The acronym “PWC” stands for personal water craft. Ohio has numerous waterways that beckon to outdoor recreation enthusiasts. Perhaps you’re one of those who enjoys fishing, swimming or riding a jet ski across the waves. The latter can be a fun way to spend a hot summer day, although it’s not without risk. There are several things to keep in mind to obtain the highest level of PWC safety.
It’s always best to receive proper training before climbing aboard a jet ski or other PWC. It’s also important to remember that you can’t control another person’s behavior on the water. This means that you might be alert and cautious when operating a jet ski but could still be at risk for serious injury due to someone else’s negligence. There are three specific dangers to try to avoid at all cost.
Bigger doesn’t automatically mean safer
If someone invites you to climb on a jet ski to take a thrill ride as a passenger, you’ll want to make sure the operator has proficient skills. There are PWCs that can carry up to four people, including the operator. However, carrying passengers creates numerous challenges, and someone who is not adept at operating a jet ski with passengers might make mistakes that place everyone on board at risk for a collision.
If you have operated a one-person jet ski, you were no doubt standing, not sitting, on board. If you’ve ever driven a jet ski made for two, you may have noticed how difficult it was to keep it upright when you were not accelerating. This type of jet ski can tip over easily, which is why extra caution is necessary around docks or other structures in the water.
There are drunk drivers on the water, just as there are on the road
Drink drivers are a menace to Ohio roadways. However, if you’re traveling on the water, you’re not guaranteed safety from impaired drivers. There may be a drunk PWC operator in your vicinity. Similar to behaviors that an intoxicated motorist might exhibit on a highway, a boat or jet ski operator acting under the influence of alcohol might make erratic maneuvers or act recklessly, placing everyone nearby at risk for severe, even life-threatening, injuries.
Always make sure your jet ski is safe to operate
If you’ve ever owned a motorcycle, you no doubt understand the importance of vehicle maintenance and of checking the craft for safety before each ride. It’s always safest to check over a jet ski before operating or riding on one, as well. Of course, if there are design flaws, you may not be aware of them, which could cause malfunction of the craft on the water, or a collision.
As far as you’re able, however, it’s a good idea to check a jet ski before riding, making sure all parts are functioning properly. If you’re using a PWC from a rental company, you can ask an administrator how often they perform safety inspections on their water crafts.
If a jet ski accident occurs
No one wants a day of outdoor recreation to come to a halt because of a watercraft accident, but it happens sometimes. The priority, of course, is to obtain medical attention, even if you think your injuries are minor. Sadly, these types of accidents cause severe or life-threatening injuries, so it’s also important to build a strong support network from the start as you navigate recovery.
Your family, friends and medical team may play strategic roles in your recovery. If another person’s negligence was responsible for the collision, you can also obtain legal support.