Some of our fondest memories are of teaching our children how to sail, canoe or operate a motorboat. We hope they will take the safety lessons we have taught them and apply them whenever they go out on their own. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
Numerous safety publications warn of the “100 deadliest days of summer” in reference to teen-driver car accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Less attention is given to teenagers and boating safety during the summer.
However, boating accident numbers spike in the summer as well. These accidents can involve teen boaters on Lake Michigan or other waters around Chicago such as the Chain O’ Lakes.
In order to ensure our teens stay safe and avoid accidents, we need to constantly reinforce those safety lessons we have taught them – especially with summer boating season here.
According to the most recent Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Boating Report, showing 2014 statistics, the state’s boating accident numbers clearly rise during the summer months.
DNR reports that, for all of 2014, there were:
Out of that number, the following occurred in the summer months of June, July and August:
The counties with the highest accident numbers were Cook and Lake counties:
As you can see, serious and potentially fatal boating accidents can and do happen during the summer months in the Chicago area. This is why it is a good time to do a safety check with your teen.
As you can see in the video below, law enforcement officers who patrol the waters around Chicago and throughout Illinois look for certain teen boating safety violations:
These are the boating mistakes and dangers you need to speak with your teen about avoiding this summer. You should tell your teen to never:
By discussing these points, you can keep your teen from harming himself or herself and from harming others. It is important to realize that a person’s negligent operation of a boat can lead to liability for a victim’s medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering and other damages.
The summer boating season may also be a good time to have your teen review Illinois boating laws and regulations and / or taking a boating safety course.
In fact, in Illinois, the law requires any operator of a motorized boat or personal watercraft (PWC) who is under age 18 to complete a boating safety course. The teen also has to carry this card with him or her when operating a boat or PWC.
If you have not taken your boat out yet this summer, you may also want to review this spring commissioning checklist from the BoatU.S., a national recreational boating association. Going through the checklist can help to ensure your boat is ready for the water.
The following is our own Safety Checklist to help your teen (and you) to stay safe this summer. It is based on advice from the U.S. Coast Guard. Tell your teen to ask the following questions before, during and after his or her time on the water:
Unfortunately, even the safest boater can be the victim of another person’s careless or reckless conduct on the water. If you or your teen is hurt by another boater this summer in the Chicago area or elsewhere in Illinois, you can protect your legal rights by contacting Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.
We have extensive experience with these unique types of accidents. We can review your case and advise you of your options in a free consultation. Simply call or reach us online today.