Article Text

This article has a correction. Please see:

Download PDFPDF
Children and personal watercraft: injury characteristics and potential countermeasures
  1. Chester S Jones
  1. Health Sciences, University of Arkansas, 308 HPER Building, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Jones.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Every summer, families and children travel to the waterways to participate in recreational activities. One increasingly popular water activity for children is riding on, or operating, personal watercraft (PWC). When these were first produced in the 1970s, they were one seat water vessels with a maximum of 40 horsepower engines. Today, many manufacturers are producing vessels with three seats, horsepowers over 120–135, able to reach top speeds of 65–70 miles per hour. Although there are many variations, the most popular is known in America as a Sea-Doo.

These PWCs generally cost $4000 to $8000. As one PWC dealer stated, “You would have to spend at least $35 000 to $40 000 for a boat to go that fast. Personal watercraft is a cheap way to go fast”.1 Clearly, PWCs are getting bigger and faster and manufacturers appear to be targeting younger populations through sophisticated media advertisements, splashy designs, and appealing to the inherent “fun” of PWC use.

In response to the possible dangers from their use by people 18 years and under, many states in the US have passed regulations governing their operation. But questions remain: how safe are PWCs? Are these countermeasures enough? Are those under 19 at greater risk for injury as operators or passengers than older users? Another concern is for the safety of other users of the waterways.

Indications are that injuries, disabilities, and fatalities are increasing as the popularity of these boats grows. Injuries from PWC related crashes in the …

View Full Text

Linked Articles

  • Correction
    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd