New York City Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft Accident Lawyer


What is a Personal Watercraft?

A personal watercraft (PWC), commonly referred to as a Jet Ski or Wave Runner, is a small one to three seated recreational watercraft that the operator sits or stands on. PWC’s have become popular in the United States mainly because they are affordable, fast, and easy to maneuver compared to other types of recreational vessels.

Water Accidents Are Common

According to the United State Coast Guard, there are over one million registered personal watercrafts in the United States. Although Personal Water Craft’s only comprise approximately 8% of all watercrafts, they produce nearly 26% of all boating related injuries. In 2012 alone, 779 personal watercraft accidents were reported, including 58 fatalities. Additionally, the United States Coast Guard statistics show that a PWC is the second most dangerous type of watercraft on the water, and it is the most dangerous when accounting for percentage of operator injuries.

What Causes Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft Accidents?

Typically, negligent and improper handling of a Jet Ski and operating equipment is the main cause of water related accidents. Approximately 60% of all water related accidents can be attributed to operator error. Training, either formal or informal, can substantially reduce the risk of injury to operators and their passengers. Of all water related accidents in 2012, 73% were at the hands of an operator with no prior instruction on the operation of a watercraft.

The most commonly reported accident is a collision with another vessel, while drowning is the most commonly reported cause of fatality.

The most frequent and common causes of Jet Ski and water related accidents are:

  • Operating a watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Collision with a stationary object
  • Lack of experience
  • Accident during water sport activities
  • Falling onboard or overboard
  • Fire or explosion

How to Prevent Jet Ski Accidents

Operating a Jet Ski should be a safe and fun recreational activity. To ensure the safe operation of your personal watercraft it is important to follow all safety related information. Listed below are a few key safety tips:

  • Use a life jacket whenever you operate a personal watercraft
  • Check the weather and marine forecast prior to leaving the dock. Cold weather, rain, and high swells can be very dangerous
  • Never use drugs or consume alcohol while on the water
  • Never fool around or become careless while on a personal watercraft. Most Jet Ski accidents are the result of operator error
  • Steer clear of other boats. Other boats may find it difficult to see a PWC which poses a serious hazard to Jet Ski operators
  • Stay away from the shoreline. Jet Skis are smaller and lighter than most boats, and can be flipped over by the swell near the shoreline forcing you into a seawall or other fixed object
  • Always inform a family member or friend prior to Jet Ski operation and inform them when you intend to leave and return from the dock

What You Should Do if a Jet Ski Accident Occurs

If a Jet Ski accident occurs, the operator of the PWC should file an accident report with the appropriate authorities if any of the following has transpired:

  • Someone was severely injured and required medical attention beyond first aid
  • A fatality occurred as a result of the accident.
  • Property damage is greater than $500
  • A watercraft user or operator has disappeared from the vessel

It is important to report water related accidents in a timely manner. Injury, death, or disappearance should be reported immediately.

If you, a family member or friend has suffered a severe injury as a result of a Personal Watercraft incident our New York City Personal Watercraft Accident Lawyers can help! Contact Finz & Finz, P.C., now at (855) TOP-FIRM to speak with an experienced Jet Ski and Personal Watercraft accident attorney or simply fill out the Free Personal Watercraft Accident Case Evaluation form and an attorney from Finz & Finz, P.C., will evaluate your case.