Jet skiing can be a lot of fun, but it’s dangerous, too. Jet Skis can speed at 60 mph or more, as fast as a car on a highway, but don’t have the same protections.
There are approximately 1.3 million Jet Skis in America, with the Kawasaki Jet Ski being the best known. These are exciting for people, because you sit or stand while controlling your vehicle on the open water. Some people do tricks, while others just enjoy speeding around rivers, lakes or the ocean.
There are many personal watercraft accidents, and that means it’s necessary to think about why those crashes are happening. In many instances, it’s inexperience that leads to collisions and dangerous actions on PWCs. A large number of people who are involved in accidents are inexperienced riders. In most cases, the people who get hurt are between 11 and 20, though people of all ages have been hurt or killed as a result of jet-skiing accidents.
The National Transportation Safety Board has reported that around 84% of PWC accidents involved people who were operating PWCs with no previous boating safety education or instruction. In 73% of cases, the individuals had only been riding for an hour or less when the crash happened.
What makes a Jet Ski so dangerous?
Part of the danger a Jet Ski poses is how unusual it is to drive. These don’t have brakes but instead require water to be reversed to slow the boat. They can take up to 300 feet to stop if you’re traveling at 60 mph, which is a long enough distance that a crash could very easily happen.
There is no rudder on a PWC, and it’s impossible to steer without the throttle. With no off-throttle steering, people find that they release the throttle in hopes of slowing down and actually make it more likely that they’ll get into a crash due to an inability to steer.
It’s important to note that good training and practice can make all the difference on a Jet Ski. If you plan to go out on a personal watercraft, consider taking lessons or staying at slower speeds until you have the hang of stopping and steering with this unusual method.
Jet Skis can be dangerous, but by taking the right precautions and learning about how to drive them safety, you can help prevent accidents and keep yourself safe on the water.