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Tips For Safe Personal Watercraft Use

Tips For Safe Personal Watercraft Use


Airdate: 07/10/2012

They're the crashes that show how a thrilling water sport can turn treacherous in an instant. Many YouTube videos illustrate the potential dangers of Jet Skis, WaveRunners and other personal watercraft.

Sometimes it's the rider who's in harm's way. Other times, it's someone else. 

The U.S. Coast Guard says 44 people died in personal watercraft accidents last year alone.

And now that summer is in full swing, the grim toll continues to climb.

Usher's 11-year-old stepson is the latest casualty.

Little Kyle Glover, the son of Usher's ex-wife, has been declared brain dead after an accident on a lake in Atlanta, Georgia. Authorities say the boy was on an inflatable tube when he was hit by a watercraft.

The 911 call has just been released.

911 Operator: What have you got?

Caller: Blood in the water. The victim's not responding right now.

The 911 Operator tried to get more information from the little boy's frantic mother.

911 Operator: What marina are you at? Is it two Jet Skis? How far off the shore are you? Listen, we're getting help out there. Hold on.

Caller: Please, my son is injured! His head is bleeding. Hurry, please!

Little Kyle's accident is just the latest this season. An American astronaut, Alan Poindexter, who flew in two space shuttle missions, was killed just two weeks ago when his own son collided into him.

Sadly, accidents involving personal watercraft occur all over the country. Here are some tips you need to know before you get on one.

INSIDE EDITION spoke to Philip Caroleo, Director of Operations for New York Boating Safety.

One problem with personal watercraft is the fact that the ability to steer is powered by the same jet of water that propels the craft.

"They have no steering unless you're giving it throttle. So if you're coming up upon something, and you think you're going to crash, your natural instinct is to let off the throttle. If you do that, you will have no steering," said Caroleo.

Caroleo also said everyone using a personal watercraft should have a whistle attached to the life jacket, a distress signal flag, and a fire extinguisher.

"What's the biggest danger that you see?" asked INSIDE EDITION's Megan Alexander.

"The biggest danger that I see is inexperienced operators operating recklessly," replied Coroleo.

Hopefully, these tips will prevent a day on the water ending in tragedy, like it did for Usher's little stepson.

Authorities say alcohol was not a factor in the crash. The Personal Watercraft Association urges states to require mandatory education for all operators, and a minimum age of 16.


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