Maritime News & Info

If lying on the beach or wading in the water is too dull for you, chances are, you’re probably longing for a cruise on a jet ski. And why not? The personal watercraft is exciting, fun and easy for just about anyone to drive. Unfortunately, though, jet skis aren’t without their risks. Before you hop on a jet ski this weekend, check out these five must-know safety tips to keep you safe on the water.

#1 Don’t drink and jet.

It sounds obvious, but too many people forget that the fruity umbrella drinks they sipped on the beach are a bad mix when it comes to jet skis. Never, ever operate any kind of vehicle – on the water or off – while under the influence of alcohol. It’s not just unsafe, it’s against the law! Combined with the heat of the sun and the movement of the water, alcohol’s effects can often be felt even more than on land. Don’t take the risk – sober up before you board a jet ski.

#2 Learn and actually use the jet skis safety equipment.

Many jet skis have a device called a kill cord attached. It affixes to your wrist while you cruise, but should you fall off, the jet ski will automatically deactivate. Don’t bother to use the kill cord and you could find your jet ski taking a ride without you – and possibly injuring others on the water.

#3 Before you ride, check for recalls.

With smartphones in everyone’s pocket, even at the beach, there’s no excuse for not quickly checking to see if your jet ski has fallen under a recall. Jet ski recalls happen frequently, and the reasons for them can be deadly. Faulty fuel lines have caused explosions, while faulty steering columns can cause riders to lose control. A quick check of recalls.gov could save you a world of trouble.

#4 Stay alert.

For new jet skiers in particular, the thrill and novelty of your first few rides will be exciting. Maybe too exciting. Sometimes, jet skiers get so focused on how much fun they’re having that they forget the ocean isn’t their playground. Other skiers, boaters, swimmers or divers are usually in the area, so it’s important to stay alert while at the helm of a jet ski.

#5 Wear your life jacket.

Again, this is simple advice, but it’s by far the most ignored safety tip out there. Many people dismiss life vests as tools for weak swimmers. Even if you’re a great swimmer, a life jacket can come in handy should you find yourself in danger. Better safe than sorry!

Follow these simple tips, and you’re sure to have a fun, safe day on the water!

Virginia Maritime Lawyer – Richard Serpe

If you’ve been injured because of the negligence of someone else, you may want to speak with an attorney. Richard Serpe gained a Master’s Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

One person is dead and two more are injured following a jet ski collision in the Outer Banks. The incident is still being investigated, but early reports indicate that two jet skis collided, injuring and killing passengers. The July 10, 2016 accident occurred around 2 p.m. near Sunset Watersports in Duck, North Carolina. The person killed in the wreck was just 25 years old. We send our condolences to his family and friends.

The problem with jet ski rentals

  • Inexperience – Jet skis are frequently rented out to people with no experience on the water. While we don’t know the experience level of the people involved in this particular crash, it’s common for tourists to rent jet skis while on vacation in the Outer Banks. Though the rental companies often give a quick lesson on how to use the vehicle, it’s often lacking in detail. Without any experience on jet skis or watercraft in general, it’s easy for a person to become overwhelmed, particularly in an emergency scenario.
  • Boating Under the Influence – Another major  concern, is jet skiing under the influence of alcohol. It may be tempting to jump on a jet ski after you’ve had a few drinks, but resist that urge. It is not only illegal to operate a personal watercraft under the influence, but it is also a life-threatening action that should be avoided.

Collisions between jet skis more common than you’d think

Why are there so many deadly jet ski accidents? Inexperienced drivers and riders are just one common cause. Another reason is the way jet skis handle compared to other types of vehicles. More than 70 percent of all personal watercraft collisions involve another vessel, often another jet ski. That’s because drivers underestimate the speed and distance it takes to overtake another vessel.

Fast turns, quick injuries

Jet skis are also incredibly fast, and turn much sharper than any other kind of watercraft. When a rider doesn’t expect a fast turn, they can easily be thrown into the water at high speeds. Smacking into water at such high rates can cause serious injuries. Life vests can help keep you afloat in deep water, sure, but they won’t take the sting out of hitting water at 60 miles per hour.

None of this is to say you can’t rent a jet ski and enjoy yourself the next time you hit the beach. Just be knowledgeable about the kinds of jet ski accidents that are common, and remember the potential for danger! Jet skis are more powerful than we realize, so don’t sleep through the rental company’s safety lesson.

Virginia Maritime Lawyer

If you’ve been injured because of the negligence of someone else, you may want to speak with an attorney. Richard Serpe gained a Master’s Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

Imagine starting up your family’s new jet ski, only to find yourself thrown 30 feet in the air.

That’s the reality for one teenager, who thankfully survived a jet ski explosion in Virginia Beach earlier this week. He’d purchased the used Sea Doo just weeks earlier with money earned working at a local campground. The boy had taken the vehicle on the water a few times previously with no issues. This time, when he started the engine, the jet ski exploded into a huge fireball, sending the teen into the air.

Miraculously, the 17-year-old survived without a scratch. But the incident highlights the inherent danger associated with jet skis. Kawasaki, a leading jet ski company, has announced a plethora of product recalls in the last twenty years. In 2013, the company was sued by a women who fell off the back of one of their jet skis. She suffered severe internal injuries when water was forced into her cavity. The lawsuit found that Kawasaki had not done enough to warn riders of the need to wear protective clothing when operating the jet ski. The company paid $1.5 million to the victim.

Regardless of brand, all jet skis run the risk of design or manufacturing defects.

Common injuries caused by jet ski accidents:

  • Burns
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Brain injuries
  • Damaged ear drums
  • Serious neck and back injuries

This list is just a glimpse at the potential health hazards jet skis can pose. Should you or a loved one find yourself in a jet ski accident, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention. The first step to recovery is diagnosis. Even in cases like the one mentioned above, it is recommended that you receive medical attention to determine if you have any brain or spinal injuries. Just because the injury isn’t immediately apparent doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

Concerned about whether your jet ski might have been recalled due to safety issues? Check out this helpful list of all boating recalls.

Maritime Accident Lawyer – Richard Serpe

If you or your loved one has been injured, you may want to speak with an experienced maritime injury lawyer. An experienced maritime lawyer can attempt to get the results, the settlement and the financial compensation you deserve for your long term care.

Richard Serpe gained a Masters Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School after graduating law school. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States. Mr. Serpe has helped victims of serious injuries, and families affected by a wrongful death, for over 30 years.

A fatal crash on Smith Mountain Lake has claimed the life of a teen girl. The accident occurred when 21 ft. fishing boat collided with a 10 ft. jet ski. The passenger on the jet ski was killed in the accident. The driver of the jet ski was injured and taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Neither the driver nor passenger of the fishing boat was injured. Police say alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. All four people involved were under the age of 22.

Overcrowded waters

The July 3rd accident occurred at a busy time for boaters on Smith Mountain Lake. Officials say the water was crowded with boats preparing for the annual July 4th fireworks show. Reports indicate that both vessels were trying to exit a small cove when the collision occurred. No charges have been filed against the driver of the boat.

Overcrowded waterways present a real hazard to inexperienced boaters. Without lots of room to maneuver their vessel safely, corners get cut tightly and decisions must be made in a split second. Factor in booze and a party atmosphere, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. That’s why the father of the victim has gone on record about the need for boating safety reform. He’s even worked with local marinas to help set up boating safety classes.

We send our thoughts to the victim’s family and wish the injured young man a speedy recovery.

Virginia Maritime Lawyer

If you’ve been injured because of the negligence of someone else, you may want to speak with an attorney. Richard Serpe gained a Master’s Degree in maritime law from Tulane University School of Law. He has also been awarded the rank of Proctor (the highest rank available) from the Maritime Law Association of the United States.

Swimming directly after eating can give you a cramp. Air-conditioning can give you a cold. You can’t get sunburned on a cloudy day.

These myths – and tons more – plague each summer, year after year. Whether rooted in urban myth or simply based on bad science, these common misconceptions about summer hazards live on in spite of evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately, there are many other summer myths that no one ever questions – especially when it comes to topics like boating insurance.

When the weather heats up, it’s nobody’s first instinct to run for their insurance policy to review the terms of their contract. Instead, most folks wait until they need to file a claim to go over what is covered in their policy. By then, they often find they have too little coverage too late.

Myth #1 : No matter where I boat, my insurance will cover me.

It might surprise some, but many insurance companies will only cover your boat within 100 nautical miles of your home port. Before making any long journeys, double check to see what your policy says about coverage limitations.

Myth #2: Adding my boat to my homeowner’s insurance policy will get me the same coverage as when purchase a boat-specific policy.

It makes sense that you’d add your boat to your homeowner’s insurance policy. After all, you list all your valuables there, from electronics to jewelry.  And while it’s certainly not a bad idea to include your vessel on your list of assets, homeowner’s insurance tends to only cover damage done while on your home property. That means if you have any problems on the water, you’ll be left out to sea by the insurance company.

Myth #3 : I’ll save money if I buy insurance from the same company that insures my home and car.

Bundled packages might seem like the easiest way to comprehensively cover all your most prized possessions. But too often, insurance companies take advantage of their customers’ laziness and sell them sub-par coverage. Doing your homework pays off. Shop around and get quotes from a variety of insurance companies, including specialized marine coverage. By going to an industry expert, you’ll likely get better coverage – and you might even save some money, too.

Myth #4: My driving record can’t affect my boating insurance premium.

If you’ve been racking up speeding tickets or been arrested for DUI, there’s a good chance that insurance companies will use it as an underwriting tool. That means they will probably decline to insure you, based on your past behaviors. So even though it’s tempting to put the pedal to the metal, keep in mind your boating future – or lack thereof!

Maritime Accident Lawyer – Richard Serpe

If you or your loved one has been injured, you may want to speak with an experienced maritime injury lawyer. An experienced maritime lawyer can attempt to get the results, the settlement and the financial compensation you deserve for your long term care.