It is the dog days of summer here in Chicagoland. As a result of temps pushing 90 degrees these days, more and more people are heading towards the water for a good time. Sadly, what many folks fail to appreciate is that there are dangers on the water, especially when powerboats, ranging from PWCs to large vessels, are involved. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, in 2012 there were over 1,000 accidents that involved a collision with a recreational vessel — resulting in 47 deaths. In addition, of the 459 drowning deaths on the water last year, 379 involved people who were not wearing a life jacket. Finally, the top two “contributing factors” to accidents: operator inattention and operator inexperience. A copy of the Coast Guard Recreational Boating Statistics for 2012 can be found here. The common sense that you exercise on the road to prevent accidents and injuries does not cease to exist when you are on the water. In fact, due to the lack of painted lines on the “roads” of water, and the risk of drowning that is not present on the streets, one needs to be that much more cautious when at play on a navigable waterway. If someone asked you if you would let your 14 year old child take a 175 horsepower racing motorcycle out on the highway you would most likely say “of course not.” But, people do the same thing all the time when they put a high powered PWC in the hands of a teenager and send them out on the lake on their own. Hopefully, you would never think of having an open cooler of beer in your car and be tossing cans around as you drove around in the winter — yet people do it all the time in the summer when out on a boat. These are things that need to change. Just because powerboats, lakes, and good times all go hand in hand, that does not mean that a serious injury cannot follow. With the vast amount of waterways in the Chicagoland area, people need to protect themselves, and others, from personal injuries when out enjoying the great resources available in the area. The most basic steps to take to avoid being a personal injury victim: be aware and wear a life jacket. If you are injured in a boating accident, a personal injury attorney is your best resource to know what your rights are. Hopefully, you will never need to consult a personal injury attorney, because you will take the simple steps necessary to try and prevent a boating accident in the first place. But, if the unthinkable should happen, and you are injured, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney at once.