Auto Club Says Higher Percentage of Southland Boating Accidents Involve Personal Watercraft

September 4, 2001

As water lovers get ready to head out for beach and river trips during the last few weeks of summer, the Automobile Club of Southern California warned boaters to take safety precautions when using boats and personal watercraft.

“Personal watercraft are an increasingly popular way to enjoy the water, but boaters need to realize that they’re driving a vehicle, and they must take safety precautions just like they do in their cars,” said Cortland Ray, Auto Club vice president for insurance claims. “They need to learn how to operate the vehicle properly, and be adequately insured in the event of an accident.”

California boating accidents killed 51 people and injured 524 last year, representing a 7.9 percent increase over 1999, according to the California Department of Boating and Waterways’ Boating Safety Report.

The department reports a 76 percent statewide increase in the number of registered personal watercraft between 1993 and 2000. With that increase, accidents involving Jet Skis(R), Sea-Doos® or other personal watercraft have also risen.

Personal watercraft were involved in 38 percent of all Southern California boating accidents last year, and that percentage may continue to grow with the numbers of personal watercraft. One out of every five boating accidents in California last year occurred during the holiday periods of Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, according to the state boating report.

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