The top 4 things you need to know to stay safe when boating in IL

Review these safety tips before going out on the water in Illinois this summer.

Now that summer is upon us, many people in Chicago and throughout Illinois will spend their weekends on the water. In Illinois, we know that we need to make the most of the good weather while we have it.

As you prepare to go boating this summer, make sure you know how to stay safe. Last year, there were 77 boating accidents in Illinois that resulted in 20 fatalities. Follow these tips to protect yourself when on the water.

Don't operate a boat when under the influence

When the sun is on your face and your friends are all enjoying an alcoholic beverage, it can be easy to forget that a boat should be operated with as much care as a vehicle. In other words, you should never operate a boat when you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to Illinois law enforcement, 30 percent of all boating fatalities in 2014 involved alcohol. Just as you would find a designated driver when going out to a bar for some drinks, you should ensure you have a designated boat operator when out on the lake.

Wear a life jacket

Another way you can help protect yourself when on the water is to wear a life jacket when on board. In Illinois, there must be enough personal flotation devices on board for every person on the boat.

The law requires all children under 13 years of age to wear a life jacket whenever they are on a boat that is less than 26 feet long. In addition, everyone in Illinois must wear a PFD when on a Jet Ski or personal watercraft.

Follow these new boating regulations

You will also want to be sure to adhere to these new boating regulations in Illinois this summer. Whenever you are towing someone behind the boat - like a person on a wakeboard or water skis - you must have a bright orange flag flying from the highest spot on the boat's helm. Other boaters must be able to see the flag from any direction.

In addition, as of next year, all boating operators born after January 1, 1998 will be required to take a boating safety course.

Contact a personal injury attorney after a boating accident

When the worst happens and a boating accident takes place, those injured in the crash need to take action to protect themselves. The injuries suffered in boating accidents can vary dramatically, but may include broken bones or even brain damage, if the individual is deprived of oxygen for a significant period of time.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a boating accident in Illinois, you need a skilled legal professional on your side. The attorneys at Healy Scanlon Law Firm know what it takes to help you recover and will work diligently on your behalf.

Keywords: Illinois, boating, safety