South Carolina Jet Ski Accident Statistics
Personal watercraft, also known as jet skis or wave runners, are popular recreational watercraft in South Carolina. However, despite the crazy amount of fun they provide, they can also be a serious source of danger. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), personal watercraft accidents are on the rise in the State, and it is important to be aware of the jet ski accident statistics to take the necessary precautions while using these vessels.
In South Carolina, personal watercraft accidents increased by 25% between 2017 and 2018. The majority of these accidents occurred on the weekends, with Saturdays being the most common day for accidents. In terms of location, the most common location for accidents was in the Atlantic Ocean, followed by Lake Murray and Lake Hartwell.
The majority of personal watercraft accidents in South Carolina involved individuals under the age of 25. This group accounted for approximately 60% of all accidents, and the majority of these accidents involved individuals under the age of 18. This suggests that young people may be more likely to take risks while operating personal watercraft, and that there may be a need for increased safety education for this age group.
Alcohol and drugs were a major factor in many personal watercraft accidents in South Carolina. In 2018, approximately 25% of all accidents involved the use of alcohol or drugs. This highlights the need for increased safety education, as well as the enforcement of laws prohibiting the operation of personal watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
In terms of injury, the majority of personal watercraft accidents in South Carolina resulted in minor injuries, such as cuts and bruises. However, approximately 20% of accidents resulted in more serious injuries, such as broken bones, head injuries, and spinal cord injuries. These serious injuries can have long-lasting effects, and they can lead to permanent disability or death in some cases.
What Should I Do After a Jet Ski Accident in South Carolina?
If you are involved in a jet ski accident in South Carolina, there are several important steps you should take to protect your health and your rights.
Seek Medical Attention
If you or anyone else involved in the accident has sustained an injury, seek medical attention immediately. Even if you do not feel injured, it is still a good idea to have a doctor check you over, as some injuries, such as a concussion, may not be immediately apparent.
Call The Authorities
Report the accident to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the local police. They will be able to provide assistance and complete an accident report, which will be useful if you need to make an insurance claim or seek compensation down the road.
If possible, take photos of the scene of the accident, including any damage to the jet skis and the surrounding area. Also, write down the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident. Finally, if you have time, take a video of everything around, including the watercrafts and people involved in the crash and the scene of the crash.
Notify Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and start the claims process. You may want to provide them with the information you have gathered, like the accident report, photos, and witness statements. However, don’t say too much until you have an attorney to help you. Insurance companies are not your friend, not even your insurance company. The job of the insurance company is to pay out as little as possible.
Consult With an Attorney
If you sustained a serious injury in the accident or if you believe that another party was at fault, consider speaking with an experienced South Carolina personal injury attorney. Your boat accident attorney can help you understand your rights and options, as well as can assist you in pursuing compensation for your losses, including your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
By taking these steps, you can help ensure that you receive the medical care you need; you can protect your rights; and you can get the compensation you deserve following a jet ski accident in South Carolina.
Where Do Jet Ski Accidents Commonly Occur in South Carolina?
Jet ski accidents in South Carolina can occur anywhere that personal watercraft are used, but some locations are more prone to accidents than others. According to data from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), the most common locations for jet ski accidents in the state include:
The Atlantic Ocean is a popular location for jet ski enthusiasts, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. With its large waves, strong currents, and busy shipping lanes, the ocean can pose significant risks for personal watercraft operators.
Hilton Head, Bluffton, & the May River
Hilton Head, Bluffton, and the May River offer some of the best spots for jet skiing and boating in the country. There are fun spots on the May River to spend the day with friends and family. Unfortunately, these long Saturdays often involve drinking, and it can get wild out there. As a result, you’re likely to see folks taking risks on jet skis.
Now, the locals aren’t as big of a problem as the folks from out of town renting jet skis. These folks often don’t understand watercraft and can take serious risks without knowing how to maneuver a boat. That’s how people get hurt by jet skis. It’s not the person who’s been riding jet skis on the May River his or her whole life. It’s the person from out of town who was taking risks or who wasn’t properly trained by the jet ski rental company.
Charleston, South Carolina is a popular destination for water-based recreational activities, including jet ski rentals. However, like any other type of boating activity, jet ski rentals in Charleston can also result in accidents. Rental personal watercraft accidents may be more common in Charleston due to the high number of tourists and inexperienced operators. Just as with Bluffton and Hilton Head, the folks from out of town are often the ones you have to look out for on jet skis because they don’t know what they’re doing, and the rental companies often fail to train them properly.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a popular destination for water-based recreational activities, including jet skiing. The most popular areas for jet skiing in Myrtle Beach include the Intracoastal Waterway, the Waccamaw River, and the Atlantic Ocean.
People choose to jet ski in these areas for a variety of reasons. The Intracoastal Waterway and the Waccamaw River offer calm, protected waters that are ideal for recreational activities such as jet skiing, fishing, and sightseeing. The Atlantic Ocean provides a more challenging environment for experienced jet ski operators, with opportunities for speed, wave riding, and exploring the coastline.
If you don’t know about Lake Murray, it can be absolutely wild on the weekends. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Lake Murray is a large man-made lake located in the central part of South Carolina. With its many inlets, coves, and bays, Lake Murray can be a challenging and hazardous location for jet ski operators, especially in crowded areas and near shorelines. Often times, boats will raft up and folks will be drinking all day in a cove or inlet. As you can imagine, this is a recipe for disaster, not so much for the pontoons, but definitely for the jet skis.
Lake Hartwell is a large lake located on the border of South Carolina and Georgia. Like Lake Murray, it is a popular location for personal watercraft, but it can also be a hazardous location due to its large size, multiple inlets and coves, and busy boating traffic. As with most lakes in South Carolina, Hartwell can get crowded on the weekends, and folks may do some partying there. As a result, people can get hurt.
Many rivers in South Carolina are popular locations for jet skiing, but they can also be dangerous. Strong currents, narrow channels, and low bridges can pose risks for personal watercraft operators, and it is important to be aware of the conditions and hazards in these areas. Some of the more popular rivers for jet skiing include the following:
This river is a popular destination for jet ski enthusiasts due to its calm waters and scenic beauty. It winds through the Lowcountry, providing opportunities for sightseeing, fishing, and jet skiing.
The Santee River is another popular destination for jet skiing in South Carolina, offering calm waters and scenic views of the surrounding countryside.
The Intracoastal Waterway is a protected waterway that runs along the coast of South Carolina, providing opportunities for a variety of water-based activities, including jet skiing.
The Cooper River is another popular destination for jet skiing in South Carolina, offering calm waters and stunning views of the surrounding countryside and the city of Charleston.
The Edisto River is a popular destination for water-based recreational activities, including boating, fishing, and jet skiing. The Edisto River is a scenic waterway that winds through the Lowcountry, offering calm waters, lush forests, and abundant wildlife.
It is important to be aware of these and other hazardous locations for jet ski accidents in South Carolina, and to take steps to protect yourself and others while using personal watercraft. By taking a boating safety course, wearing a life jacket, and following all relevant laws and regulations, you can help reduce the risk of accidents and enjoy a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Jet Ski Accidents in South Carolina?
Jet ski accidents in South Carolina can occur for many different reasons, but some causes are more common than others. The following are some of the most common causes of jet ski accidents in the state:
Operator error is one of the most common causes of jet ski accidents. This can include things like operating the personal watercraft in an unsafe manner, going too fast, or not paying attention to the surroundings.
Alcohol And Drug Use
This is a big one. Alcohol and drug use can obviously impair a person's judgment, reaction time, and coordination, making them more likely to be involved in an accident. In South Carolina, it is illegal to operate a personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and doing so can result in serious consequences. Unfortunately, there are drunk boaters out on the water every weekend, and you have to keep an eye out for these folks.
Mechanical failure is another common cause of jet ski accidents. This can include things like engine failure, steering problems, or problems with the personal watercraft's electrical system.
Reckless behavior, such as jumping wakes or engaging in other dangerous stunts, can also be a cause of jet ski accidents. This type of behavior can lead to accidents and can also be illegal in some cases. You see this a lot with folks who have been drinking. Jet skis don’t have a brake, and so a reckless move can quickly turn into a serious crash.
Collisions With Other Vessels
Collisions with other vessels, such as boats, are another common cause of jet ski accidents. This can occur when personal watercraft operators are not paying attention or when they are not following the rules of the waterway. This also occurs when jet skiers try to get air on waves behind a large boat and end up getting too close.
Inclement weather, such as strong winds, thunderstorms, and high waves, can also be a cause of jet ski accidents. If you’ve lived on the coast of South Carolina, you know how fast the weather can turn bad. Personal watercraft operators should be aware of the weather conditions and avoid operating their craft in hazardous conditions.
Overall, boaters should be aware of these and other common causes of jet ski accidents in South Carolina, and to take steps to reduce the risk of accidents. It’s up to each boater to be responsible and follow the rules of the waterway to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the water.
Who Is Liable for a Jet Ski Accident in South Carolina?
Liability for a jet ski accident in South Carolina depends on the specific circumstances of the accident. In general, the person who is found to be at fault for the accident will be held liable for any damages or injuries that result. The following are some of the factors that can affect liability in a jet ski accident:
If one of the parties involved in the accident acted negligently or failed to exercise reasonable care, they may be held liable for the accident. For example, if the operator of a personal watercraft was speeding or not paying attention to the surrounding area, they may be found to be negligent. Each case will vary, and winning a personal injury lawsuit usually boils down to proving the elements of negligence.
Reckless behavior, such as jumping wakes or engaging in other dangerous stunts, can also be a factor in determining liability in a jet ski accident. If the operator of a personal watercraft was engaging in reckless behavior, they may be found to be liable for any damages or injuries that result.
Mechanical Defect or Manufacturing Defect
If the accident was caused by a mechanical failure, such as engine failure or steering problems, the manufacturer or seller of the personal watercraft may be held liable. This can occur if the failure was due to a defect in the craft or if the manufacturer or seller failed to properly maintain or repair the personal watercraft.
Alcohol or Drug Use
If the operator of a personal watercraft was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, they may be held liable for any damages or injuries that result. In South Carolina, it is illegal to operate a personal watercraft while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Boating Rules and Regulations
If the operator of a personal watercraft failed to follow the rules and regulations for boating in South Carolina, they may be held liable for the accident. For example, if the operator failed to follow the rules for navigating the waterway or for maintaining a safe speed, they may be found to be liable.
It is important to understand that each jet ski accident is unique, and the specific circumstances of the accident will determine who is liable for any damages or injuries that result. If you or a loved one has been injured in a jet ski accident in South Carolina, you should seek the advice of an attorney to help you understand your rights and responsibilities and whether you may be able to pursue a claim for your injuries.
Are There Many Jet Ski Rental Accidents in Hilton Head, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and other Parts of the Coast in South Carolina Every Year?
It is difficult to determine the exact number of jet ski rental accidents that occur in Hilton Head, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and other parts of the coast in South Carolina every year. However, growing up in the Lowcountry, I heard about serious jet ski accidents every single year. As we’ve talked about in this article, these accidents often occur when folks with little or no boating experience rent jet skis and take them out on the water after receiving inadequate training.
Overall, jet ski rental accidents are more common than accidents involving privately-owned personal watercraft because rental operators are less experienced or familiar with the rules of the waterway. Additionally, rental personal watercraft are often used by individuals who are on vacation and may not be familiar with the local waterways or boating conditions, and they’re certainly not aware of the particular hazards of a given location.
To reduce the risk of jet ski rental accidents, it is important to choose a reputable rental company that follows industry safety standards. Additionally, folks should make sure that the personal watercraft is in good working condition before taking it out on the water. Finally, it’s critical that folks understand and follow the South Carolina boating rules and regulations and wear a personal flotation device while operating a personal watercraft.
Have You Or A Loved One Been Injured In Jet Ski Accident or Some Other Personal Watercraft Accident in South Carolina?
If you've been injured in a jet ski accident or a personal watercraft accident, you should speak with a South Carolina accident injury lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call us at (843) 638-6590.
If you’ve been injured in Florida or Georgia, you can call our downtown Orlando, Florida law office directly at (321) 352-7588 to schedule your consultation. We have at least one attorney licensed in South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.