s Tigershark.
Individuals on personal watercraft lack protection in a way similar to
those who ride motorcycles. Such exposure leaves them extremely vulnerable
to serious injuries in an accident. Help yourself by:
- Wearing highly visible clothing
- Wearing a life jacket
- Not operating under the influence of alcohol or riding with someone who is
- Not speeding
- Not going out in rough waters
- Taking a boating course.
Easier to use and more affordable than boats, personal watercraft don’t
come hazard-free. Last year alone, the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation
Commission reported that PWCs were involved in 22 percent of all reportable
boating accidents, and 44 percent of those accidents involved a collision
with another vessel. In 2015, a total of 33 personal watercraft accidents
were reported in Miami-Dade County, which was more than any other. Combining
Miami-Dade with Monroe County and Pinellas County accounted for 51 percent
of accidents statewide.
Common accidents include:
- Colliding with a vessel
- Colliding with a fixed object
- Falling on the PWC
- Falling into the water
- Being flooded/swamped.
Lack of experience is often a contributor to these accidents as is reflected
in the fact that 43 percent of the personal watercrafts that were involved
in accidents last year were rentals. Failure to take proper precautions
or have adequate instruction before operating a machine that can go 60
miles an hour can end in disaster. Even experienced riders can get into
trouble by operating the PWCs too fast, recklessly, or under the influence
of drugs or alcohol. Sometimes, injuries result from a defect or malfunction
in the machine itself.
Recent South Florida PWC accidents include:
If a personal watercraft accident caused an injury or death in your family,
you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent your interests.
As one of South Florida's most respected and oldest law firms, Stabinski
& Funt, P.A. has helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities,
and remedies. For 45 years, we have been the trusted advocates for countless
accident victims, and we are highly experienced in handling a wide range
of marine accident cases. We also work on a contingency basis, which means
that if there is no recovery, there is no fee or cost to you. If you wish
to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you, we encourage
you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 305-964-8644-3100 or
filling out a case evaluation form.