Game Wardens Concerned Over Multiple Jet Ski Accidents

On a hot day, dozens of East Texans load up their jet ski's and head to the lake. But a string of accidents over the past week have caused game wardens to watch personal watercraft more closely.

Chris Green remains slightly shocked by the statistics, "in the last five days, we've had four jet ski accidents," he says. That's compared to five wrecks for the entire summer of 2003. Green says the accidents have been happening in congested parts of Lake Tyler.

"When you're cutting up on these things, you certainly have to be aware of other traffic around you," he said while patrolling Lake Tyler on Sunday. "You can't have tunnel vision."

Three of the five operators involved in recent accidents ended up with injuries.

A jet ski now grounded near Lake Tyler shows the extent of what can happen. The water craft suffered a small cut to the bow and multiple scratches when another jet ski ran over it. The machine's operator ended up with a dislocated knee cap.

Green says part of the problem is jet skiers are traveling too close for comfort.

"Just like a vehicle you have to be aware of the person in front of you, and we are too programmed to follow behind each other." He recommends keeping at least a 50-100 foot distance.

But Green says a better practice is riding side by side and avoiding the single file habit.

With Independence Day just around the corner, Green is hoping those who take to the water will practice a little extra caution. He expects the number of jet skiers to double this holiday weekend.