Boat Accident Attorneys Warn of Boater Liabilities as Boating Season Gets Underway

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With boating season here, Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard warns of boater liability

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Operating a boat while under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car while under the influence. There can be devastating consequences.

Illinois is home to many beautiful lakes and streams, therefore countless boaters and swimmers take advantage of our close proximity to Lake Michigan, the Des Plaines River, Chicago River, Fox River, Illinois River, and Chain O’Lakes. But the attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. would like to remind boaters to exercise caution before setting sail this season.

Some boating accidents can’t be helped or are caused by adverse weather conditions. However, other boating accidents may be caused by the driver’s negligence or a defect in the boat or its equipment. The U.S. Coast Guard cites alcohol and drug use, excessive speed, inattention, and inexperience as some of the most common causes of boating accidents.

According to a 2015 report from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, last year 74 boating accidents occurred, resulting in 49 injuries and 14 fatalities. Eleven of those fatalities happened on a day with clear conditions and calm waters. In a majority of the fatal accidents, the drivers had no formal boat safety education. Six of the fatalities involved alcohol or drug impairment.

“Operating a boat while under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car while under the influence. There can be devastating consequences,” Salvi, Schostok, & Pritchard Partner Patrick A. Salvi II said.

Boating accident reports indicate the majority of accidents occur between June, July and August, on Saturday or Sunday, between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Most accidents involve operators between the ages of 20 and 40.

If human error, improper boat maintenance, or boat defects played a role in an accident that injured you or caused the death of a loved one, you may be able to seek legal relief. Possible scenarios include:

  •     Being the passenger on a boat driven by a friend or acquaintance who was drunk, failed to obey the rules or otherwise failed to act with the reasonable care that any boat driver should exhibit.
  •     Being on a boat involved in a collision caused by another vessel, such as a boat or jet ski.
  •     A defect in the design or build of the boat caused the accident.
  •     You trusted someone to perform maintenance on your boat, but that person failed to properly service or maintain it, or failed to identify broken or damaged parts.

The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. have been handling boating accident cases for more than 30 years. For more information visit or contact Marcie Mangan, Public Relations Manager, at 312-372-1227 or

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