Many visitors to South Carolina beaches consider renting a jet ski or going on a jet ski tour as a fun way to explore the ocean. Few understand the risks they are taking.
Jet skis are powerful machines, and placing experienced riders on these machines is extremely dangerous, especially when riding in a group or in close proximity to others.
What are the rules concerning jet skis?
South Carolina law allows anyone over the age of 16 to ride a jet ski without training. Riders under 16 years of age must meet certain requirements, such as passing a boating safety course approved by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Riders on rental jet skis must wear a personal flotation protection device and a lanyard. Riders may or may not be warned about the following hazards:
- Speed is extremely dangerous for an inexperienced rider
- If you ride too close to a shoreline or jetty, you may strike an object or person.
- If you cross the wake of another jet ski, your machine may fly in to the air, causing you to lose control or injure yourself when landing.
- If you fall off your jet ski, another rider may strike you.
- Employers of the ski rental or tour operator may not be trained in first aid.
- Some jet skis have dangerous defects that can result in serious burns or other injuries
Tour operators often set a fast pace on tour rides, which is a bad combination when riding with inexperienced riders. If you are injured, the tour or rental operator is likely to deny any responsibility for damages, such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. To recover compensation, you will likely need the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
South Carolina attorney S. Scott Bluestein has more than two decades of experience handling jet ski and other maritime injury cases.