I don’t know what happens to some people when they get on a personal watercraft. It is almost like the handlebars have a positive and negative charge and, like Dr. Frankenstein’s machine, it transforms people into mindless monsters when they grab them. The rider jumps on, throws his head back, shouts “Wooo-hooo!” and mindlessly speeds off, leaving his brain back at the dock. I have seen people on PWCs running into the face of a wave in attempts to do a 360-degree flip. Of course most of them fall backwards into the water with the machine on top of them — but they just climb back aboard and do it again. And every boater has been plagued by PWCs criss-crossing over their wakes, trying to get the small craft airborne and shouting with glee as they slam back onto the water. If a person were to attempt these antics in any other type of vessel, you would question their sanity — but for PWCs, this is regarded as normal behavior.
Recently you may have read of the fatal accident when two PWCs collided at 3 a.m. It was reminiscent of a crash last year, when a PWC collision involving a professional athlete and his girlfriend resulted in a fatality. In both cases it was after dark and no one was wearing a lifejacket. I guess when the PWC handlebars give that Dr. Frankenstein charge, it also makes the driver forget there are laws governing the use of those machines. No one under the age of 14 can legally operate a PWC, yet I see small children buzzing across the water on them. There are laws requiring persons aboard to wear life jackets, but the two fatalities had none. It is unlawful to operate a watercraft recklessly, including close-wake jumping and 360-degree flips. It’s illegal to operate a PWC after dusk, yet both of the fatal accidents happened during total darkness. It is against the law to operate any watercraft under the influence of alcohol. While there was no mention of alcohol in either of the fatal accidents, one might consider that possibility along with my Dr. Frankenstein theory as a potential contributing factor.
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