A collision between two personal watercraft in North Carolina's Bogue Sound on Easter Morning 2015 resulted in the death of a man from Virginia and left a young boy with a broken arm. The crash occurred near the Cameron Langston Bridge off the coast of Cedar Point, NC, on April 5. The deceased victim survived the initial wreck and was rescued and transported to a hospital. He succumbed to his injuries the following day.
Three people on the other PWC -- often referred to generically as "jet skis," even though that is the brand name of a specific kind of personal watercraft -- escaped the accident without injuries. Investigators from Carteret County law enforcement departments and the state wildlife agency continue looking into why the vehicles ran into each other.
PWC use in North Carolina and Virginia will soon spike as the days grow longer and temperatures rise. While the water-jet-powered craft are easy for almost anyone to ride, the vehicles also demand a focus on safety. Most PWCs lack braking mechanisms. Accelerating, instead of slowing, is required when changing directions suddenly. Inexperienced PWC riders of any age face serious risks for crashing simply because controlling the craft is so different from steering a motorcycle or car.
Another consideration personal watercraft users must take is that PWCs are considered boats for legal and insurance purposes. Causing property damage, injuries or deaths while operating a PWC can carry serious criminal and financial consequences.
Above all else, though, anyone who uses a Jet-Ski, Sea Doo, WaveRunner or other PWC must obey speed limits posted in boat channels, follow the rules of the road for yielding right of way on the water, leave plenty of space between themselves and other vessels, and never boat while intoxicated. A mistake or act of recklessness on the water can prove just as serious and deadly as one on the highway.