The weather is heating up and so is the market for water sport equipment rentals. Both local residents and visitors love to rent jet skis, water scooters and other personal watercraft equipment for a few hours out in the water and a good time. Unfortunately, while water sports can be fun, they can also be dangerous.
Our West Palm Beach accident lawyers know that there are over 100,000 personal pleasure watercrafts registered in the state of Florida and that there are almost 2,500 registered rental watercrafts. Both individuals who own their own pleasure watercrafts as well as those who are renting, should follow some basic safety rules in order to avoid becoming the victim of an accident on the water.
The Dangers of Personal Watercrafts
Accidents on personal watercrafts are a serious public health problem in places like Florida where the weather is warm, where there are many miles of coastline and where there are a large number of tourists. Unfortunately, the statistics show just how serious the problem is. According to the Boating Accident Statistical Report for 2011:
- There were 162 personal watercraft accidents over the course of the year
- There were seven personal watercraft fatalities during the year
- There were 144 people seriously injured over the year
- In Palm Beach alone, there were eight accidents and nine serious injuries in 2011. In this county, there are a total of 6,493 registered pleasure watercrafts and 59 rentals.
Each of these statistics represent a person whose life was interrupted because of an accident while enjoying watersports equipment. Just recently, for example, the Palm Beach Post reported a man who had been injured in a water scooter accident that occurred in the 1900 block of Beach Road. The man was taken back to shore by a Fire Rescue marine unit and was flown to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach to receive emergency care.
While accidents can happen any time on personal watercrafts, there are ways to minimize the risk. It is important for anyone renting a jet ski, a water scooter or any other type of recreational watersport equipment to follow some basic safety rules. For example, you should:
- Always wear a life jacket, even if you are an expert swimmer.
- Use any safety precautions available on the watercraft. For example, jet skis may have a kill cord attached to the handlebars that can loop around your wrist. If you fall off the jet ski, the kill cord will stop the engine so the jet ski doesn't continue to operate.
- Remain alert at all times.
- Never drink before operating a personal watercraft
- Use common sense and don't take unnecessary risks such as using the waves of passing motorboats as launching points to soar in the air.
These are just a few key safety tips to follow. When renting equipment, it is also important to find a reliable rental company with well-maintained water crafts. A rental company who fails in their obligation to provide safe equipment could potentially be sued and held responsible for injuries, but it is far better for those renting watercrafts to choose a company wisely so they don't get hurt in the first place.
If you've been hurt in a water sport accident, contact West Palm Beach injury attorney David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394.