Big K wrote in post #10644019
What sort of safety gear do you need to be on the water besides a life jacket, which they both are wearing?
You're right, there is no other safety equipment that would be recommended for a completely illegal and unauthorized use of a watercraft like this.
What exactly are they doing that increases their risk of injury over say skilling or wakeboarding?
Well for starters, a person waterskiing or wakeboarding cannot fall over backwards and sustain a brain injury from hitting the boat that they were being towed by. As well, the odds of being run over by the boat that you were being towed by are pretty small compared to this where it is a very real possibility.
Seems pretty obvious to me. In most, if not all, states this would be considered illegal operation and you would be ticketed. Describing this as a Darwin award attempt is accurate.
I have also not seen too many spotters helping downhill skiers stay safe and the form of water they fall on is a bit harder.
Well, you need to look again. They are called "ski patrollers" and their primary duties are accident prevention followed by rescue. Most ski areas have a very sizable staff of patrollers on duty making sure that that risk is managed and that dangerous behavior is identified and stopped.
What you also miss in this is that every major ski area has a huge focus on risk management and guest safety. They have entire staffs on the mountain that monitor guest behavior and either get the guest to moderate their behavior or they are ejected from the ski area. Many of the larger ski areas have used or still use radar guns to identify too fast skiers.
You specifically mentioned professional athletes. In Alpine racing (the example), the athletes are very highly trained, they are wearing protective gear, the runs have been cleared and barricaded to prevent unauthorized use and there are rescue personnel and course officials close at hand if there is an accident and to identify unsafe conditions and rectify them ASAP. Serious accidents rarely happen.
Very different, and much safer, situation than this.
You also might want to do a bit of research on the fatality rates. In 2007, 67 people died in PWC accidents while 77 died canoeing and 334 died in open motor boats. 46 of the 67 died from trauma, which was not from hitting the water but from hitting or being hit by other boats or fixed objects like a bridge or tree trunk.http://www.injurytriallawyer.com …ry/2007_Boating_Stats.pdf
I have. That's why I made the comment.
What you miss is that the proportion of injuries due to personal watercraft are much higher than their proportion of licensed watercraft as a whole. In MN (where I live), the numbers are something like 30% of the total accidents (including fatalities) and something like 12% of the boat registrations (I'll have to find that again, but that's about right). Clearly out of whack - if they are 12% of the registrations they should be 12% of the injuries/fatalities/accidents instead of 3X as many. PWC are responsible for much more of the problem on a proportional basis - which is the only one that really matters.
Most state DNR's have similar information and reflects similar issues. It's why State DNRs focus on watercraft safety with special emphasis on PWC safety for youth.
Was what they were doing safe? No, but don't make it sound like they were playing with loaded guns or driving 90 in the snow. They were a couple of kids who spend a ton of time in the water just having some fun.
Not much different than driving 90 in the snow - equally irresponsible behavior.
I live on a major body of recreational water. Every year there are accidents and fatalities are not unusual here. They almost invariably happen when someone is doing something foolish and dangerous like this. Often, this sort of behavior leads to injuries by parties that were not involved (collisions). The problem with water sports is if you get injured in a way that would be quite survivable on land, if your ability to maintain your airway or to keep your head out of water is compromised, you can quickly die. Often problems are compounded when those around them, unfamiliar with water rescue, get into trouble rescuing them.
Fun? Maybe. Stupid? Absolutely. Is the defensible behavior? No.
I just wish there would have been better pictures taken of it.