Jet Ski Accidents Common on Md. Waters - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Reported by Weijia Jiang

Jet Ski Accidents Common on Md. Waters

(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

07/03/2007 10 PM ET

OCEAN CITY, Md.- If you have ever ridden a jet ski or personal water craft, you know they can go pretty fast. In fact, some machines can reach speeds of 65 mph.

Police call that an accident waiting to happen, especially during the summer months.

Cpl. Sean Kille works for the Maryland Natural Resources Police. He spends several hours on the waterways making sure drivers are staying safe.

"We give out citations just like on the road," Kille said. "There are strict rules that those on a personal watercraft (PWC) have to follow. Unfortunately some people don't follow those rules so accidents do happen."

According to police statistics there were 50 accidents involving PWCs in 2006. That is out of 163 total boating accidents, which means the wave running vehicles accounted for 31 percent.

All of those incidents involved injuries.

Sgt. Ken Turner with the Natural Resources Police said, "That means every single accident on a PWC resulted in someone getting hurt. That's why it's so important that people pay attention when they are out on the water."

In Maryland anyone who operates a PWC must take a multiple-choice test about safety on the water unless he or she has a boater registration card. Drivers can only miss one of 13 questions to pass.

The state law requires a craft to slow down to 6 knots per hour if it is within 100 feet of any object.

Age is another factor. Only those 16 and older can drive.

Micheal Andrew owns Island SeaDoo, which rents out jet skis. He said the most important key for operators is to pay attention.

"A lot of people get tunnel vision on these machines. You may be looking at an object two miles in the distance and they're riding on it full throttle. They don't turn their head or see anything; they just focus on that, which is a big problem for wave runners," Andrew said.

If a jet ski is damaged, it is the operator's fault and responsibility to fix any damages. A machine costs an average of $8,000.

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