How Common Are Serious Boating Accidents in Illinois?

boating accidentsWhile not as common as motor vehicle accidents, boating accidents have caused a number of serious injuries and fatalities in Illinois.

While the number has dropped from the astronomical statistics of the mid-1990s, these numbers are misleading since non-motorized boats are not considered in stats anymore. If you are involved in a boating accident and deserve compensation for damages, hire a Waukegan boating accident attorney straight away.

As per the Illinois Recreational Boating Report, there were 81 reportable boating accidents in 2020, a number which increased from 2019. 36 boat-related injuries were also reported in 2020 which decreased from the previous year. However, over 21 deaths were also reported, which was an increase from the fatalities reported in 2019.

Top Reasons for Boat Accidents and Injuries in Illinois

Some of the main reasons for boat accidents in Illinois include the following:

Treacherous Conditions

The water levels in the lakes and rivers in the state are expected to get quite high during the rainy season. Rising water levels hide docks, floating debris, and other conditions that can seriously compromise safety for boats and their passengers. Boat drivers can get into accidents that can prove fatal or cause serious injuries.

Alcohol Usage

Anyone who is drunk behind the wheel of any vehicle (whether on land or the sea) is bound to get into an accident. If caught, inebriated boat drivers can face DUI charges and in case they are involved in a serious accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can also be held liable for injuries that result from their intoxicated state.

Operator Mistakes

Inexperienced boat drivers can get into collisions easily because of errors. These can be anything from traveling at excessive speeds to making dangerous maneuvers on the water.

Other common causes of boating accidents in Illinois include:

  • Onboard fire.
  • Bad weather conditions.
  • Restricted vision.
  • Lack of ventilation in the boat.
  • Improperly anchored boat.
  • Equipment failure due to lack of maintenance.
  • Machinery or hull failure.
  • Starting the boat in gear.
  • Loading the boat incorrectly or overloading the boat.
  • Insufficient navigation aids.

Contact A Waukegan Boating Accident Lawyer

A Waukegan boating accident attorney will tell you that the statute of limitations for filing boat accident personal injuries is two years tops. If you miss that deadline, your case will be thrown out and you will have to pay for your damages and injuries out of pocket.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a serious boat accident and the boat driver is refusing to pay for damages, you need to get in touch with the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. We have over 20 years of experience recovering millions of dollars for clients and can help you get the compensation you deserve as well. Robert, aka Bob, has been recognized as the top lawyer in Illinois. He, along with his staff understand the physical and mental toll injuries can cause and can understand your case from your perspective.

Following the Rules of the Water to Avoid a Boating Accident

Many drivers are familiar with the “Rules of the Road.” These rules are in place to protect motorists and pedestrians and include the proper passing and signaling procedures, require drivers to drive on the right side of the road, and cover other safe driving procedures like safe following distances between cars and when to use a car’s headlights and highbeams.

Just like on land, there are rules in place on the water to protect boaters, swimmers, and people using personal watercraft. It is not uncommon for boaters and others on the water, especially those new to the water, to be ignorant of these rules. In general, the water is a much more open space and boaters are bound to less restrictive operating procedures than motorists. However, the trend in recent decades has been to require boaters to hold boating licenses and complete safety courses before taking to the water. The rules of the waterways that are in place to prevent boating accidents include the following:

Know Which Vessel has the Right of Way

Just like cars on the road, boats in certain positions have the right of way. Proceeding because you have the right of way is known as standing on course, while allowing another boat to pass is known as giving way. When crossing paths, the boat on the left has the right away. Sailboats using wind power only and commercial boats always have the right of way.
Know How to Communicate with Other Boats

Have an air horn on board in case you need to communicate with another boater. Familiarize yourself with the language of using these air horns so you know how to use them when signaling your desire to pass another boat or a warning about a hazard in the water.

Obey Posted Signage

There is a lot less signage on the water than there is on the road. You will not find a yield sign or a speed limit on the water, but that does not mean there are no posted signs. When in sheltered areas, you might see a sign calling for a slow speed or no wake. In open areas, you will see channel markers noting where you should drive your boat. One rule to keep in mind with these is “red is on your right when you return.” This means that when you are heading toward the land, the red channel markers should be on your right-hand side. If they are not, you are driving on the wrong side of the channel and putting yourself at risk of colliding with another boat.

The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C.

Work with a Barrington Boating Accident Attorney

Even if you obey the rules of the water, you could be involved in a boating accident and suffer an injury. If this happens to you, consider seeking compensation for your damages through a personal injury claim. Contact The Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. today to schedule your initial legal consultation with an experienced Illinois boating accident attorney.