Personal Watercraft Safety Information for Buffalo New York Area Residents

Over one million personal watercraft (PWC – Jetskis) are used in the United States. Accidents are caused by off-throttle steering hazards, user inexperience, lack of adequate regulation and lack of specific design standards. The most dangerous aspect of the PWC is the lack of directional control when the throttle is released, known as an absence of off-throttle steering.

When an operator instinctively releases a throttle in an attempt to avoid a collision, the water jet is disengaged and the driver’s ability to steer effectively is lost. Collisions are the most prevalent type of PWC accident and are the leading cause of fatalities. The majority of PWC operators involved in accidents were between the ages of 16 and 21.

Inattention, inexperience and inappropriate speed were the leading causes of accidents. While all states have minimum age requirements for operating a PWC, in several states PWC operators can be as young as 12 and are not required to have any training. Some states allow operation of a PWC less than 100 feet from each other or from other craft.