Watercraft accident cramps summer fun

This past Sunday afternoon, John Howe Jr., 31, and Emily Howe, 29, a brother and sister from Sterling, Massachusetts were using their personal watercrafts (sometimes referred to as ‘jet skis’) on New Hampshire’s Lake Monomonac. When only about five feet into the water, and away from their boat launch, the watercraft exploded. The cause of the blast is under investigation with the New Hampshire Marine Patrol, and the brother and sister were tossed approximately ten feet from the vessel. Fortunately, they were wearing their floatation devices. And some good Samaritans helped them back to shore. Even more fortunately, all injuries were non-life threatening though Emily Howe had to be taken to the hospital.

American journalist, Howard Cossell, once declared that “sports is the toy department of life.”

I agree.

Humanity’s love affair with competition and activity dates back thousands of years to the original Olympics. And we’ve never been more in tune with our athletic heritage. Just this past summer, the world paused to admire its finest sportspersons, painting our bellies and faces alike, belting out cheers from the bottom of our feet.

For the first time ever, every country to compete in the Olympics sent women athletes. Usain Bolt cemented his legacy as a great by sprinting at a historic twenty-three miles per hour. But we don’t just run anymore. While Bolt topped out at twenty-three, we now drive cars that cruise well above two hundred miles per hour. We (intentionally!!!) drop out of airplanes from several miles in the sky. We strap breathing apparatuses to our faces and plunge into the seas, exploring worlds that were once restricted from us.

With watersports rising in popularity in America, so are incidents with watersports’ equipment. And because of low conveyance and maintenance costs, recreational boating accidents are listed by some studies as the second most common among transportation units. Unlike with John and Emily Howe, many of the incidents are attributed to operator error. The top five contributing factors to accidents are:

1) Operator inattention 2) Improper lookouts 3) Operator inexperience 4) Excessive Speed 5) Machine Failure
And among watersport accidents, Personal Watercrafts are the second most common vessel involved, right behind motorboats. But, as is often the case, safety measures usually surround a little initiative. Classes on safety are always available. And of the drowning incidents that occurred in 2011, 84% of those victims were not using a floatation device at the time. An excellent list on safety measures can be found here.

Promoting safety, and avoiding personal injury, is something that remains a matter of concern for Altman and Altman. So, as always, if you have any questions or matters you wish to discuss, please don’t hesitate to contact us. And, above all, stay safe, especially while enjoying life’s “toy department.”



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