I read a very sad piece in the Orlando Sentinel this morning involving the death of 14-year-old boy in a Lake County jet ski accident over the weekend. (This hits particularly close to home for me because I have a 14-year-old son at home…)
Apparently, a group of at least four 14-year-olds were operating two jet skis on Lake Joanna in Eustis. At some point, the drivers of the two jet skis found themselves heading for each other. Both watercraft veered, but veered in the same direction, ending with a significant head-on collision. Nicholas Polk was a passenger on one of the jet skis, and somehow died as a result of the crash.
Although all of the boys were wearing life jackets, none of them had ever completed the required boater safety course mandatory to operate a jet ski. Florida law requires any Florida resident under 22 to carry a boating safety education identification card and photo ID when operating a jet ski.
As an Orlando accident attorney who has experience counseling families after fatal accidents like this one, my heart goes out to the Polk family. Losing a child is always such a tragic loss…
As a parent, I would be interested in learning more about how these boys came to be operating these jet skis without the proper licensing. Who was supposed to make sure that these boys had the proper boater safety training that likely would have addressed what to do when two watercraft are heading directly toward one another? It is very possible that one or more of the parents could be held liable for negligently entrusting a water vehicle to a child who was untrained, or ill-equipped to operate it.
I certainly hope that there is a good explanation for what happened — for the sake of the Polk family.
If you have questions about a Florida jet ski or watercraft accident, call Winter Park personal injury attorney Kim Cullen at 407-644-4444.