For the thrill of a lifetime, jump on a PWC and feel the power of the machine ripping through the water and the wind in your hair.
Whoa! Hold on there! Before you let your children loose with a machine as powerful as an automobile or ski boat, THINK! What experience do they have boating? Or operating machinery that goes 60 MPH? If you let your kids out there with no experience how many other parents are letting their kids out there without a lick of skill or experience operating one of those machines? Pretty scary.
The NTCB conducted the first PWC Safety Study in 1998. They found:
- “70% of PWC accidents are collisions and 70% of these are collisions with other PWC”. They determined, “49% or half of all PWC collisions are with other PWC.”
- Over 30% of all new boast sales are PWC. Over one-third of all boating related accidents reported in 1998 involved PWC.
- The AMA (American Medical Association) and CDC (Center for Disease Control) reported that operators of PWC are 8.5 times more likely to be injured than operators of powerboats.
- PWC represent 7% of registered vessels but account for 35% of all boating accidents. From the United States Coast Guard.
- I searched for statistics on how many operators of PWC had completed a Safety Class and could not find any reference.
- Florida, the only state that keeps clear records of PWC accidents, indicate approximately 75% of all PWC accidents are operator caused, either lack of experience or reckless behavior.
The first time our family experienced Jet Ski’s was in the mid ’80’s on Lake Havasu. Looking back, reliving my boys racing, turning, dumping, falling off into the water, laughing, I wonder where my head was? They were 12 and 14 years old at the time. I wouldn’t think of letting them rip across Havasu with a $50,000 boat but I let them rip around the lake on a rented $6000 jet ski that had nearly the same speed as our boat.
Recently, I watched from my living room windows as the limp body of a man was lifted from a ski boat to the dock at the marina below my home. Paramedics valiantly attempted to revive the young man. I learned later from a newspaper story, he and his brother were racing and challenging each other on PWC when one of the boys lost control for a moment and slammed into his brother. As I watched the Paramedics working over the young man and finally lift his limp body onto a stretcher and into the waiting rescue vehicle I had a feeling of sadness. Then, the rescue truck left the marina with lights flashing and no siren. I saw the grief as family and friends held each other and shook with emotion.
The morning paper told a brief story of two brothers, 18 and 19, challenging the water on PWC and the resulting accident that took the life of the 19 year old.
PWC Safety Class
If you are planning on a vacation on or near the water where PWC are available, please, have everyone in your family take an online PWC Safety Class. I suggest taking the class as a refresher every spring. You never know what summer might bring and knowledge is never a waste of time.
Additionally, each state has begun enacting specific laws pertaining to PWC so check the laws in your state or the state where you will be using a PWC.
Have fun and be safe!