Common Jet Ski Injuries

Avoiding common jet ski injuries

The thrill of riding a Jet Ski or PWC (personal water craft), with droplets of sea spray tickling your face can’t be beaten. They run at up to 65 miles per hour, yet regulation around the use of jet skis is fairly loose. In this article we explore common Jet Ski injuries and safety precautions to help you avoid injury and enjoy the ride.

Unfortunately as a result there are many horror stories linked with jet skis, with injuries ranging from scratches and bruises to severe head injuries and even death, you should approach jet skiing with the same care and attention you would as if driving a car.

In fact, operating a jet ski is on par with operating any other heavy piece of machinery, just with the added oomph of a jet propelled engine! On that basis, the shortfall in regulations which safeguard drivers is astonishing. As jet ski insurance providers, we've looked at some common Jet Ski injuries and put together some pointers on how to avoid them.

Up Arrow

What are the most common jet ski injuries?

Past accidents, blogs and case studies etc. will throw up a number of injuries which crop up repeatedly so there are certainly lessons to be learned. Common Jet Ski injuries tend to be:

  1. Concussion and head injuries
  2. Crushed limbs
  3. Broken wrists
  4. Burns
  5. Whip lash

Up Arrow

Common causes of jet ski injury

There are a number of reasons identified by these cases as common causes of Jet Ski accidents. As we mentioned, restrictions are limited in the UK and usually no better abroad. Reoccurring themes tend to be-

  • Children driving
  • Racing / reckless driving / speeding
  • Loss of control
  • Lack of information / knowledge / experience

Up Arrow

Jet ski safety – how to avoid injury

In the UK you don’t need to have a license to drive a jet ski so we implore you to use your own good sense and judgement to avoid injuries. Here are a few jet ski safety tips to help you -

Use essential PWC safety equipment

  • Life jacket – Always applicable if you’re off out to
  • Kill cord – If you come flying off your jet ski the key will come with you therefore disabling the jet ski, vital so it doesn't run into you


Being mindful of your own capability is key to making sure you don’t get out of your depth. Stepping out of your comfort zone on a jet ski is easy; it simply means going too fast. Recognise your own level of ability and stick to a speed that feels comfortable, if you feel yourself losing control then slow down and recoup.

Third parties

There will undoubtedly be other people- out jet skiing, in other boats, scuba diving / snorkelling and some swimmers. Being aware of others around you is extra important and takes some observation and consideration.

If your own negligence causes you to injure or cause damage to the property of another member of the public, you could be liable for the cost of repair or compensation. This is covered by the public liability section on a Jet Ski insurance policy and you’ll find it necessary to have this cover before you use your PWC at some locations.


Using a jet ski while inebriated will obviously increase the risk of an accident and injury. It is not illegal for you to drink and operate a PWC though you may be detained if you are considered to be endangering other vessels. Also, be aware that some harbours have bi-laws which may stipulate that you cannot use a boat while under the influence.

Either way we would recommend that you do not drink and operate any kind of boat, damage caused to your jet ski under these circumstances will not be covered by boat insurance policies.

Safety warnings

Pay attention to safety flags, particularly the ones displayed by other boats.


Another boat using a blue and white Alfa/Alpha flag as a signal internationally signifies a diver. You should therefore continue at a slow speed and steer clear of the vessel.

RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency Training

All new PWCs are sold with a voucher towards this training. The RYA Personal Watercraft Proficiency Course is designed to be adaptable for first time riders and those with experience so you’ll benefit from it either way.

More and more frequently this certificate is becoming a requirement so it’s well worth having.

Up Arrow

Jet ski insurance from Towergate

Our jet ski insurance provides tiered levels of protection - bronze, silver or gold - so you can choose how much or how little we cover. And whichever level you choose, you can enjoy your jet ski knowing that you have £3 million third party liability cover as standard.

See more in our video guides to jet ski cover.

Up Arrow

About the author

Adam Summersby is a respected leader with 11 years’ varied experience in niche personal and commercial lines insurance, including caravan, site operators and excess reimbursement, with proficiency in leadership, sales and account management.