Illinois residents enjoy boating in the summer with an abundance of lakes and other excellent boating options. However, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources reported 65 boat accidents in Chicago in 2013. Of these crashes, there were 50 injuries and 14 fatalities. 12 of the 14 deaths did not have a life jacket.
If you were injured out on the water, speak to a Madison County boat accident lawyer. An experienced attorney could provide legal guidance and explain your options.
Top Causes of Boat Accidents
Running Out of Gas
On a small body of water or close to shore with excellent weather, the situation can be amusing and make a funny story later. However, if you run out of gas far from any help or when the weather is turning rough, the situation is dire.
When a boat runs out of fuel in the middle of a trip, the operator may have miscalculated the bearing and used up too much gas or traveled further than intended, or just forgot to refuel.
If you are lucky, running aground can be a hilarious accident. It is, however, rarely funny as most boats that run aground are as a result of drunk driving or being careless. You not only risk damaging the boat, but you also risk the lives of the passengers on board.
There are stories of cruise ships crashing into beaches because the captain miscalculated the trajectory because he was showing off. Such an accident poses a lot of risk to any passengers on board and the ship.
It is common knowledge that many people host parties on boats, and alcohol is usually present during such events. Even without being affected by alcohol, falling overboard is very easy.
One risk you face when falling overboard is knocking yourself out as you fall. You are unlikely to float up in that situation, and drowning is a real possibility.
Boats cannot simply reverse or stop as a car can. They must turn around and come back for you. Doing this increases the risk of hitting you.
If you are alone on the boat, you might watch as it roars away from you unless you have an emergency cut-off switch lanyard to kill its motor.
Cultural trends likely have you thinking of the Titanic when you hear of boats sinking. Luckily, it is unlikely to be that dramatic. Just because a boat sinking is not as dramatic does not mean it is a life-threatening situation.
Most boats sink because they have a hole through the hull. The Hole is often one made for a through-hull fitting. These fittings sometimes crack and start leaking water.
According to the U.S. coast guard, most boating accidents happen because of mechanical failure and electrical troubles.
Thankfully, boat fires are becoming rarer thanks to well-insulated electrical circuits and proper spark protection. Fires still happen if you discover fuel leaks or spills late or an electrical failure starts releasing sparks.
Speeding at Night
Just like roads, visibility over water is usually low when it is dark. Unlike roads, there is no clearly defined path on the water to follow.
Lack of Proper Safety Gear
In case of any emergency, a lack of safety gear will endanger both personnel and passengers.
Boats are popular party venues with a lot of alcohol flowing. Drinking alcohol leaves your reflexes slow and clouds your judgment. To help curb this practice, Illinois passed a law in 2014 after an accident caused the death of a young boy who was out tubing at the time. The law requires boat operators to take drug and alcohol tests if they are involved in an accident. If they fail to comply with the testing, have a BAC over .08, or test positive for drugs, they can get their license suspended.
Consult a Madison County Boat Accident Attorney About Legal Courses of Action
As the causes of boat accidents above show, most accidents are because of human error and negligence.
If you are a victim of a boating accident and received an injury because of it, you can contact an injury lawyer and sue for compensation. Call a Madison County boat accident lawyer today.