The 20th of June marks the first day of summer. Florida’s pristine beaches, sunny skies, and warm weather create an irresistible combination of elements luring tourists and locals alike to participate in more outdoor activities.
A major recreational activity during summer, whose inherent danger is often overlooked in lieu of the thrills it provides, is jet skiing. A type of personal watercraft, jet skis have the advantage of being smaller in size and faster than most other vessels.
While when done safely and responsibly jet skiing can be a fun and thrilling time, many don’t understand the potential risks associated with its operation. Though most patrons go onto the water with the goal of having fun, improper training and being under the influence of alcohol can quickly turn a fun summer day into a hospital trip.
How Do Jet Ski Accidents Happen?
There are numerous factors that may lead to a jet skiing accident. Here are some of the leading factors:
- Boating Under the Influence
- Lack of training or guidance from a rental agency
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Colliding with other boats, buoys, debris, or property
- Striking a swimmer
- Fire, due to an engine malfunction or explosion
- Running the jet ski aground
Jet skiing is an inherently dangerous activity. However, done correctly, the activity can lead to a fun and perfectly safe time out on the water. Unfortunately, for many first time riders, proper training is not given leading to unintended consequences.
Under Section 327.39 of the Florida Statutes, the following rules apply when jet skiing in Florida:
- Everyone on board of a personal watercraft must wear an approved non-inflatable flotation device (PFD).
- A personal watercraft may not be operated starting 30 minutes after sunset until 30 minutes before sunrise, even if navigation lights are in use.
- Driving a personal watercraft by weaving through congested vessel traffic or jumping the wake of another vessel at an unreasonably close distance is classified as reckless operation, and is considered a first-degree misdemeanor.
- It is unlawful for a person under the age of 14 to operate any personal watercraft. If you knowingly allow a person under the age of 14 to operate the watercraft, you can be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor.
- You must be at least 18 years of age to rent a jet ski.
What Are My Options If I Am In a Jet Ski Accident?
There are various claims available to someone who has been injured in a Jet Ski accident:
- Negligence of the operator
If you have been injured by someone else driving a jet ski, you could have a claim for negligence against the operator of the vessel. Examples of negligent behavior would be if the operator was inexperienced, was not paying attention, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, violated a navigation rule, was jumping wakes or excessively speeding.
- A defective or broken jet ski
Another claim available to someone injured by a jet ski would be for a design or manufacturing defect in the actual product. For example, if that defect caused the Jet Ski to lose control, catch fire, or capsize, you could have this claim.
- Negligence of the jet ski rental agency
If the rental company was negligent in renting out the vessel to someone, whether they were underage or under the influence, you could have a claim. Additionally, the rental agency could be found negligent if they did not give adequate instructions or training on the operation of the Jet Ski.
Contact Our Office for a Free Case Consultation
Too often, a person’s careless conduct causes lasting injury.
If you are injured in a personal watercraft accident, or injured someone while jet skiing, contact our office immediately for a free case consultation. Our trial lawyers have recovered millions through verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. Get the dedicated, personalized representation you deserve. Call Mase Mebane & Seitz at (844) 627-3529 to discuss your legal options.