Boat Accident: Jet Ski on Bass Lake

On Sunday, June 28, 2015, a young boy was killed in a boating accident with a jet ski or personal watercraft on Bass Lake. The facts of the accident are not entirely clear.  ABC reported that a family had been inner-tubing on Bass Lake when two teens fell into the water.  KCRA reported that the teens had been swimming behind their family’s pontoon boat when the accident occurred. The family had put out proper flagging to warn others that there were people in the water. One boy was killed and another teen was taken by life-flight to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, where she was listed in critical condition with serious head injuries.

Emergency responders were quick to attempt to render aid, but the 13 yr old boy died at the scene.  The girl was transported by airlift to with serious head injuries.

The driver of the PWC was questioned by detectives. Authorities do not  believe alcohol or drugs played a role in the accident. There has not been any arrest and no citation was issued. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The Coast Guard compiles statistics on the causes of boating accidents.  In 2014, there were 4,065 accidents involving recreational boats. As a result of those accidents, there were 2,678 injuries and 610 deaths. For every 100,000  recreational vehicles that were registered, there were 5.2 deaths.  That figure represents a 10.6 increase from the previous year’s rate of 4.7  fatalities per 100,000 registered recreational vehicles.

Fatalities were 8 percent higher in 2014 than they were the year before.

There are a variety of factors that need to be considered in investigating the cause of any boating accident. These include:

  • The age of the parties involved;
  • Experience of the operators;
  • Weather conditions;
  • The extent of supervision of any activity;
  • Nature, type, design and condition of the equipment involved in the accident;
  • Evidence from the accident
  • Statements from witnesses,
  • Physical evidence, photographs, video cameras, or other recording devices.

The chief cause of accidents is inattention of the operator in failing  to keep a proper lookout, an inexperienced operator, excessive  speed, and, of course, alcohol.A more detailed discussion of the factors to be considered can be seen on our blog regarding

A more detailed discussion of the factors to be considered can be seen on our blog regarding causes of boating accidents.

In a boating accident with a jet ski or personal water craft,   operators and those swimming free in the water are  extremely vulnerable as they are unprotected from injury by seatbelts or other protective equipment. Accidents involving personal watercraft accounted for 17% of boating accidents in 2014, according to statistics complied by the Coast Guard.

Accidents involving personal watercraft accounted for 17% of boating accidents in 2014, according to statistics complied by the Coast Guard.

Not surprisingly alcohol is the leading factor in all fatal boating accidents, being present in 21% of deaths.

With water levels at an all time low, the proximity of boaters to other recreational users is closer than ever.  Boaters on personal water crafts or jet ski’s  need to pay extra careful attention to avoid collision with swimmers or other boaters nearby.

Whether inattention, lack of supervision, or other factors played a role in this accident is subject to further investigation.

An experienced Sacramento Boating Accident attorney who is familiar with boating accidents should be called immediately.

Ed Smith has been practicing injury law for over 30 years.

If you or a loved one have been injured  in a boating accident, contact the  Edward A Smith Law Offices for a free consultation at 916.921.6400.
You can find out more information on our website, at

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