In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard reported in 2012 that personal watercraft accidents accounted for nearly 20 percent of the 4,515 boating accidents that year, resulting in more than 720 injuries and 58 deaths. There are dozens of brands of these crafts, and it’s estimated Americans own approximately 1.3 million. Florida has an especially high ownership rate, and that doesn’t even account for the commercial rental companies that routinely offer use of the craft to tourists – many of whom have little to no experience on these devices and may not understand the risks.
In addition to the obvious collision hazards posed by these devices, there is a lesser-known but equally dangerous aspect associated with personal watercraft: orifice injuries. It’s as unpleasant as it sounds, and has the potential to result in serious injury, permanent disability and even death. It can occur when a rider falls off the back and lands directly in the path of the craft’s high-pressure jet stream. Those wearing regular bathing suits, as opposed to wet suits, are at greater risk of injury.