Having fun on the water is one of the great American pastimes. We all love the feel of spray in our faces and wind in our hair. Over the years, we’ve fallen in love with sailboats, speedboats, water skis, kiteboards, inner tubes and Jet Skis. This summer there is a new contraption to add to that list, and while it sounds like fun, it also seems potentially dangerous.
The Jetovator is a jetpack-like device that takes a boat’s water thrust and redirects the jet unit into an attached forty foot hose. The force of the water through the hose can propel users up to 30 feet above the water’s surface.
“Safety is key,” says boating education coordinator Julie Brown, who adds, “We’d like to be proactive.” Brown helped draft a set of guidelines for water jetpack rental companies.
Regulations say the watercraft cannot be operated within 100 feet of any object or person. Additionally, because they are fully submersible, the device must be operated at a depth of at least six feet. Finally, businesses are prohibited from launching customers any more than 10 feet in the air.
Officials insist the device is one of their top safety priorities, even though no accidents have been reported in Maryland.
Many boaters are prone to drinking while out on the water, which is always a terrible idea. With this new fad, however, the risk of serious injury is even greater. It is a complicated device that requires training and constant vigilance. Alcohol impairs judgment, and many authorities fear the inevitable tragedy if someone mixes booze and jetpacks.
If I Was Injured Taking Part in an Extreme Water Sport, Do I Need a Maritime Attorney?
Alcohol and water sports are a deadly combination. The Coast Guard estimates that at least 60,000 boating accidents occur each year, and almost half are alcohol or drug-related.
If you suffered injuries as the result of an accident with a drunken boater, our maritime attorneys can help. We understand how federal maritime laws protect the victims of drunken boating accidents. Call us right away for a free consultation.
Latti’s Little Extra: Maybe the safest water sport ever is the Croatian game picigin, which consists of players just keeping a small ball from touching the water.
Latti & Anderson LLP – Nationwide Maritime Attorneys