According to data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the state recorded 104 boat accidents for last year by August 2020, compared to just 82 incidents by the same time in 2019. Understanding the causes of these collisions, which cause an average of up to two dozen fatalities in the state every year, can help you and your family avoid this type of incident.
Review the common factors that contribute to recreational boat accidents resulting in injury or death.
Failure to use a life jacket
Most boat-related injuries and fatalities result from drowning. In 82% of these Wisconsin cases since 2005 and 88% in 2019, the person who drowned was not wearing a life jacket. Even outstanding swimmers can struggle to survive after a sudden fall into cold water. State law does not mandate life jackets, but children ages 12 and younger must wear personal flotation devices on public waters such as Lake Michigan.
Increased outdoor recreation during the pandemic likely led to the significant increase in Wisconsin boat accidents last summer. According to the DNR, retailers reported unprecedented demand for rental and purchase of all types of watercraft. Boaters can reduce their risk of involvement in an accident by planning outings for less busy locations and opting for weekdays rather than weekends.
Many boat incidents result from drinking alcohol or using drugs while operating or riding on a watercraft. Boating under the influence often plays a role in case involving speeding or jumping from a moving boat.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious accident injury because of negligence by another boater, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.