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When boaters are out enjoying a day of fishing, waterskiing, or relaxing, it is easy to forget the potential hazards of careless boating. Illinois residents who enjoy recreational boating have easy access to many lakes, rivers, and waterways, making it a popular pastime. Unfortunately, busy channels often lead to accidents with devastating consequences.

Everyone taking advantage of the waterways must remain cautious and vigilant to ensure they follow the safety laws. When they fail to do so, a court will hold them financially accountable via a personal injury lawsuit. Schedule a consultation with an Orland Park boat accident lawyer if you need help with a claim.

The Most Common Causes of Recreational Boat Accidents

Recreational boating provides an excellent opportunity to spend a fun day in the sun with friends and family. However, a fantastic day can turn tragic within the blink of an eye when accidents occur – potentially even leading to wrongful death. The best way to avoid a boating crash is to understand the most common reasons they occur, and those include:

Distracted Boat Operation

As with distracted driving, an inattentive boater is a hazard on the water. A significant portion of boat crash damage occurs because of mistakes that operators make due to distractions. The vessel captain is legally responsible for remaining alert and cautious at all times.

Boating Under the Influence

Boaters must adhere to the same alcohol and drug consumption laws as drivers. An officer will stop operators if they suspect the boater to be under the influence. If the captain has a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, they will be arrested for boating under the influence.

Inexperienced Vessel Operators

State safety laws and regulations do not require watercraft operators to go through the same stringent procedures for boating as they do for driving. However, they still have a legal duty to understand the state boating laws and operate the vessel lawfully and safely. A boat accident lawyer in Orland Park could answer legislation and safety protocol questions for an injured party who believes the at-fault operator was inexperienced.

Reckless and Careless Boat Operation

As with vehicles, there are safety laws and regulations to follow. If boaters operate the vessel without regard for the safety of others, an officer will issue citations.

According to the 625 Illinois Compiled Statutes § 45/5-1, watercraft owners must use caution at all times and avoid any actions that cause danger to other people or property. They must stop the vessel at safe speeds and follow the boating manual.

Further, under the 625 Illinois Compiled Statutes § 45/5-2, boaters towing people on water skis or something similar must refrain from the following actions at all times:

  • Weaving through other boats and waterway traffic
  • Intentionally creating hazardous wake conditions
  • Waiting until the last minute to swerve out of the path of an object or “playing chicken”
  • Jumping on the wakes of nearby watercraft

Vessel and watercraft handlers who willfully committed any of the above maneuvers on state waterways are guilty of reckless boat operation. An Orland Park recreational boat accident attorney could complete an evidence analysis to determine if the operator could be held liable.

Schedule a Consultation with an Orland Park Boat Accident Attorney

A boat or other watercraft crash can negatively affect everyone involved, including financially. Therefore, boaters and passengers must ensure they follow the safety rules and regulations when using the waterways.

Call a knowledgeable Orland Park boat accident lawyer if a person’s negligence caused you to sustain damages. You have the right to hold the individuals financially accountable.