Personal watercraft, (PWC) or "jet skis", are the hottest thing on the water today. They are easy to operate and can travel at speeds in excess of 70 miles per hour. Unfortunately, in the hands of inexperienced operators they are dangerous and can be deadly.
There are over 1,000,000 jet skis in use with Florida the leading state in the number of registered PWCs. The waterways of Indian Creek Village PSD's patrol area are especially attractive to jet ski users - and particularly dangerous. Many of the operators are tourists with little or no riding experience. Often times they let their inhibitions (and common sense) down while operating in a "vacation" mode. And, many parents allow their young children to operate the equipment who really do not have the physical skills or judgment to so do safely. Thus children, sometimes as young as 9 to 10 years old are on the water traveling 60 miles per hour.
While Biscayne Bay appears to be a wide open water park the fact is that it is often crowded with speed boats and large vessels, a deadly combination when mixed with PWCs driven by inexperienced, careless operators.
Jumping waves in the vicinity of other boats is a particularly popular and dangerous past-time. Headlines were made in South Florida when a jet skier, jumping a wave ended up slamming onto the deck of a passing yacht owned by a famous recording artist, resulting in the death of the operator and calls for stricter enforcement of applicable laws.
In addition to stricter enforcement of jet ski laws there is a serious need for education of operators in the safe use of the equipment. Many users of the equipment are not even aware of the legal requirements for equipment that must be carried such as a fire extinguishers and whistles.
The Indian Creek Village PSD is committed to reducing injuries from jet skis by a program of public information and, where applicable, enforcement. ICVPSD marine officers are equipped with pamphlets which they routinely distribute to watercraft users they encounter on their patrols both on the water and at docks. Officers conduct safety and equipment inspections of the vessels and attempt to develop a rapport with users who are often teenagers or young adults by explaining safe operating practices and encouraging them to ride in the safer areas of the bay.