Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Rising waters cause for concern for Illinois boaters

As exciting as more water may be for recreational boaters, Illinois residents should note that recent increases in water levels of state rivers and lakes also can lead to more accidents.

According to the U.S. Corps of Engineers, with flood-related water increases come floating debris such as large logs that can easily be unseen by boaters. In addition, breakwaters and rock jetties that are usually conspicuous in average water years can become invisible and damage the bottom of a boat. Heavy rains can also make boat ramps tricky to navigate.

The Corps emphasizes that anyone on the water must wear a personal flotation vest or device because a person falling into fast-moving waters can drown in just seconds. Officials with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Office of Law Enforcement agree, noting that state law requires a person to wear a personal flotation device anytime they are on watercraft.

IDNR statistics for 2012 showed 101 boating-related accidents in Illinois waters, including 17 fatalities. Statistics for 2011 were comparable. Besides drowning, boating accidents pose risks of head and spinal injuries, among others.

These statistics can serve as sobering reminders that those who engage in water activities should plan carefully. Boaters and marinas should follow proper protocols and have contingency measures in place in the event of trouble on the water.

Victims who sustain injuries caused by another party's negligence should seek the assistance of a personal injury lawyer in order to secure compensation for damages through a personal injury suit. If an incident results in death, then it may be possible to file a wrongful death suit.

Source: JG-TC.com "High waters cause more boating risks," Kayleigh Zyskowski, June 07, 2013

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