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How to Avoid Common Jet Ski Injuries

How to Avoid Common Jet Ski Injuries

A jet ski can be a great way to blow off steam and have some high-speed fun on the water. While these vessels are a lot of fun, they can also be quite dangerous when proper measures aren’t in place or riders are being reckless. Let’s take a look at how to avoid common jet ski injuries so you can keep the fun going without the worry.

What are common jet ski injuries?

The first step in knowing how to avoid common jet ski injuries is to know what they are and why they occur. Since most accidents on a jet ski are preventable, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of them happening to you or a loved one while enjoying this fun watercraft.

Concussions/Head Injury

A concussion is one of the most common jet ski injuries. A concussion can occur when there is a serious impact to the head which can be a result of being thrown off the ski and hitting a hard surface, hitting your head on the jet ski when you accidentally flip it, and other instances of impact. You can even get a concussion or head injury if you hit the water at fast enough speeds. While we think of water as soft, speed definitely changes it to a more dangerous landing place. A concussion is not just a concern for the person on the jet ski either. Head injuries can happen to those in the water swimming near a jet ski which is why you should never ride near populated areas of the water.

How to Avoid:
  • - Decrease your speed.
  • - Pay attention to your surroundings at all times to avoid a collision.
  • - Watch for swimmers and stay away from the shore.
  • - Keep a safe distance from other riders and boats.
  • - Know the rules of the right of way when passing another vessel.
Spinal Cord Injury

Another common injury on jet skis is a spinal cord injury. While these aren’t as common as concussions, they are more serious with the injuries ranging from permanent loss of function to life-threatening. Caused by trauma to the back or neck in a way that directly impacts the spinal cord and vertebra, these injuries are caused by all sorts of incidents such as a rider being thrown off the ski and hitting another ski, boat, or hard surface, and colliding with other riders, as well as hitting choppy water at intense speeds at the wrong angle. Since a spinal injury will most likely result in a loss of limb function to some capacity, the fact that these accidents happen in the water raises the chances of drowning as well.

How to Avoid:
  • - Watch for other riders and vessels at all times.
  • - Decrease your speed when near other vessels.
  • - Keep away from any rocky areas or hard surface areas.
  • - Do not attempt to jump large wakes.
Broken Wrist

This injury can occur as a result of colliding with a solid object such as rocks, boats, or other riders and the impact coupled with the way you are holding the handlebar causes a bone break. It can also happen when a rider is thrown off their ski and instinctively reaches out to brace themselves on the impact of the water. While this injury isn’t as serious or life-threatening as others, it is a common one and can be quite painful.

How to Avoid:
  • - Go slower to reduce the momentum in case you hit the water.
  • - Consider wearing wrist guards.
  • - Take all precaution to avoid collisions such as staying a safe distance from other riders and vessels.
Sprained or Fractured Ankle

Similar to a broken wrist, the ankle is another spot prone to injury on a jet ski. Due to the sitting position of riding and the way the ankles are exposed, this area is especially vulnerable in the event of a collision with another rider or a solid surface. This can also be another injury, similar to the spinal cord injury though not nearly as extreme or incapacitating, which makes swimming more difficult and may contribute to drowning incidents.

How to Avoid:
  • - Consider wearing jet ski riding shoes to give the foot more support.
  • - Keep a safe distance from other riders, vessels, or rocks.
  • - Avoid doing tricks which may cause the ski to topple over on you.

While you might not think of burns as a common injury when a jet ski is surrounded by water, burns are a surprisingly common outcome in the event of a collision. Jet skis run on gasoline just like cars, but because they are smaller, and therefore more vulnerable to crush impacts, the chances of them catching fire in an accident are pretty high. Burns usually happen in extreme crashes where the vessel is damaged beyond repair.

How to Avoid:
  • - Avoid high speeds, especially in an area where rocks, docks, or hazards are present in the water.
  • - Always keep a safe distance from other riders and vessels to avoid collisions.
  • - Reduce your speed immediately if you see you can not avoid an impact. This will help minimize the crumple effect and impact to the fuel system.
Drowning/Near Drowning

Whenever there is water present, there is a chance of drowning. While most people going out on jet skis know how to swim, that doesn’t mean drowning or near-drowning incidents do not occur. As previously mentioned, drowning can occur in the best of swimmers as a result of an injury which renders them unable to swim such as a spinal cord injury, head injury, or broken ankle. Drowning can also happen even without an underlying injury if a rider is caught in choppy water or takes on too much water at once.

How to Avoid:
  • - Always wear a properly fitted life vest when jet skiing and make sure anyone riding with you wears one as well.
  • - Have a spotter if possible. A spotter is someone responsible for watching for trouble in the water while out for a ride.
  • - Know what drowning looks like. While a near drowning can look like the typical arms waving and calling for help image most people imagine, actual drowning is much quieter and harder to notice. In the majority of drowning, the person will not frantically splash around. They will most likely look like they are standing in the water up to their nose and mouth with their head bobbing slightly in the water. This is because in a drowning the individual loses the ability to raise their arms above the water as they take in more water. Make sure you or the designated spotter know what to look for in terms of drowning.
Internal Injury

When you are thrown from your jet ski or collide with another jet ski rider, the chances of internal injuries are common especially if you were riding at high speeds. Internal injuries can be everything from a ruptured spleen after hitting rocks at a high speed to injuries caused by being caught in the jet stream as you fall off the back of the ski.

How to Avoid:
  • - Do not ride in your bathing suit without shorts. The most common internal injury is from the jet stream. Wearing durable shorts can help reduce this injury.
  • - Pay attention to your surroundings and watch out for any potential collisions.