The summer months are a time to enjoy the outdoors, and the state of Wisconsin provides some great opportunities for spending time in and around the water. The state’s many lakes and rivers offer people the chance to enjoy a wide variety of boating activities. While spending time on boats and participating in activities such as water skiing can be fun and relaxing, people who do so are also at risk of injury in boat-related accidents. When accidents and injuries occur because of the negligence or recklessness of a boat operator, victims will need to work with a personal injury attorney to determine how they can receive financial compensation.
Negligent or Reckless Operation of Watercraft
Wisconsin law requires a boat’s operator to either complete a boating safety course or be accompanied by a person who has a valid boating safety certificate. The law also specifies that there are several actions that boat operators may take that are considered to be negligent or reckless, including:
- Operating a boat in a prohibited area, such as areas that are marked for swimming
- Operating a boat in a way that creates a dangerous wake or waves when approaching or passing another watercraft
- Weaving around other watercraft in a congested area of a lake or river
- Jumping the wake of another watercraft that is towing someone on water skis, inner tubes, or similar devices
- Steering directly toward a person in the water, a watercraft, or an object before swerving to avoid a collision at the last moment
- Overloading a boat by carrying more than the maximum number of people or otherwise exceeding the vessel’s weight limit
- Overpowering a boat by equipping it with a motor that exceeds its safe capacity
- Exceeding posted speed limits or operating a boat close to other vessels at a speed that is unsafe or unreasonable
- Operating a boat above “slow, no-wake speed” within 100 feet of a swimmer, a lake’s shoreline, or a dock or pier
- Operating a boat that is in an unsafe condition, including boats leaking fuel or without functioning safety systems or equipment
- Operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher or while under the influence of an intoxicating drug or controlled substance
- Operating a boat in a way that interferes with the safe navigation of other watercraft
- Failing to yield the right of way to a boat approaching from the right
The unsafe operation of a boat can lead to multiple types of accidents that can lead to serious injuries. A collision with another watercraft, including a smaller vessel such as a jet ski, can cause a person to suffer injuries due to the impact. A boat accident victim may suffer additional injuries if a boat capsizes or catches on fire. A boat that strikes someone in the water may inflict severe injuries, especially if the person comes in contact with a moving propeller. Following a boat accident, a victim will need to work with an attorney to gather evidence demonstrating that they were injured due to a boat operator’s negligence. This evidence may include police reports, 911 call recordings, and testimony from eyewitnesses.
Contact Our Green Bay Boat Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured in a boat accident, Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd. can help you take legal action against a negligent boat operator, and we will advocate on your behalf to ensure that you will be fully compensated. Contact our Appleton boating injury lawyers at to set up a complimentary consultation.