Perhaps one of the most exhilarating activities you can imagine is being on the Colorado River or one of the beautiful nearby lakes on your personal watercraft (PWC). Like many who enjoy fast and exciting activities, you know that high-energy hobbies are often high-risk. This is why you took a safety course to learn how to operate your PWC correctly and why you always wear a life vest when you are on the water.
Unfortunately, others on the water may not be so conscientious. In fact, it is common for someone on the shore to see the fun a friend is having on a PWC and ask to take a turn. This often leads to disaster. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that over 80 percent of the operators of PWCs involved in accidents had no training before climbing onto the vehicle. If you are on the water when one of these inexperienced operators loses control, it could be disastrous.
What are the risks of riding without safety training?
Operating a PWC is very different from driving a car or operating most other vehicles. For one thing, untrained riders may not react appropriately when they need to stop their PWCs in a hurry, for example when another watercraft is in the way. PWCs have no brakes and no rudder, so while releasing the throttle may slow the craft down, it also prevents the operator from steering. A PWC may travel for 300 more feet before stopping unless it collides with another vehicle.
PWC collisions result in more fatal injuries than other kinds of watercraft accidents. Any watercraft accidents can result in serious injuries, including the following and others:
- Cracked teeth
- Broken noses and facial bones
- Fractured limbs
- Broken tailbones
- Damaged spinal cords
- Broken necks
- Blunt force trauma
Any of these injuries may occur if you strike the steering bars or hit the water at a high rate of speed. If you are thrown from your PWC during a collision, there is also the possibility that another PWC will strike you.
While Colorado waterways may have limits for PWC speed, you may still find yourself sharing the water with a reckless or untrained operator. If you suffer injuries in an accident involving another watercraft, you have every right to seek legal assistance for covering your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.