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Jet ski accident statistics are released by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) every year.

These general reports are quite comprehensive, as beyond jet skis, they include all of the registered recreational vessels like motorboats, houseboats, sailboats, rowboats, and many others. Thus, the amount of data can be overwhelming at first glance.

To help your research, we at JetDrift have carefully reviewed these reports and collected the most important jet ski-related data in one chart. Without further ado, let’s check jet ski accident statistics from 2004 to today.

Jet Ski Accident Statistics

According to the reports, around 12 million registered recreational vessels exist in the U.S., including around 1.5 million jet skis. Even though just a small percentage of these registered vessels are jet skis, they’re involved in around 20% of all reported accidents every year.

Based on these statistics, it seems that jet skis are more dangerous than boats or any other vessels. What’s more, as jet skis offer much less protection than boats, in case of an accident, a jet ski rider is much more exposed to injuries.

Based on the USCG report, 600-700 jet ski accidents are reported each year, resulting in around 40 deaths, although this tendency has been declining over the past decade.

YearDrowningsOther deathsTotal deathsTotal injuriesTotal casualities
2018113142634676
2017172946624670
2016133346675721
2015102333623656
2014122234592626
2013132336601637
2012233558721779
2011182644764808
201092938776814
2009142842878920
2008172845920965
20071453679821049
2006224668919987
200521446510071072
20041442569521008

If you’re looking for more data, we can recommend taking a look at the USCG yearly reports.

Causes of Jet Ski Accidents

Are you wondering what the main causes of serions jet ski accidents are?

  • Rider’s inexperience: According to the reports, the main reason for jet ski accidents is due to the inexperience of the operator. Jet skis can be rented or owned without any experience, and this may result in many serious accidents.

  • Recklessness: On the other end of the spectrum, you can find experienced riders who intend to ride their jet skis recklessly. This usually means doing dangerous tricks like huge wave jumping or other stunts – even close to docks or other objects. The other typical cause of fatal jet ski accidents is too much speed.

  • Jet ski’s design: Surprisingly, the design of jet skis can lead to many accidents. Unfortunately, there are still many jet ski models that are manufactured without brakes,making handling more difficult for beginners. What’s more, watercraft need to accelerate to make turns, as without throttle, the rider lose control. This has led to many accidents throughout history!

  • Riding under the influence: Riding a jet ski under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not just dangerous, it’s prohibited as well. Despite this, in many cases, the accidents were caused by operators being drunk!

  • Weather conditions: Limited visibility or riding in bad weather isn’t just dangerous, it can be challenging for jet ski riders. In spite of the importance of checking, many riders overlook the weather forecast before their ride.

  • Watersports: Tow sports like wakeboarding can be dangerous as well without any knowledge or experience.

Jet Ski Accident Statistics FAQs

To make it more clear, we collected some frequently asked questions and answers about jet ski death statistics.

Can you die on a jet ski?

Sadly, the answer is yes, you can die on a jet ski as a result of a serious injury. That’s why it’s highly recommended you get a jet ski license and learn how to operate a jet ski properly. Moreover, don’t overlook the required safety accessories!

Can you die from falling off a jet ski?

Although it happens very rarely, there are proven cases where someone died from falling off a jet ski. In these cases, the passenger fell behind the jet ski, and the pump forced water into his/her orifices which resulted in fatal injuries.

Another serious issue could be if you or your passenger bumps into another jet ski/boat/object instead of falling into the water. To avoid these issues, always be vigilant, control your speed, and learn how to ride a jet ski with passengers.

How many people die on jet skis?

According to the U.S. Coast Guard Accident Statistics, in recent years, 40 to 50 people die on jet skis every year. Additionally, there are 600-700 injuries reported related to jet ski accidents.

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