Summer is here in Ontario, and cottagers are hitting the lakes all around the province. And while fun will be had by all, we shouldn’t forget that dangers lurk in those waters as well, when proper safety precautions aren’t followed.

We’ve discussed the dangers (and safety tips) for boating, but per capita, jet skis have a higher mortality rate than any other vessels. Users of these watercraft typically have very little protection despite travelling at extremely high rates of speed.

The most accurate figures we have are from the U.S. Coast Guard, which reports that while these single- or double-occupancy craft account for only 12% of registered recreational vessels, jet ski accidents make up 20% of all recreational boating accidents. The math says that these types of craft are the most dangerous on the water.

What are the leading causes of Jet Ski accidents?

Jet ski mishaps can be caused by a number of factors, and can result in serious injury. Some of the leading causes include:

  • Inexperience of rider
  • Recklessness/horseplay of rider
  • Flaws in design/state of repair
  • Riding under the influence

There are also several things you must avoid in order to reduce the dangers while on a jet ski:

  1. Avoid abrupt movements
  • Sudden, abrupt turns can lead to a capsize event
  1. Don’t ride out of your comfort zone
  • Keep speed within reason until you’re more comfortable in your abilities to control the craft
  1. Avoid the shore and rocky terrain
  • Always jet ski in areas that are clear of rocks, docks and other solid objects
  1. Watch for strong waves when not in motion
  • While running, jet skis are very balanced, but when standing still out in the water, heavy waves can cause them to lose balance

What are the best safety tips for jet skis?

In the end, jet skis are also known as pleasure craft. So how can you best protect yourself to make sure you have the most pleasure, and the least danger, on one of these vessels?

Following these 10 tips will help you stay safe:

  • Take a boating course in advance
  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Keep jet ski in proper maintenance condition
  • Always have a “kill switch” cord attached in the event of an ejection from the watercraft
  • Watch your speed: only ride at speed at which you have competence and experience
  • Never engage in horseplay/reckless driving
  • Never ride jet ski while intoxicated from alcohol or high on drugs
  • Never ride in bad weather conditions
  • Only operate jet ski in water that is at least waist-deep
  • Keep hands, feet and clothing away from the pump intake

Keep in mind that a jet ski is considered a boat, and must follow all Transport Canada boating regulations while on the water.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a jet ski accident, contact Horowitz Injury Law immediately for a free consultation. For over 35 years, they’ve been ensuring their clients get the compensation and the care they need arising out of any serious pleasure craft accident. Call 416-925-4100 or go to