In the heat of the Texas summer, there’s nothing better than heading to the lake for a day on the water and cruising around on a jet ski. Jet skis can be a lot of fun when drivers follow the rules. When they don’t, though, jet skis can be downright dangerous, both for people on the jet ski and anyone else on the water. In the last year, that danger has been on the rise. From 2019 to 2020, accidents on Texas waters increased by 61%, and fatal accidents increased by 61 percent, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife. 70 percent of those accidents were on motorboats or personal watercrafts.
What makes these personal watercrafts so dangerous, and how do you stay safe on the water? Our Texas injury attorneys explain.
Why Do Jet Ski Accidents Happen?
Alcohol, inexperienced and/or distracted drivers, and speeding are some of the most common causes of boating accidents on Texas lakes. Of the accidents that happened in 2020, more than 60% of drivers had not completed a state-mandated boater education course. We might think of them more like toys, but jet skis are considered boats, and anyone driving them must follow boating rules to prevent serious injuries, such as concussions and other brain injuries.
Serious accidents on the water are made even more dangerous when folks aren’t wearing a personal flotation device (PFDs). As Texas Parks & Wildlife Boating Education Manager Kimberly Sorenson pointed out, “Drowning is the highest reported cause of death in boating fatalities,” most often because victims were not wearing a life jacket.
How Can I Avoid Jet Ski Accidents?
Wearing life jackets and following other boating and swimming safety tips for Texas lake-goers goes a long way toward preventing jet ski accidents and injuries. As Cody Jones, the Assistant Commander for Marine Enforcement at Texas Parks & Wildlife, said, “Most of the deaths and serious injuries that occurred in Texas waters last year were preventable by following a few simple, important steps – including using the safety ignition cut-off switch (ECOS) and wearing life jackets.”
In Texas, a life jacket must be available to everyone on board a personal watercraft. Children under 13 must wear a life jacket. To be on the safe side, though, have everyone on board wear a life jacket. Just having the life jackets available may not be enough if an accident happens and people are thrown from the jet ski. Wearing life jackets at all times on the water can prevent serious injuries and death.
According to Texas law, anyone operating a personal watercraft born on or after September 1, 1993, must complete a boater education course. You can find the Boater Education course online and in person through Texas Parks & Wildlife.
Just like on the road, when you’re driving a jet ski or other watercraft, never drink and drive. Anyone caught under the influence of drugs or alcohol while operating a jet ski or other personal watercraft risks heavy fines and the loss of their driver’s license.
What if I’m Hurt in a Jet Ski Accident?
If you’ve been seriously hurt in an accident involving a jet ski, you may have the right to recover medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and other costs related to the accident.
Especially if the accident caused catastrophic injuries to you or a loved one, it’s important to speak to a lawyer about seeking compensation for what’s been taken from you.
Our team of Texas personal injury attorneys and legal professionals is here to help. We’ll guide you through what’s involved in a personal injury case so that you can know all your options. Contact our Texas injury attorneys for a free consultation to discuss your options if you were seriously hurt in an accident involving a jet ski. We’re here to help you recover and get back to your life.