Personal Watercraft Injury FAQs

Personal Watercraft Injury FAQs
12/12/2017

Many people suffer personal watercraft (PWC) internal orifice injuries, those caused by water propulsion into the vagina, anus, perineum or rectum. These injuries usually affect the PWC passenger, particularly when that rider is ejected rearward from the craft’s seat position.
For some, these injuries cause significant damage to orifices and require emergency medical treatment. Other injured passengers undergo surgery for implantation of a colostomy bag, with some experiencing permanent disfigurement, disability or death.

How PWC Manufacturers Fail in Prevention of Internal Orifice Injuries

PWC manufacturers Bombardier, Kawasaki and Yamaha have failed to revise their designs in response to catastrophic PWC internal orifice injuries. These leading manufacturers have known of these injuries for more than two decades. But Sea-Doo, Jet Ski and Waverunner PWC continue being made with the same design flaws.

As part of current model designs, PWC passengers ride on the craft without restraint or safety mechanisms preventing backwards sliding from the seat. The backwards momentum usually stems from acceleration of the craft. Riders are thrown from the machine, landing directly behind the jet drive propulsion system and into the path of jet water thrust. Simple design changes could incorporate mobility restraints, straps, grips, seating configuration changes, tail design changes or handholds to prevent riders from being expelled from the PWC.

Can riders suffering internal orifice injuries sue?

PWC manufacturers can be held responsible for their PWC design flaws. These makers of personal watercraft know the designs are defective, causing these types of injuries. Although money does not fix suffered injuries or psychological damage, a lawsuit does help force manufacturers to improve their designs. A successful case also helps injured victims gain financial compensation for medical expenses, lost income, mental anguish, physical impairment, disfigurement and pain and suffering.

According to current designs, how can personal watercraft be improved for greater safety?

Personal watercraft do feature design flaws. It is these flaws that cause injuries like those of internal orifices. Manufacturers could use simple changes to make PWCs safer. These simple changes include:

  • A seat grip strap held between the passenger’s legs
  • Lengthening of the craft’s rear deck for dissipation of the jet drive’s output pressure before reaching a fallen passenger
  • Properly positioned handholds in or next to the seat where passengers can reach and grip them while keeping their center of gravity appropriately positioned
  • Rear backrests or low bolsters on a contoured seat, preventing rear ejection or sliding from the back of the craft
  • Contoured housing over the PWC jet system redirecting or sliding a fallen passenger to another position behind or to the side of the jet flow, reducing or eliminating danger of orifice injury

How else can manufacturers of PWCs prevent internal orifice injuries?

Manufacturers should be held liable for failing to properly warn purchasers of PWCs about potential internal orifice injury. Also known as a marketing defect in some states, this failure to warn is easily addressed through better distribution chain and end user education about known risks of the PWC.

Personal watercraft manufacturers fail to warn riders that they can fall from the craft’s rear seat, landing directly in the jet propulsion path. Customers need this information before buying the product and certainly before use. Riders must be aware they can suffer severe and permanent injury to their tissues and organs.

When such warnings have been provided by manufacturers, these warnings are inconspicuous, poorly placed for visibility, unclear, vague or nonspecific. The warnings must be clear, easy to read, understandable and properly positioned on packaging and customer education materials for visibility in line with ANSI standards.