Staying Safe on the Water in Illinois: Tips for Boat SafetyBoats and ships are one of the oldest modes of transportation ever used. Spending some time out on the Chicago River or paddling around in Lake Michigan can be a real treat in the nice weather, but you need to be smart about it: boating accidents happen, and they can have some pretty serious effects when they do. We wanted to offer you some boat safety tips, so you can enjoy the water with your friends and family.

In order to help prevent boating accidents, you should:

  • Be sensible. Be sure to tell someone else where and when you are going (just in case of an emergency), and wear a lifejacket at all times. A lot of commercial trips will require this, but if you’re out on your own, you’ll want to keep one on, too.
  • Know the weather forecast beforehand. Check the weather report before you go, and Return to shore if the weather looks bad.
  • Make sure you have the right equipment. Besides life jackets, you should have a horn (in case you get stuck), flashlights with batteries, flares that can be seen day or night, fresh water and sunscreen. Any boat you charter will likely come equipped with most of this – and a first aid kit – but if you’re in a smaller vessel, you should make sure to have your own supplies.
  • Have a float plan. This may consist of every crewmembers’ and passenger’s name and contact information, your vessel’s type and registration, your voyage schedule, and the kind of communications technology onboard.
  • Stay sober. Sure, a cold beer while fishing sounds like a great day to many people, but you can easily become dehydrated and disoriented. Besides – boating while intoxicated is illegal in Chicago, and you can get a ticket.

Before you go out, you might want to take the United States Coast Guard on its free offer to examine your boat and boating equipment, as it will ensure that your boat complies with federal and state laws

Why should you care about boating safety?

Boating is fun, but safety should be your first priority; all life is precious, after all. Any damage, repairs, and injuries may not be covered by your insurance if you are deemed negligent for an accident, so you want to make sure you’re in good shape before you go. In addition, if you use your vessel for business purposes, you could face lawsuits from injured customers or employees. And, if you fail to follow regulations, you could face criminal charges and penalties, such as fines and incarceration.

We want you to have the best time you can out on the boat this season; just be careful when you’re out in open water. If you do sustain an injury, the Chicago boat accident lawyers of Gainsberg Law, P.C. can help. Please call 312-600-9585 or fill out this contact form for more information.