The best weapon against jet ski accidents and other personal watercraft accidents is knowledge. Indeed, most serious jet ski accidents occur when the rider is someone who has either borrowed or rented the jet ski. In other words, unfamiliarity with the technique and etiquette of riding a jet ski can endanger your health! By staying informed about the risks associated with jet skis you can minimize your chances of being involved in an accident. For instance, it is important to know that the vast majority of jet ski accidents involve a collision with another vessel. This indicates that too few jet ski operators are remaining vigilant and alert while out on the water. Besides inattention, there are a few other common causes of jet ski accidents, each of which is avoidable with a little care and experience. For one thing, too few jet ski operators know the limitations of their craft in terms of speed and stopping distance. Many riders assume that a jet ski can stop abruptly, when in fact it takes considerable time and distance to bring a personal watercraft to a complete halt. Another common cause of jet ski accidents is ignorance of the relation between power and steering in a jet ski. When the engine of a jet ski is off, the vessel will continue to travel in the same direction regardless of which way the handlebars are turned. In other words, a jet ski cannot be steered when the power is off. There are also a number of common “tricks” that are forbidden by law because they increase the potential for danger. In almost every jurisdiction in the United States , it is illegal to do the following things on a jet ski: make sharp turns near another vessel; jump another vessel’s wake within 100 feet of that or any other vessel; follow a boat too closely; and chase another jet ski in small circles. All of these activities, especially combined with inexperience and inattention, can result in serious or fatal accidents.
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