MIAMI, Florida– The dangers of operating personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, have again come into the forefront with the reported death of a 32-year-old man who was operating his personal watercraft in the waters of Blue Lagoon in Miami, Florida. On Monday afternoon, the man was seen flying into the air off his jet ski, appearing to have struck something causing it to abruptly stop, ejecting him into the water. There were others with him at the time who immediately tried to locate him, but due to the conditions of the water, which included choppy and murky water with a lot of seaweed, the young man’s body was unable to be found.
Search and rescue efforts were then started by the City of Miami Dive Rescue, and those efforts were stopped without successfully locating the body, due to weather conditions. Yesterday, it was reported that a body, identified as the Manuel Aponte, the individual involved in the jet ski incident, was found. The body was found floating in the same area that the accident had occurred.
Operating a personal watered craft can be very dangerous. The operator should be experienced, and should be wearing a life jacket at all times. It is important not to operate the personal watercraft at excessive speed so that one can avoid any obstacles found in the waterways. Equally important is that the operator be familiar with the waterways in case there are shallow areas and the possibility of any objects protruding out of the water. In this case, I am not sure whether there was something floating in the water that the jet ski struck.
This fatal tragedy is an example of how dangerous personal watercrafts can be, and an example of how difficult it is to maintain control at the high rates of speed the jet skis can operate at. I report about these accidents because I believe it is crucial to increase public awareness as to the dangers of operating a personal watercraft, including entrusting teenagers, even minors, with this dangerous instrumentality. Jet skis look like fun toys. However, they are high-powered machinery that operate at a very high rate of speed, and are difficult to keep under control at high rates of speeds. This means that jet skis are difficult to stop quickly if necessary especially if trying to avoid a collision with an object of any kind, which has caused many unfortunate tragedies involving jet skis.
Sometimes these accidents happen due to some unsafe condition with the jet ski, which would be a products liability case against the manufacturer of the jet skis, and sometimes the accident is simply the result of operator error, or negligence of another person. In this case, there has been no details yet of whether the accident was due to any defect with the personal watercraft or not.
Again, this sad story highlights the importance of taking seriously the obligation to be safe when operating a personal watercraft. I send my condolences to the family of this man.