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Jet ski death statistics are released by the Unites 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 death statistics from 2004 to today.

Jet ski death 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 thatjet 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 fatal jet ski accidents

Are you wondering what the main causes of fatal 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.

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