On the Fourth of July, Jerry Jetski was operating his brand new 250 hp Kawasaki jet ski on Lake Woebegone. Jerry spotted his good friend, Sarah Splash, near the shore. In a playful mood, Jerry took off accelerating at a high rate of speed on a collision course with Sarah only to make a last second “power turn” showering Sarah with smelly lake spray.

Unfortunately for Jerry, his reckless actions were witnessed by Deputy Dawg who took immediate action. Dawg moved his wooden patrol boat on a parallel course with Jerry. However, the two crafts were separated by a large cigarette boat. Not seeing Dawg, Jerry jumped the wake of the cigarette boat only to strike the patrol boat broadside, sinking it!

Jerry was ticketed for operating his jet ski “within 50 feet of another vessel” and for “jumping the wake of another vessel unnecessarily close to that vessel.” The Town of Lake Woebegone also filed a civil lawsuit against Jerry for the loss of its patrol boat.  To make matters even worse, Jerry discovered, to his lament, that his homeowner’s insurance policy did not cover damage caused by or to his jet ski.

Tilting the Scales In Your Favor:

  • Know the Personal Watercraft Rules (PWC) rules, which covers laws regulating jet skis and other water crafts.
  • Get insurance!  Homeowners insurance does not cover powered watercraft.

Check out the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department site and the Water Safety Requirements.

See Hayes v. Patrick, 45 S.W.3d 110 (Tex. Civ. App. – Ft. Worth, 2000, no pet.)