Personal watercraft can be a lot of fun to cruise the waters, however, they are very powerful and come with many safety precautions.
Our beaches, lakes and Indian River Lagoon are popular places this summer to find people enjoying the sun, fun, and personal watercraft. Personal watercraft may seem like a toy, but it is actually considered a vessel and is governed by the 2011 Florida Statutes. Unfortunately, every year there are many accidents involving personal watercraft as the result of reckless driving, inexperience, or not knowing the many laws involving personal watercraft. Several of the guidelines and laws include:
- Anyone under the age of 22 is required to have a boating safety education ID card along with a photo ID while operating a vessel with 10 horsepower or greater in Florida waters.
- Everyone on board or being towed by a personal watercraft must be wearing a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device at all times. Inflatable personal floatation devices are not to be worn on personal watercraft.
- A personal watercraft must be operated in a responsible manner. It is illegal to:
- Weave your personal watercraft through congested waterway traffic.
- Swerve at the last possible moment in order to avoid a collision, as in spraying another person or vessel, or playing “chicken.”
- Jump the wake of another vessel unreasonably or unnecessarily close to that vessel or when visibility is obstructed.
If you or your family are around personal watercrafts this summer, please make sure you are familiar with the operation of the craft and the law.
You should make sure that all family members are qualified to operate a personal watercraft and they do so safely. Finally, if you or a family member sustains an injury by or on a personal watercraft, please call me at 772-464-4600 for a free case evaluation.