Summer in Wisconsin is a popular time for boating on Lake Michigan, the many lakes in Waukesha County, and other bodies of water in the area, especially during a year when many people are turning to outdoor activities. Just remember that when you go out on the water, there are things that you, your family, and your friends can do to stay safe and avoid being injured in a boating accident or causing one yourself.
How to Stay Safe While Boating in Wisconsin
Boating safely is not difficult as long as you follow a few basic guidelines. Some of the best ways to promote and ensure safety while on the water include:
- Wear a life jacket. Most fatalities in boating accidents are due to drowning, and even if you are an experienced swimmer, you could find yourself incapacitated to the point where you are unable to stay afloat on your own. Make sure you always wear a life jacket while boating and that you have enough life preservers on board for all passengers.
- Keep your boat well maintained. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, equipment or machinery failure is one of the top five contributing factors in boating incidents. Inspecting, maintaining, and repairing your boat regularly can ensure that it stays safe to operate.
- Avoid operating a boat after consuming alcohol. In 2018, alcohol was a contributing factor in around 15 percent of boating incidents. Operating a boat while intoxicated poses a clear danger to you, your passengers, and other people on the water, and intoxicated passengers and swimmers may also be at risk of drowning.
- Make sure boat operators are experienced. Operator inexperience is another of the top five factors in Wisconsin boating accidents. Make sure anyone operating a boat is safety certified and knows how to control it properly so you can avoid accidents due to driver error or poor decision-making.
- Do not overload your boat. Carrying too much weight or too many passengers can put you at greater risk of an accident, and this is a significant contributing factor in fatal boating incidents in Wisconsin.
What Should You Do After a Boating Accident?
In Wisconsin, you must report any boating incident that results in injury, death, or significant property damage to law enforcement as soon as possible. You should also do what you can to make sure everyone is safe and seek prompt medical attention for any injuries. As with any accident resulting in injury, it is important to gather evidence as soon as possible, including 911 transcripts, police reports, witness testimonies, and photographs of the accident and any injuries. A personal injury attorney can help you collect and preserve this evidence to build a case against any at-fault parties that gives you the best chance of receiving compensation for your damages.
Contact a Milwaukee, WI Boating Injury Attorney
At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, we want to promote safe enjoyment of Wisconsin’s waterways, and we believe you deserve compensation and relief after a boating accident that happened due to no fault of your own. Contact a Milwaukee personal injury lawyer today at 414-271-1440 so we can help you determine the best way to move forward.