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Kelly & West News

Fourth of July Watercraft Accident Highlights Dangers of Inexperience

Critical injuries suffered on the Fourth of July by a Duke football player unfortunately illustrate the dangers of operating personal watercraft, especially when their riders have little experience and no formal boat safety training.

Blair Holliday, a sophomore wide receiver on Duke’s football team, was left in a coma after his personal watercraft collided with another vessel operated by teammate Jamison Crowder. Crowder, also a wide receiver, was not treated.

The two were traveling on Lake Tillery, about an hour east of Charlotte. The accident caused Holliday to suffer a coma. His condition later was upgraded to critical but stable.

Choppy water and skiers’ inexperience have been credited for causing the accident.

Two other high profile personalities were killed lately in Jet Ski accidents. Retired astronaut Capt. Alan Poindexter died of injuries sustained when he and his son were jet skiing and collided.

Usher’s stepson Kyle Glover recently was confirmed brain dead following another personal watercraft accident.

Summer days bring out more watercraft operators, but also increase the number of people hurt on these potentially dangerous vehicles. In 2011, 44 persons were killed on personal watercraft, an increase from 38 the previous year, according to, which quoted statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard.

"It’s kind of scary," Ron Sarver told Sarver is deputy director of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. "Anybody with money can go out and buy a boat and be on the water that afternoon.

"You’ve got this big machine out there that can do some harm. We want people to be out there, but now more than ever, we need for people to be educated," Sarver said.

Of the dozens of brands of personal watercraft, the most widely known are Kawasaki’s Jet Ski and Yamaha Motor Company’s Wave Runner. Riders stand on the Jet Ski while they sit on the Wave Runner.


Have you or someone you loved been hurt on a personal watercraft? The North Carolina personal injury lawyers of Kelly & West can help you seek and recover financial compensation for your injuries. To learn more, schedule a free review of your case.

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