Florida: A Water Wonderland
Florida is a wonderland for watersports. Jutting out from the United States, Florida separates the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico and reaches out to the Caribbean Sea. So much coastline means there are so many opportunities to have fun out on the water. From the white sand beaches of the west coast to the party beaches of Miami, there’s something for everyone to do in the waters off the Florida coast. Some people are fine with sunbathing all day, but others need an injection of adrenaline in their beach time. Many people choose to go jet skiing when they come to Florida. It’s unfortunate but Florida jet ski accidents are more common than you think.
Florida Jet Ski Accidents Statistics
According to 2011 data released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, that year saw $316,856 in property damages from Florida jet ski accidents. In one county, Monroe County, one out of seventy-nine registered jet skis was involved in an accident! Monroe led the state, with Miami-Dade County coming in second. Third place goes to the west coast and Pinellas County. Palm Beach county took fifth place. The number of jet skis in the state exceeds six figures. The majority of jet skis registered in the state are for private use, while a small percentage is for rentals. Whether someone is a seasoned jet skier or just trying it out for the first time, negligence can lead anyone to make a mistake.
Carelessness and Inattention on a Jet Ski
Negligence is responsible for close to seventy-five percent of Florida jet ski accidents. Negligence is when someone fails to take reasonable care when using a personal watercraft. Many Florida jet ski accidents occur when people go too fast and panic. Also, when something floats in the driver’s way, he or she releases the throttle. The driver loses his or her ability to turn the personal watercraft if they release the throttle. There are many ways accidents happen. If someone can prove that they were injured due to the negligence of a jet ski driver, they can pursue a lawsuit and recover damages. Compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more can be gained through suing a negligent personal watercraft driver.
A Problem Nationwide
Of course, a state like Nebraska will have fewer jet ski accidents than a state like Florida. However, other statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard shows that jet skis are involved in over thirty percent of all accidents on the water in the United States, and the Coast Guard attributes forty percent of all boating injuries to personal watercraft. In Texas, personal watercraft have the same regulations as boats and everything you need for a boat is necessary on a jet ski. Life jackets are mandatory and a personal watercraft cannot come within fifty feet of another vessel. Even with this tightened regulations, accidents still happen.
Florida has several regulations that try to curb personal watercraft accidents, but these regulations cannot ensure everyone is driving safely. In Florida, the operator of a personal watercraft must be over fourteen years old, and if someone wants to rent a personal watercraft they must be over eighteen. Also, it is illegal for someone to knowingly let someone younger than fourteen drive a jet ski in Florida. Every driver must have a cutoff switch attached to his or her person so the jet ski powers off if the driver falls into the water. Driving a jet ski a half hour before or after sunrise or sunset is illegal, as is weaving through boat traffic. If you weave through traffic on a jet ski in Florida, you are committing a first-degree misdemeanor.
Injuries and Death
The worst thing that can happen in a jet ski accident is death. Thankfully, deaths are a minor portion of the outcomes in Florida jet ski accidents. The seriousness of the injuries sustained from jet ski accidents includes concussion, broken bones, and lacerations. In fact, the majority of accidents lead to broken bones!
Let Silver and Silver Help You
People should know the rules of the sea when they get on a personal watercraft. If someone is negligent and causes an accident, you can be harmed, losing your property or your life. If someone’s negligence on a jet ski has affected you or someone you know and you’ve been part of a Florida jet ski accident, contact Silver Injury Law today.