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Staying Safe on Illinois’ Waterways

Staying Safe on Illinois’ Waterways

Boating Season Is Here

When the temperature rises, many of us head to lakes and rivers to enjoy one of the summer’s simplest pleasures: boating. Boating safety is vital to ensure enjoyable recreation on Illinois’ waterways during summer. But, due to negligent operating, hazardous waters, alcohol impairment, swimmer ability, and other factors, a typically safe and harmless summer activity can quickly turn fatal. In fact, there were 77 boating accidents in Illinois in 2014, resulting in 54 injuries and, sadly, 20 fatalities.


Whether you are operating a boat, are a boat passenger, or swimming in waters near boats, you could be at risk for boating accidents. When inexperienced swimmers fall overboard or are hit by watercraft while swimming, the potential for drowning is significant. Recreational boaters can be relatively inexperienced and may not exercise the same level of care they would when behind the wheels of a car. For these reasons, it’s important to take safety precautions, such as:


  • Always wear a life jacket (drowning is the leading cause of death in boating accidents)



  • Take a boating course to learn how to properly operate a boat (most accidents involved operators who had little or no formal boating education), and


  • Use common sense when operating a boat or swimming near boats


Following these safety tips can greatly reduce your chance of getting in a boating accident. But if you were injured in a boating accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim. If someone else was liable for your injuries, you could stand to recover losses such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.


If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, speak with an Illinois personal injury attorney in your area. It’s important to discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you can file a claim within a specified time frame and that all evidence is preserved. An attorney can review the facts and circumstances of your accident, help you identify the responsible parties, and potentially file a claim against them, so you can get the compensation you deserve.


Boating can be fun for everyone if safety is a top priority, so when out on Illinois’ lakes and rivers this summer, remember the above safety tips, and enjoy the water!


If you’ve recently been injured and are seeking compensation, Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Ronald F. Wittmeyer can help. With more than 30 years experience practicing plaintiffs’ personal injury law, we can fight aggressively on your behalf. Serving the Northwest suburbs including Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, and surrounding areas, the Law Offices of R.F. Wittmeyer, Ltd. helps level the playing field against major insurance companies and corporations. If you’ve been injured or involved in an accident, call our office at (847) 357-0403 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our highly qualified Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys. The sooner we can learn about your case and your needs, the more effective we can be at recovering fair and adequate compensation for your losses.

Memorial Day Water Safety

Water SafetyEvery year around Memorial Day, people everywhere are looking for fun on the lake, river and pools. But many forget the rules of water safety. As Chicago temperatures rise (very slowly) the eagerness to engage in water activities is at an all time high. Whether you enjoy water sports, fishing, swimming, tubing, floating, boating, or just going to the beach there are risks involved. The risks associated with open water are just as substantial, if not greater, than the risks on land. However, the water tends to lead to people disregarding the risks involved and become more daring. In reality, the water is not the place to be displaying your dangerous behavior. Rather, everyone should be demonstrating the utmost water safety to prevent injury, death, or accidents.

Death on Wooster Lake

At the end of April, a 35-year old man drowned to death in Wooster Lake in Ingleside while fishing. This tragic event exemplifies how simple it is to lose control of a situation while on the water. This man was fishing with his two sons (ten and eleven years old) and an adult friend. There was alcohol involved and the men did not have on safety jackets. The three who survived were found gripping on to the flipped over canoe when a bystander spotted them. The bystander jumped in and saved the three who survived, but the 35-year old father did not make it. This tragedy is a reminder to always use common sense, wear your safety jacket, and drink in moderation while on the water. All four of them could have died that day if the bystander hadn’t heard and seen them in distress.

Illinois Water

The simple act of wearing a life jacket can stand between life and death. You never know what is going to happen while on large bodies of water and being cautious is crucial. Some of the main causes in drowning include overestimating one’s fitness or ability to swim, too much alcohol, and not wearing a life jacket. Currently the water in lakes and rivers is still very cold. The men who were fishing in Wooster Lake were fishing in 49-degree water . This likely had a large effect on the death of the 35-year old man. Underestimating temperatures, wind and storms can be catastrophic. It’s very easy to lose control once you hit frigid temperatures in the water. Although dangerous at time, spending your summer by the pool or at the lake this year shouldn’t be suspended. It’s just important to be mindful of the dangers and take the necessary precautions in order to maintain water safety.

About the Firm

Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. practices plaintiffs' personal injury law at his office in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

About Ron


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