Cruising across the open water is thrilling and freeing, but accidents with jet skis are alerting people to the dangers involved with the sport. Residents of Rhode Island and other states are being encouraged to take extra precautions and safety measures to avoid the injuries that can occur with personal watercraft accidents.
Fox News reports that dozens of people are killed in jet ski accidents each year while hundreds more are injured. With 1.3 million personal watercrafts owned across the country, it is important for owners to make sure they have proper training and are capable of safe operation before using them. Many people who die in jet ski accidents do so because they are struck by another personal watercraft. There have also been several reports of people in tubes being struck by jet skis, which often results in the tuber's death.
Rhode Island has strict regulations on the use of jet skis to attempt to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities. Boat-ed.com states that a boater education course must be passed in order for a driver of any age to operate a personal watercraft. Additionally, jet skis cannot be used one-half hour before sunrise or one-half hour after sunset in order to reduce accidents caused by limited visibility. All riders must also wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets and follow local operating regulations.
In addition to riding jet skis, there are also restrictions in place for those attempting to tow a skier or other passenger. In order to safely tow someone, the jet ski needs to be rated for three passengers: a driver, the person being towed and someone over 12 years of age who can observe the person being pulled.