Watersport Accidents Abroad
The last thing you want during a holiday is to be rushed to hospital following an accident. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to one British holidaymaker, when she was thrown from an inflatable ‘rubber ring’ and knocked unconscious.
Health and Safety Abroad
Watersports are a common activity for tourists, something fun and exciting to do after a day relaxing on the beach.
Many options are on offer, from riding an ‘inflatable banana’ or hanging off a ‘donut’ pulled along by a speedboat!
There is also the more conventional water-skiing, parasailing, or even renting a jet ski for the day. Whilst at first these activities seem like harmless fun, they can often end in accidents, resulting in holiday-ruining injuries, or even deaths as often holidaymakers are not properly instructed or trained.
- It is estimated that around 65 million trips are taken abroad each year. Spain is the most popular European destination for UK holidaymakers
- Between 2000 and 2005, 475 British holidaymakers drowned whilst on holiday
- Approximately 20% of those drowning cases are adults aged between 20 and 40 years old. The incidents often occurred while the victim took part in a water sports activity
One British holidaymaker found this out to her cost when a simple ride in an inflatable donut ended with a trip to hospital. The accident occurred when her rubber ring hit a wave created from another speedboat. She was thrown into the air and landed on her husband’s head. She was knocked unconscious and taken to hospital.
She needed 5 metal plates to rebuild her face after the bone above her mouth and nose was broken and her right eye socket was shattered.
Watersports may offer an exhilarating alternative to sunbathing, but they must be done with caution. Each activity has its own specific risks.
Towed Inflatable Rides
These rides can be great fun, but many speedboat drivers try to thrash the inflatable round in a sharp bend, which throws you off. Protective safety equipment such as headgear and life jackets are a must. Be wary of organisers who throw you into the water and then leave you there for extended periods before picking you up.
Parasailing can start from the beach, a pontoon or a boat. Good equipment is extremely important for this activity. Old and worn canopies and rigging could lead to a fatal accident. Ideally you need two trained personnel on the beach as well as an experienced driver and a second person ‘spotting’ in the boat. Accidents happen when harnesses are not fitted correctly, the parachutes are not deployed correctly and when a tow-lines breaks.
Jet-skis can be great fun, if used correctly. However, when used incorrectly fatal accidents do unfortunately occur. Most accidents are caused by collisions with other jet-skis and boats or colliding with jetties, piers and rocks. Collisions with swimmers are another common cause of accidents.
Different countries have implemented different laws regulating the use of jet-skis. In Spain is a requirement that all jet-skis cannot be more powerful than 55 horsepower and must be fitted with a cut-out switch. Also, jet-skis are not allowed closer than 200 metres from the shore, except for specially marked areas.
In Greece, jet-skis are monitored and supervised by the coastguard. Jet skis are not allowed to be hired by anyone under 18 years old.
Many operators in Europe do not have sufficient training to drive speedboats, as the restrictions placed on licenses in Britain often do not apply to other parts of the world, especially in resorts such as Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Majorca and Cyprus.
Many holidaymakers only receive basic information such as where they are allowed to go; they do not know what waves to avoid, and when the wind conditions are too strong for the sport to be safe. Even the most basic of instructions, that someone must be watching the person being towed at all times in case of an accident, is often ignored.
Can I Claim for My Accident Abroad?
If you have been injured as a result of poorly maintained or defective equipment, a lack of supervision or training, or an absence of warning signs, you may well be able to make a successful watersport injury claim.