Have you or a loved one been involved in an accident while you, or someone else was riding a jet ski? If so, you are not alone. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that over 90 percent of accidents involving a PWC (personal water craft) are caused by operator error. The majority of these operator error-types of accidents are from reckless or careless driving of their PWC. This led legislature to adopt the Personal Watercraft Act. This act states that every personal watercraft shall at all times be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner. Further, no person shall operate a personal watercraft in an unsafe or reckless manner. Unsafe operation includes, going airborne while crossing the wake of another vessel, going above the speed limit in a no wake zone or operating too close to another vessel.
As for legislature’s definition of reckless driving of a personal watercraft, they left it up to each state. For example, Florida defines reckless driving of a PWC as “maneuvering a personal watercraft by weaving through congested vessel traffic, jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably close or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed, or swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision is classified as reckless operation of a vessel.”
In addition to the rules regarding reckless drivers of a PWC, Florida also puts additional regulations on jet ski riders. These restrictions include; a minimum age of the driver of 14 years old, a time restriction which prohibits one from riding a PWC from one half hour after sunset to one half hour before sunrise and equipment restrictions, such as having to wear a lanyard so if the rider falls of the vehicle it automatically stops, preventing a runaway jet ski.
Jet Ski Rentals and Liabilities
It is quite common in beach areas frequented by tourists, to see Jet Ski Rentals available for immediate purchase. With all of these rules and regulations, comes liability. This liability is not only geared toward the driver of the PWC, but also to the company who rents it out. It is unlawful for a company to rent a watercraft to anyone under 14 years of age. It is also unlawful for a company to rent the PWC to anyone who has not received instruction in the safe handling of the PWC. Further, a rental company must get a written statement by the driver attesting to the fact that they received this instruction. Any person who violates this commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. Despite the tort liability (possible personal injury case) for the company, this level of crime can be punishable for up to 60 days in prison.
Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
Many studies have concluded that Jet Ski accidents, in particular, cause more serious harm than other accidents involving other types of PWC’s. This is presumably due to the high speed of the jet skis. These injuries tend to include head trauma, broken bones, and often times, death. If you or a loved one has been on the receiving end of this, you may be able to recover against the driver of the jet ski, another vessel or the company that rented a PWC to the driver, on the grounds of negligence, or even wrongful death. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is available for the injured victims of negligent maritime accidents.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765