Understanding the Risks of Jet Skis & Water Runners in Florida

In Florida, where sunshine and warm weather attract thousands of tourists and residents to its waters nearly year-round, water activities are a common way to enjoy all that the state has to offer. Unfortunately, water activities involving jet skis and water runners can often pose significant risks to those who operate them—especially if they do not have adequate experience or knowledge of the risks. To best protect yourself on your next vacation, it is important to understand the potential risks of these activities so that you can enjoy your time on the water—but do so safely.

According to a recent local news report, a tragic jet ski crash led to the death of a Florida woman. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that a jet ski occupied by a man and woman was traveling north on Pablo Creek when the driver attempted to navigate the jet ski under a bridge while traveling approximately 20 to 25 miles per hour. The male driver crouched down to drive under the bridge, but his female passenger failed to crouch down and struck her head. After she collided with the bridge, she was thrown into the water. She was pulled from the water and brought on to the shore by the St. Johns County Fire Rescue, where she was pronounced dead. Local authorities report that the accident is still under investigation.

This jet ski accident is just one of many that take place in Florida when the state’s waters are crowded during the warmer months. Although many Floridians are familiar with jet skis, they may not fully understand the risks of operating or owning one, or the corresponding laws.

Some jet skis can travel at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, which can both be a thrilling way to spend an afternoon but can also bring a variety of risks to the driver and passenger. Common jet ski injuries include serious back, neck, and brain injuries, broken or dislocated bones, and burns. Thus, before you and your loved ones head out to the water to enjoy the last bits of warm weather, it is crucial that you understand the risks and laws associated with jet skis and water runners in Florida.

In Florida, each person operating, riding, or being towed behind a personal watercraft must wear an inflatable personal flotation device, like a life jacket. In addition, Floridians must be at least 14 years old to operate personal watercraft like jet skis and water runners and must be 18 to rent them.

Florida laws and regulations also note that anyone who operates a jet ski or similar personal watercraft with willful disregard or negligence toward the safety of others and their property could be cited for reckless operation. Operators are also expected to operate their watercraft with consideration for water traffic and other posted restrictions.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

If you or someone you know was recently involved in a personal watercraft accident where another party was potentially at fault, contact the attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada, P.A. today. Our lawyers fight for the injured and will provide you with the advocacy and dedication you need to navigate your claim with ease. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 877-448-8585.


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