A Personal watercraft (PWC) is quite the popular water sport device however the sheer number of accidents and injuries associated with these machines is larger than one would expect. Those working behind federal and state statistics have revealed watercraft injuries are estimated at a yearly economic impact of $235 million (in excess of) with around 4000 accidents. Unfortunately many injuries do not get reported to the authorities so personal watercraft injury statistics are not wholly accurate.

Better legislation (laws and rules) and educational programs (optional and compulsory) have helped reduce the rate of watercraft accidents and injuries in recent years but the following PWC injury causes are noteworthy because their contribution to statistics are many times the direct result of flaws with design and operation of the machine.

Off-throttle injuries occur often due to the operator being unable to steer the watercraft in the intended direction resulting in collisions with objects, boats, and other structures. This is the result of the way a personal watercraft’s steering mechanism is designed.  While all recreational boats steer using thrust, a personal water craft uses a jet thrust from a nozzle which is also the steering mechanism.  So when the throttle for thrust is released the ability to steer is also decreased.

Jet thrust injuries happen when an operator, passenger, or other person is caught in the path of the jet stream propulsion system used by the personal watercraft.  When this takes place, the thrust from the water stream is powerful enough to cause severe injuries to orifices including the vagina and rectum.  These hydrostatic injuries can cause life threatening circumstances, life long disability, and even death.

Explosions while operating or attempting to start a personal water craft vessel have been reported across the nation.  Personal watercraft are not required by USCG regulations to have a bilge blower to ventilate gas fumes which can sometimes lead to the accumulation of vapors in the engine compartment.  When starting the craft, the electrical system ignites these accumulated gas fumes which in turn leads to the vessel to explode.  Since the operator and/or riders are seated directly on top of the engine, an explosion can be devastating, causing burns and other severe injuries.

While it is important to check the machine or rental prior to use, have the necessary training and review all paperwork, some accidents are the result of negligence and could have been prevented.  If you or someone you know has been injured while riding a SeaDoo, Waverunner, or JetSki, Contact us today.