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Top 10 tips to avoid personal injury in a boating accident on Wisconsin’s waterways


Wisconsin’s abundant water resources means a lot of people in the state (approximately 2.4 million) go boating. Unfortunately, every year personal injuries do occur from boating accidents on the beautiful Wisconsin waterways. You can avoid most of these accidents by following common sense precautions and by following Wisconsin’s boating regulations.


According the 2017 Wisconsin Boating Annual Program Report compiled by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, as of December 31, 2017, there were 624,882 registered motor-driven vessels, 335,000 non-motorized boats, plus an estimated 300,00 non-resident boats using Wisconsin waterways. The final report revealed the following statistics:

  • Reported Accidents - 106

  • Injuries - 79

  • Fatalities - 25

The top three factors that contributed to the boating accidents were operator inexperience, alcohol use and operator inattention. Alcohol use was involved in 40% of the fatal accidents, a 26% increase from 2016, with drowning the cause of death in 76% of the fatalities.


Top 10 tips to avoid a boating accident

Hare are the top 10 tips on how to avoid personal injury while enjoying your boating outing.

  1. Do not drink or take drugs and drive a boat.

  2. If you have an emergency radio, and you should, do not turn it down. Not being aware of water conditions or a boating accident in your path, can be deadly.

  3. Stay focused when steering your boat. According to the report, operator inattention was a primary cause of boating accidents.

  4. Do not speed. Speeding on the water is just as dangerous as it is on the road. It’s also against the law.

  5. Always drive a well-maintained boat. If a boating accident is due to the fact that you haven’t properly maintained your boat and someone is injured or killed, not only is it a tragedy, but you can be held liable for the accident and the results. Did you know that you can have a free vessel safety check by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary?

  6. Know the law about Wisconsin’s boating laws. The boat-ed.com website has an excellent online handbook of Wisconsin boating laws and responsibilities.

  7. Know your boat’s capacity and don't overload it. Overloading your boat creates the risk of capsizing or swamping. Make sure you know the weight capacity of your boat. The information is usually posted near the operator’s position.

  8. Make sure you know what to do if there is an emergency. The American Boating contains a "Know Before You Go" page with excellent information on boating safety and emergencies.

  9. Always be aware of the weather. Weather can change in an instant. Make sure you check the weather frequently for any changes in the forecast.

  10. Take a boating safety course. The best way to avoid a boating accident is to take a boating safety course. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary publishes a listing of public education courses by zip code of a number of different courses relating to boating.

There is no reason in the world why you shouldn’t have a wonderful and carefree time boating in Wisconsin this summer. Just follow the above safety tips to avoid a boating accident with possible personal injury and enjoy the water.


If you have any questions about this article, please contact us.


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