Chicago Boating Safety Tips

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Contact a Chicago accident attorney today for more info about boating safety.

World Water Day is approaching. March 22nd is a day that aims to acknowledge the importance of water, conservation, and ensuring access to clean water sources for the future.  Water has both figuratively and literally shaped the state of Illinois; the Chicago area is popular for its lakes and waterways. While conservation will be at the forefront on the 22nd, the proximity of Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and the Illinois River has made Chicago a popular destination for boating and other marine recreational activities.

With the popularity of such activities continuing to rise year after year, it’s probable that there will be accidents. There are various types of boating accidents that can occur. The unpredictable nature of water combined with human error means that things could turn deadly quickly. A Chicago accident attorney will be your best resource in the aftermath of one of these extremely dangerous accidents.

As the weather begins to get warmer, it’s to be expected that more people will spend more time participating in outdoor activities. Water-sports are immensely popular but hold unique risks not apparent at first glance. Lerner and Rowe and his team of Chicago accident attorneys want to help you stay safe with some tips on how to minimize the risks as you enjoy time out on one of the lakes or rivers.

Life Jackets

Before your vessel sets out, make sure that there is an adequate number of life jackets available for all passengers. Insisting that all passengers wear a life jacket while aboard the boat will do much to help lower the risk of drowning should someone fall off the boat or an accident occurs.  According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the law requires that properly-fitting PFDs – life jackets or life vests – for each person aboard a watercraft. State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property. Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft or Jet Ski.


Be sure that you check the status of the weather before embarking on any marine journey. Weather patterns can be unpredictable. Having a general idea of what is to come will help you make a decision on whether it would be better to put the excursion off for another day. If you’re already on the water and the weather looks like it’s taking a turn for the worse, your Chicago accident attorney suggests you immediately head for the shore and find safety.


Under Illinois law, the B.A.C. limit for operating a boat is the same as for driving an automobile – 0.08%. Always ensure that the operator of the vessel is not intoxicated. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol is the leading contributing cause of boating accident deaths. Alcohol causes a drop in reaction time and perception. It’s also harder to pay attention to your surroundings and possible hazards while intoxicated. Lack of attention can cause you to miss something, or someone, in the water in the path of your vessel.


Maintain a proper speed when operating a boat; speeding is one of the top causes of boating accidents after alcohol. Just like a car, boating at excessive speeds also shrinks the time to react to unexpected obstacles in the boat’s path. Excess speed also brings down the maneuvering capabilities of the vessel. Which rapidly increases the chance of accidents that result in serious injury.


Before heading out onto the water, ensure that all mechanical parts of the vessel are in good working order. The middle of Lake Michigan is not an ideal place to find out that your boat is in desperate need of maintenance. A malfunction becomes more dangerous the further you are way from the shore. You and your passengers could be in serious danger if a fire breaks out or the vessel ceases functioning.

Do you need a Chicago accident attorney?

A Chicago accident attorney from Lerner and Rowe has the experience and knowledge to assist you every step of the way after you or your loved ones have been involved in a boat accident. Your Chicago accident attorney will explore the cause of the accident and identify the responsible party to help you seek compensation for your damages.

In a wreck? Need a check?™ We bring experience, skill and passion to your case. We also provide free consultations and no fee, unless we win your case! Contact us through our LiveChat online or visit our office from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We are also available 24/7 to take your call at 708-222-2222.

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.