As of early August, Wisconsin’s 2011 boating season reached a sad milestone: the number of boating deaths for the summer of 2011 had already equaled the total number of boating deaths in 2010. And, with approximately a month left of summer, Wisconsin’s boating season may be in its waning moments, but there is plenty of beautiful weather left for boating, and the potential for more accidents.
Numbers released by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources state that, as of early August, 18 people lost their lives in boating accidents on Wisconsin’s rivers and lakes. WAOW, a Wausau television station, reports that alcohol was a contributing factor in approximately one-third of the fatalities.
Boating Safety Tips
To remain safe during Wisconsin’s remaining boating season and for boating seasons to come, it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of all on the water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers the following safe boating tips:
- Wear a life jacket
- Do not drink and boat
- Take a boating course
Have boats safety inspected – the Vessel Safety Check (VSC) service is offered by the United States Coast Guard Auxilliary free of charge
Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning – the deadly gas can be an issue for all boaters, but especially house-boaters
Echoing the CDC’s safety tips, Lt. Randy Albert of the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department was quoted by WAOW saying fatalities can be reduced by “[a]voiding alcohol consumption, reducing your speed, and wearing your PFD [personal flotation device].”
Boating Accident Statistics
The CDC estimates that over 70 million Americans boat recreationally annually. According to CDC numbers, in 2009, 736 people died in boating accidents, and another 3,358 were injured on the waters of the United States. Of those killed, approximately 90 percent were not wearing life jackets. Further, 73 percent of the fatalities resulted from drowning, and over 90 percent of the people who drowned were not wearing life jackets.
Even with the increased number of boating fatalities in Wisconsin this summer, for the number of people who participate, boating remains a fairly safe recreational activity, especially if safety precautions are followed. However, boating accidents may still occur. If they do, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney in your area about filing a personal-injury lawsuit to recover compensation for the injuries suffered, or filing a wrongful-death lawsuit if a loved one was tragically killed on the water.