All recreational water vessels including boats and personal watercraft steer with thrust. The main difference in steering between a PWC or jet craft and a conventional boat is that the latter contains a downward faced, exposed propeller, that can be used to steer the boat to some degree even when its not generating any momentum. The personal watercraft on the other hand uses a jet nozzle to generate thrust which means it can only be steered effectively when the throttle is engaged. When the throttle is released on a PWC (known as off-throttle), the steering ability drops in proportion to the reduction of thrust.
With some models reaching 250 horsepower and speeds up to 70MPH, a personal watercraft can coast about a hundred yards in the direction it was traveling after the throttle has been released. What compounds the danger of steering loss is the fact there are no brakes available while coasting. According to statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) 24% of the accidents associated with personal watercraft have cited loss of control or steering loss as a contributing factor. In Florida where there are a high number of personal water recreation vehicles used, the number is far higher making it the second cause of accidents.
Manufacturers have been working on a solution to this problem and some newer models have modifications in place, however for the vast majority of these watercraft on the market today the problem of steering loss still prevalent as a design flaw that can cause severe injury or death.
If you have been injured riding a personal watercraft, contact us today for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to compensation