What is the Leading Cause of PWC Accidents?
The leading cause of a PWC accident is not a vehicle problem. Personal watercraft accidents happen because of several different reasons, such as reckless driving, inexperienced riders, taking unnecessary risks, and not following any water safety protocols.
These PWCs are now quite popular since they are affordable, require little maintenance, and are simple to operate. However, as the popularity of Personal watercraft has grown in the US, so has the number of accidents involving them. The following are some reasons why people lose control of their vehicles. Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid a PWC accident.
Lack of experience
PWC (Personal Watercraft) accidents are primarily the result of inexperienced operators. Inexperienced PWC operators may not know how to control their speed and how long it takes them to stop from 60 mph. While many new models of PWCs have unique settings for inexperienced operators, many older models don’t. As a result, most PWC accidents happen within an hour of riding, and nearly half of these accidents involve young, amateur operators.
Another primary reason for on-the-water accidents is a lack of experience in steering. Many inexperienced PWC operators don’t understand the steering mechanism and lack experience operating jet skis during emergencies. They may go off-throttle and crash into another boat, dock, or person in the water without adequately repositioning the jet ski. Inexperienced PWC operators tap the throttle to regain control of the vessel. The result is increased speed and an increase in the accident’s severity. Proper maintenance and training is the best way to avoid these problems.
While it may be tempting to let your child ride their PWC by himself, it is essential to ensure the safety of others by following safety guidelines. A lack of experience causes many PWC accidents, so a good safety course will ensure your child is safe to operate independently. In addition, a lack of understanding causes accidents involving personal watercraft, and alcohol can play a significant role.
Regardless of the type of PWC, the driver must be experienced to avoid the risk of injury. Proper judgment and physical capability are required to operate a watercraft; these skills will improve your safety if you have the right experience. Experience is the key to success, but safety training and proper supervision are equally important. And, as always, the best training and equipment is the first line of defense.
Striking an object
There are many reasons to be aware of the dangers of PWC operating. A common mistake is striking another PWC or an object. If you are running a PWC in congested areas, be cautious, slow down, and look around before making any sudden turns. Striking an object on a PWC can be deadly if you’re not wearing a life jacket.
The most common type of personal watercraft accident is a collision with an object. It’s not uncommon for a PWC to hit a thing or another watercraft. Still, when a collision occurs, the impact is so significant that the rider can fall off. As a result, many people experience severe injury or death. In addition to impacting an object, PWCs often hit people on shorelines or jumping waves. Another common cause of PWC accidents is falling off the seat.
Another common cause of PWC accidents is inexperienced operators. Statistics show that seventy percent of PWC accidents occur due to amateur operators. Likewise, most victims are young, ignorant, or non-owner operators. Because these vehicles don’t have traditional brakes, many riders don’t know how to regulate their speed. It takes about 300 feet to slow down from sixty miles per hour.
Loss of steering
One of the leading causes of PWC accidents is the loss of steering. Most PWCs are jet boats with steerable nozzles connected to a jet pump that propels water at a fast speed. Because PWCs do not have traditional rudders, the steering effect is reduced as the PWC slows down. As a result, turning faster will require more throttle, and slower will require fewer steering inputs. Unfortunately, the inexperienced boater may not know this effect, so they might not account for it during steering.
PWCs are also dangerous for inexperienced operators. The majority of PWC accidents involve inexperienced operators, usually younger people. According to an NTSB study, only 18 percent of accidents involving PWCs are caused by the boat’s owner. Amateur riders are especially vulnerable to calamities because they are unfamiliar with the steering controls and stopping distances. Even experienced boaters may not be aware that PWCs do not have traditional brakes. It takes approximately 300 feet for a PWC to stop at 60 mph.
Besides lack of experience, a lack of training is a significant contributor to watercraft accidents. According to the Boat Owners Association of the United States, 84 percent of PWC accidents involved drivers who had never taken a boating safety course. Another major cause of PWC accidents is the loss of steering. The National Transportation Safety Board reported that losing control of a PWC is the leading cause of personal watercraft accidents.
Moreover, PWCs are incredibly maneuverable. They are designed to make tight turns, low-radius circling, and rapid acceleration. However, a lack of steering in an off-throttle situation makes PWCs vulnerable to collisions with other vessels. Despite this, it is essential to take precautions when riding a PWC. If this occurs, it can lead to a catastrophic accident.
Riding on a Personal watercraft has become a favorite pastime activity for tourists. Alcohol use frequently goes hand in hand with the enjoyable nature of boating.
People on vacation may make decisions they ordinarily wouldn’t in their daily lives when they feel liberated and free. Alcohol use and operating a jet ski are never a good combination. Because the driver’s motor skills are compromised, and their judgment is clouded, this approach frequently results in serious accidents.
One of the biggest reasons why PWCs crash is mechanical problems. Approximately 70% of PWC accidents involve another vessel, usually another PWC. Inexperienced riders may not be aware of proper speed control or stopping distances and may be unaware of their own boat’s capabilities. Experienced boaters can have trouble handling a PWC because it lacks traditional brakes. It can take up to 300 ft to stop a PWC going 60 mph.
While alcohol was involved in several reported PWC accidents, it is not the leading cause. Alcohol and inattentiveness were also factors. Regardless, a PWC can be just as dangerous as a car. Always watch for other boats before you make any sudden turns. If you are injured while riding a PWC, don’t forget to wear your life jacket.
Another major cause of PWC accidents is seasickness. Using a life-vest is a sure-fire way to avoid drowning. Often, these accidents are easily avoidable if the boater wears a life vest while operating the vehicle.
Other common causes of PWC accidents include dead batteries and bad pumps. One way to prevent an accident is always to wear a life vest and avoid driving under the influence.
Inexperienced operators are responsible for 70 percent of PWC accidents. They lack the experience needed to control speed and stop. Amateur riders can get too high and crash into another PWC or boat. PWCs are challenging to maneuver and do not have brakes, so a PWC may need 300 feet to stop from 60 mph. They also require practice and knowledge of how to use the controls properly.
According to the US Coast Guard, personal watercraft accidents result in 634 injuries – 198 children. These injuries range from broken bones to concussions and scrapes/bruises. The primary causes of personal watercraft accidents are inexperience and inadequate instruction. The best way to avoid these situations is to learn about boating safety. In addition to learning proper techniques, you should also know the laws and regulations regarding PWC safety.
Boating activities are often accompanied by alcohol consumption. Drinking and operating a boat while intoxicated is a federal offense. If you are impaired while on a PWC, make sure someone is designated as the designated sober operator. Intoxicated passengers are at a higher risk of falling off the PWC, which could be dangerous for both the operator and the passenger. While drinking alcohol can help you to relax, it can cause a hazardous situation for everyone. PWC accidents can happen at any time of the day.
Many PWC accidents involve inexperienced operators who don’t know how to stop in time. These operators don’t know how much time they must stop and often crash into another PWC or object. While the majority of PWC accidents occur in private hands, many are rented. These jet skis are commonly available for rent in almost every beach town. For those with limited time and experience, it is recommended to avoid renting a PWC until you are comfortable with the skill and speed.
Reasons Why PWC Accidents Occur
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that PWC accidents make up 35% of personal watercraft accidents in total. In addition, the fatality rate for these types of accidents is 19%, meaning that one out of every five people in a PWC accident were killed.
The reasons for these accidents can be divided into two main categories: human error and mechanical problems. To avoid any type of accident caused by a human factor, you should look for the driver’s licensing records before embarking on any water-oriented journey. In addition, if the driver has a history of alcohol or drug-related offenses, you should avoid riding with him/her. Also, suppose anyone in the boat shows signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In that case, you should avoid riding in a vehicle with them.
The second main reason for PWC accidents is mechanical failure, which can happen at any time due to the many moving parts within these vehicles. You should be aware that there are two types of personal watercraft accidents.
The first occurs when a PWC collides with another vessel, pier, riverbank, or bridge while driving on the water surface. This type of PWC accident frequently happens when the driver is following the local practice of overtaking another boat without signaling.
The second type of PWC accident happens when a boat collides with a PWC while docking or docking into a mooring. This involves missing the mooring, hitting the dock, or colliding with other boats moored at the same place. You should equip yourself with lifejackets and know how to use them. Again, it is helpful to find out where you can rent them and if they are free of charge.
How to Avoid PWC Accidents
Here are some things you can do to prevent accidents from happening in the first place because it is always easier to deal with the prevention of an accident than the aftermath.
- You need to understand that your PWC works and functions. Understanding how to operate PWC before heading out in the water can help you control it in difficult situations.
- If you are a beginner and do not have prior experience in steering a boat, selecting the appropriate PWC model is very important. For starters, you need something that is easy to handle and is equipped with smooth reverse and brake systems.
- Service your PWC regularly to ensure it is functioning correctly and is maintained all the time.
- Your life jacket is the most crucial piece of safety equipment. Every time you leave for the water, make sure your passengers are wearing it.
- To keep everyone safe and within the law, make sure that everyone on the trip has the necessary safety gear and accessories mentioned above, in addition to life jackets.
- Similar to car crashes, many PWC incidents may have been prevented entirely if those at fault had not been intoxicated. When going out on the water, abstain from drinking or doing drugs.
- The PWCs being produced now are pretty speedy. Play it safe and slow down because speeding is a factor in many boating accidents.
- Even if speeding is terrible enough, performing stunts carelessly while riding is a severe risk. If you want to be safe, skip the wave jumping and make sure of any recklessness.
- Make it a practice to check the weather forecast before leaving, and ensure you have plenty of time to get back to the land before sunset.
- If you intend to pull someone behind your PWC, ensure you have all the necessary gear and accessories, know all safety precautions, and are ready.
- You risk harm driving too close to the shore, another vessel, or sharks. It’s essential to keep a safe distance at all times and to be aware of your surroundings.
- While it is hard to prevent accidents from happening to everyone all the time, your watercraft must be insured in case one does occur.
Carefully follow the proper safety precautions before you or your loved ones get in the water. Take the time to review important safety information that can help prevent water accidents.