A Sunday afternoon on the water almost turned deadly for a young boy in Virginia Beach, VA, when the personal watercraft on which she was riding was struck by another PWC. The collision occurred on the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven river off the shore of the 1200 block of N. Lynnhaven Road.
The child's age has been reported as 6 years and 13 years. He appears to have been a passenger before sustaining critical injuries, and the adult controlling his personal watercraft also suffered injuries requiring hospital treatment. The person on the second PWC, identified as a Jet Ski, did not get hurt.
The wreck seems to have happened when the PWC carrying the boy slowed down unexpectedly. The following Jet Ski rider also tried to lower their speed but could not avoid the collision. If nothing else, the crash should serve as reminder to all PWC users to resist following too closely. Personal watercraft are not sold with brakes, and the few aftermarket braking system modifications available for the machines do not work perfectly, especially when stopping quickly is important.
Riding a Jet Ski or other personal watercraft presents many of the risks of both riding a motorcycle and traveling in a boat. Controlling a personal watercraft safely also requires additional knowledge and skills, such as knowing to accelerate rather than slow down when turning and being able to accurately judge the actions of fellow riders without cues from lane markers and traffic lights. Small mistakes resulting from inexperience or inattention can quickly create injuries and deaths on the water.