Personal Injury Advocates Serving Northwest Indiana
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Driving a Boat is Like Driving a Car – Be Safe / Be Responsible

In all directions from Lake Michigan, there are literally thousands of other lakes, rivers, and streams.   Yes, it’s time for some hot fun in the summertime including recreational boating, water skiing, jet skis, fishing, and swimming.  Unfortunately, it can also bring tragedy, including serious injury or even death.

Let’s work hard this year to minimize those accidents on the waters.  As is the case with vehicle accidents on the roads, with a little planning and responsible thinking, it’s possible.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics tell us that the main cause of most fatal boating accidents are poor operator judgement and lack of awareness.  That can mean a lot of things, of course.

There are strict laws in Illinois, Indiana, and most other states that are designed specifically to promote safe boating.   There are also federal laws that apply.   Know that in both Indiana and Illinois, it is required that operators of a watercraft successfully pass a boating safety course.

Here is a link to courses that are now available here in Indiana.

https://www.register-ed.com/programs/indiana/104-indiana-boater-education/agency:25

Just as helmets reduce the incidents of injury and death while operating a motorcycle, it’s just basic that all boats be equipped with enough life jackets for each occupant of the watercraft. In fact, it’s a law most everywhere.  There are endless stories about how life jackets have saved the lives of countless people, especially young children who were unable to swim.

It’s illegal to operate boats while under the influence of drugs or alcohol – just as it is for the operation of a motor vehicle on our roads and highways.   In fact, authorities like the DNR, Coast Guard and local police agencies have placed new emphasis on going after intoxicated boaters in recent years.  You’ll see their presence increase as the summer goes on.

By the way, the legal alcohol blood limit to operate a boat is .08% in both Indiana and Illinois, which is the same limit as motor vehicles.  In both states, the penalties could be large fines,jail time, loss of driving and boating privileges, plus a possible felony conviction.

Finally, it should come as no surprise that these days the dangers of texting and driving are not limited to operators of cars, trucks, and motorcycles.   There is a growing problem with boaters who use their cell phones as a primary means of communication while on the water.    Unless it’s an emergency, adopt the same motto as you would for driving a car:  It can wait.

An excellent source for more information on safe boating can be found at the Boat U.S. Foundation web site https://www.boatus.org/.

You’ll note that we are drawing a lot of comparisons between operating a motor vehicle on land and operating a boat on water.  In both cases, very serious accidents can be caused by the operator’s irresponsibility. Likewise, there are serious accidents that are caused by an inferior product or a defect in the watercraft or related accessory.   If you or a family member have been injured in a boating accident or a motor vehicle accident, call the lawyers at Theodoros & Rooth immediately.  Don’t wait.  Tell us your story while the facts are still fresh in your mind.  We’ll investigate your case and if we believe you have been hurt due to the fault of others, we will fight for justice and the compensation