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Marine and Personal Watercraft Accident Reconstruction

Power Boat, Jet Ski, and Personal Watercraft Crash Reconstruction and Analysis

Damaged jet ski accident reconstruction

Personal Watercraft and power boats are popular vessels found in lakes and open waterways across the country. They are easy to operate, and can provide an enjoyable family activity for hot summer days. The rise in popularity of PWC's is largely due to the advancements in technology of these small boats. With a high power-to-weight ratio, many PWC's are capable of carrying passengers, and even towing a waterskier or inflatable tube behind them.


Characteristics of PWC's and Power Boats

Small watercraft such as jet skis and PWC are fundamentally different than larger watercraft in two main ways. First, PWC's are typically operated in a seated or standing position and the operator steers the watercraft using handlebars, similar to an ATV or motorcycle. Also, the operator of a PWC is positioned on a seat similar to a motorcycle and the structure of the PWC does not surround the operator or passenger, leaving them fully exposed to the surrounding environment. In contrast, larger watercraft such as power boats are operated in a similar manner to an automobile, where the operator is seated at a "helm" with steering wheel and throttle control. Larger watercraft provide structure around the operator which may or may not be fully enclosed and generally have capacity to hold multiple passengers, whereas PWC's are usually only able to carry one passenger, if any. The second main difference is that steering is only accomplished by the use of throttle. The "jet" of the jet ski or PWC is a high velocity stream of water that is projected out of the rear of the watercraft, and steering is accomplished by changing the direction of the water jet. Larger boats are sometimes powered in a similar manner (otherwise known as "jet boats"), however it is more common for larger watercraft to be steered by utilizing a rear mounted rudder.

Personal Watercraft Accident Analysis

Personal WaterCraft (PWC) and boating accidents pose a particular challenge for accident reconstructionists due to their general lack of physical evidence left at the scene (there are no skid marks to determine speed or direction).  Our experts understand that many inexperienced PWC operators may fail to realize the handling characteristics and dynamics of these small, powerful and nimble machines. Veritech engineers have the experience and understanding of PWC operation to assist in the reconstruction of PWC accidents. Furthermore, our lead powersports expert has 8 years of experience working for a major powersports manufacturer, including the product development of PWC’s.  This experience provides a unique insight into the challenges and compromises required during the development process.  Please call us today for a free initial consultation with one of our qualified Professional Engineers.

Please contact our marine and personal watercraft expert, Mark Kittel, P.E., D.F.E. at 303-660-4395 to discuss your case and receive a free initial consultation with honest and candid comments.

Mark Kittel, PE, D.F.E.

Mark Kittel, P.E., D.F.E.

Principal Engineer

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