Now that summer is on its way, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police want to remind Illinois boaters to stay safe on lakes, rivers, and other waterways by wearing life-jackets and staying sober, especially during National Safe Boating Week this week. Illinois will be observing and focusing on the national water and boat safety campaign, entitled “Wear It,” which encourages boat operators and passengers to wear a life jacket.
According to statistics compiled by the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement, there were 102 Illinois boating accidents in 2010, which resulted in 16 fatalities and 73 injuries. There were also 102 boating accidents in Illinois in 2009; however, those accidents resulted in 25 fatalities and 71 injuries. These injuries and fatalities may have been prevented if more boaters wore life jackets and stayed sober.
The Illinois Conservation Police make it a point to perform regular boat safety inspections and patrols, knowing the importance of having life jackets and other safety gear aboard a boat or other watercraft. The IDNR Law Enforcement Chief noted that, every year, they rescue boaters who were involved in accidents and who only survived because they were wearing a life jacket.
According to Illinois law, each person aboard a boat or other watercraft must have a life jacket or vest available to them. For those who are 13-years-old or younger, wearing a life jacket while aboard is required aboard any watercraft that is under 26-feet long and especially when it is in motion. In addition to enforcing life jacket laws, the Illinois Conservation Police officers (CPO) also strictly enforce operating under the influence (OUI) laws. Boating while impaired is just as dangerous as driving while impaired. Dozens of Illinois OUI arrests are made each boating season. The IDNR provides free boating safety classes that cover Illinois boating laws and regulations as well as safe boating practices.
Boating accidents are predominantly caused by inexperience, inattention, alcohol use, carelessness, or recklessness. If you or a loved one has been injured in an Illinois boating accident caused by the negligence of another, the experienced Chicago boat accident lawyers can help you understand your legal rights and options. To speak to one of our knowledgeable attorneys about your case, please contact us at 312-252-1488 for a free consultation.