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Fourth of July in the New York’s Southern Tier was filled with celebration and family fun, though several accidents resulted in needless death.  In one accident, a man was killed on Waneta Lake while riding on a jet ski.

According to WETM TV, 43-year-old Lee Brandt of Wisconsin was on a jet ski with friends Sunday.  While operating his jet ski along the east shore of Waneta Lake in a northbound direction, Brandt turned in front of a second jet ski and collided with it.  Brandt died a short time later.

This sad story presents a good opportunity to review some basic jet ski safety tips:

Learn how to operate a jet ski before climbing aboard.

Jet skis look uber-cool, and the sight of many young people riding them leads to the misconception that they are easy to drive.  However, you wouldn’t hop on a motorcycle and peel away before learning how to operate it.  Take your time, learn to drive and make the lake safe for everyone.

Wear a life jacket.

For most people this is common sense, but I still amazed to see people scream by aboard a jet ski with nothing on top but a shiny layer of tanning oil.  Life jackets are a must – there is no way around it.  Moreover, New York law requires anyone who uses jet ski to wear a life jacket, and your civil case in the event you are injured could be substantially impacted if you “forget” to wear it.

Stay away from other watercraft.

Most jet ski injuries are caused by collisions with boats or other jet skis.  To be safe, stay AT LEAST 100 feet away from other watercraft, divers, water skiers, tubers, knee-boarders, wake-boarders, rafts, and swimmers.

Never jet ski at night.

The bottom line is that open water is dangerous at night. It is nearly impossible to accurately gauge your distance from other watercraft.  Simply put, don’t jet ski at night.  Ever.

Don’t Drink and Ski.

This is another common sense point, but it is worth mentioning.  Drinking at the lake is a favorite pastime for many people.  If you plan to drink before you jet ski, make sure it is or the nonalcoholic sort.

Thanks for reading,

Christina Sonsire

NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
Office: 607.733.8866
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)
Web: zifflaw.com
Blog: NYInjuryLawBlog.com