During the summer months, recreational boating is a favorite pastime for many Chicago residents. Whether it’s sailing on Lake Michigan in the Playpen, the area between the break walls at the Oak Street and Ohio Street beaches, cruising on the Chicago River, or tubing on a nearby lake, there are many ways to enjoy the water. Unfortunately, boating accidents do happen, and when they do, it’s important to have an experienced Chicago boat accident lawyer on your side.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a boating accident, The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers is here to help. Our Chicago boating accident lawyers have helped thousands of injured clients recover millions of dollars in compensation and we can help you too.
In this Article
Do I Need a Boating License to Operate a Watercraft in Illinois?
According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, in Illinois, any person born on or after January 1, 1998, operating a personal watercraft powered by a motor of more than 10 HP, is required by Illinois law to pass a boater safety course and to carry a boater education card.
Does This Illinois Law Apply to Jet Skis?
Since a stock jet ski has a 60-310 HP engine depending on the make and the model, it fits the definition of a watercraft powered by a motor of more than 10 HP. Therefore, this type of boat operator is required to earn and carry a boater education card.
How Do I Get an Illinois Boater Education Card?
To meet the boater safety requirements in Illinois, boat operators must take a course approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Completion of the course enables you to obtain an Illinois Boater Education Card.
Get Your Card in Three Steps:
Take the online boating safety course from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources approved provider, Boat-ed.com
Pass the knowledge test
Print your temporary boater education card and boat legally!
How Much Does the Illinois Boating Safety Course Cost?
The recreational boating course is an Illinois-Approved online course designed to provide boater safety education for individuals who are at least 11 years old. Successful completion enables boaters to obtain their Illinois Boater Education Card.
The cost of the course is $39.95
What Boat Safety Equipment is Required in Illinois?
Illinois law requires all boats on Illinois waters to have certain safety equipment. This includes:
At least one fire extinguisher,
Life jackets, one for each person on board,
One type IV personal floatation device (PFD), and
Sound producing devices such as a whistle or horn.
Motorboats must also be equipped with navigation lights.
If you are involved in a boat accident, the first thing you should do is get to safety. If you are injured, get medical help right away. Once you are safe and have received any necessary medical attention, you can take the following steps:
Gather information about the other watercraft and its occupants. This includes the name of the boat, the name of the boat owner/operator, and contact information.
Take photos of the damage to both boats.
Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.
Report the boating accident to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) if there is a loss of life, an injured person who requires more than first aid, or property damage greater than $2,000.
Do not give a recorded statement to any insurance company until you have spoken with a lawyer.
Contact a Chicago boat accident lawyer to discuss your legal options and whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries.
Instructions for Reporting a Boating Accident in Illinois
The Illinois DNR requires the following report to be submitted for any boating accidents involving serious injuries, wrongful death, or $2,000+ of damage.
Most Illinois boating accidents occur on the following bodies of water:
Statistics for Boat Accidents
According to the U.S. Coast Guard recreational boating accidents statistics report, in 2022 there were 636 boating fatalities nationwide. This fatality rate was 5.4 deaths per 100,000 registered vessels. 16% of these deaths in boat accidents could be attributed to alcohol use while boating. 75% of these fatal boating accident victims drowned and 85% were not wearing a life jacket.
Who Can be Held Responsible for an Accident on Illinois Waterways?
There are a number of parties who could potentially be held responsible for boating accidents on Illinois waterways. These include:
The owner or operator of the boat – If the owner, boat driver or operator of the boat was negligent in their operation of the vessel, they can be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur as a result. This includes things like making mistakes as an inexperienced operator, operating the boat while intoxicated, speeding, or not paying attention to their surroundings.
The person who rented or leased the boat – If you were involved in an accident with a boat that was rented or leased, the company that rented or leased the vessel could be held liable. This is because they are responsible for making sure that the boat is safe and that the person who is renting or leasing it is properly trained in its operation.
The manufacturer of the boat – In some personal injury cases, an accident may be caused by a defect in the boat itself. If this is the case, the manufacturer of the vessel can be held liable.
What are the Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to many boating accidents. Some of the most common injuries suffered in include:
Intoxication – Alcohol use is the leading known contributing factor in boating deaths, according to the U.S. Coast Guard recreational boating accident statistics report.
Speeding – Operating a vessel in a reckless manner at an unsafe speed makes it difficult to control and increases the risk of an accident.
Careless operation – This includes things like not paying attention to one’s surroundings, not having a proper lookout, or failing to yield the right-of-way.
Equipment failure – This can include things like engine failure, a broken propeller, or missing life jackets.
Lack of adequate safety equipment – The boat operator failed to have proper equipment on board to meet Illinois safety laws
Get Help from Chicago Boat Accident Lawyers
When you call The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers to discuss your boating injuries, you will get:
A free consultation with an experienced Chicago boat accident lawyer
An honest assessment of your case
Advice on your legal options
No risk or obligation to hire us – we only get paid if we win your case!
Call us today to discuss your accident with our Chicago boat accident attorneys who can determine if a personal injury lawsuit is appropriate in your case.
How We Will Maximize the Value of Your Case
When you hire us, our Chicago boat accident lawyers will:
Conduct a thorough investigation of how your accident occurred to identify all possible sources of compensation
Gather evidence to support your claim, including witness statements, photos, and video footage
Calculate the full extent of your damages, including all past, present, and future medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more
Aggressively negotiate with the insurance company to try to reach a fair settlement
If necessary, take your case to trial to get you the financial recovery you deserve
Call us today for a free consultation. We will review your case and advise you of your legal options.
Boating Accident FAQs
Can I sue if I was injured in a boat accident?
You may be able to recover compensation for economic damages or non-economic damages if you suffered a personal injury in a boat accident due to someone else’s negligence. The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers can help determine if you have a valid boat crash case.
How long will a boat accident lawsuit take?
The length of a boat accident lawsuit will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your injuries and whether or not the responsible party is willing to settle out of court. The details of boating accidents vary from case to case, so the time it takes to complete the case will also vary.
If you have been involved in a boat accident, call a Chicago boat accident attorney at The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers. A boating accident lawyer will review your case and advise you of your legal options and give you a clear timeline of how long they think your case may take before you get financial compensation for your injuries.
What are the most common boating accident injuries?
Head injuries – These can range from concussions to more severe injuries such as traumatic brain injuries and can have long-term effects.
Neck and back injuries – Whiplash is a common type of severe injury that can occur in a boat accident. Back injuries can range from herniated discs to spinal cord injuries.
Broken bones – Boat accidents often result in broken bones, particularly in the arms and legs.
Internal organ damage – A boat accident can cause damage to the liver, kidneys, or other internal organs.
Drowning – Drowning is one of the most common causes of boating fatalities.
If you have been involved in a watercraft accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Once you have been treated for your injuries, call The Kryder Law Group, LLC Accident and Injury Lawyers. Our Chicago boating accident attorneys and personal injury attorneys will review your case and advise you of your legal options.
Do I need a lawyer for a boating accident?
You may need a lawyer if you have been injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence. A boat accident case can be complex, and it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Insurance companies will often try to minimize the amount of money they have to pay out in a boat accident injuries claim, and an experienced lawyer can help you get the full compensation you deserve.