Watersports – Know the Dangers

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Watersporting accidents bring with them; by there very nature, a whole new degree of danger and even more so as children are often keen to get involved.

In the past few months there have been some Jet Ski accidents that have ended in very frightening situations. At the beginning of June a 12-year-old girl had been airlifted to hospital after she was injured in a Jet Ski crash. She had been jet skiing with two adults and another child when the crash occurred off the coast of at Calshot, Hampshire. She was airlifted to hospital having been rescued by the lifeboats and coastguard who attended the scene.

In another jet-ski accident with terrifying consequences, a man and his two young sons, one and eight, fell into the River Wyre and the out of control jet ski was incredibly lucky not to hit them which could have caused multiple fatalities. Jet Ski’s are fitted with a kill cord; this should be attached to the rider so that in the event of them falling in then the Jet Ski’s engine dies.

The three were in incredible danger as the Jet Ski remained in gear and was going round and round in circles. The one year old was not even wearing a life jacket and had only a rubber ring. The father managed to get himself and the one year old to shore and his eight year old was saved by the Fleetwood to Knotend Ferry.

The captain of the ferry explained that the water was still very cold from the winter as it was only May and the current was strong. Accidents that happen in water bring with them so many more dangerous variables that extra precaution should always be taken, especially with children so young.

Ben Ridd, was a young man of 13 years of age, who loved powerboating and was a member of a local club in Poole, along with other members of his family.

In June 2005, Ben was taking part in the Junior Offshore National Championship Powerboat Race, as a member of a club regulated by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), involving head-to-head racing by children aged 8-16.

Ben was a co-driver and was struck by a pursuing boat resulting in the most catastrophic head injury and was in a coma. He also sustained orthopaedic injuries and a left hemiparesis, resulting in permanent restrictions in his mobility. He was wheel chair bound and was determined to walk again, with limitations. He has permanent cognitive and dysexecutive impairments as a consequence of his head injury. He required an intensive programme of rehabilitation.

Novum Law acted on his behalf and it took the Defendants over 7 years to admit liability, during which time Ben’s access to the rehabilitation and support he needed, to provide him the quality of life both he and his family deserved, was extremely limited.

Ben was finally awarded a substantial settlement over 9 years after his accident in 2005, which has allowed him to rebuild his life again. He has always been passionate about his sport and carried the Olympic torch in Swanage in 2012.

His case is a further reminder of the very serious dangers of water sports and the need to ensure that the participants have received sufficient training and supervision, the activity has been properly risk assessed and appropriate safe measures are in place, to avoid unnecessary and often life threatening injuries.

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