Hip hop singer Sean Kingston was seriously injured in a jet ski accident over the weekend.
Sadly, Mr. Kingston is not alone. Jet skis and personal watercraft are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the water.
In Texas, the use of personal watercraft is fairly well regulated, though most users don’t seem to know about the rules in the Texas Water Safety Act.
Some of the rules that have been highlighted by the LCRA, which controls most lakes and rivers in the Austin and Central Texas area are:
- Children under 13 are prohibited from operating a personal watercraft unless accompanied by an adult.
- A Texas Parks & Wildlife boater education certificate is required for boaters between 13 and 17.
- Each person riding or being towed by a personal watercraft must be wearing a life jacket.
- It is illegal to operate a personal watercraft between sunset and sunrise.
- It is illegal to operate a personal watercraft within 50 feet of shoreline, structures, swimmers, or other water craft unless going at no-wake speed (just enough to power the boat).
- The ignition safety switch must be attached to the driver.
And perhaps the most important thing to know about personal watercraft safety is that many designs require power to steer the boat. Typically, when you experience a potential problem (another boater, obstacle, etc), the first reaction is to let off the power and then steer. But in poorly designed personal watercraft, letting off the power results in a loss of steering, guaranteeing a wreck. There are a number of product defect lawsuits arising over this poor design.
So the lesson to be learned is that as you’re headed out to the lake this summer, be careful.
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