Drowning Deaths of 2 Chicago Men Reminds Us to Always Wear Life Preservers

Our Chicago boating accident attorneys know that, while water sports are a great way to enjoy the summer weather, they can pose a significant risk of serious injury if the proper precautions aren’t taken to ensure that they are undertaken in the safest way possible.

Devastatingly, that’s exactly what happened this past week. The Chicago Tribune reports that two men from the Chicago area died in a tubing accident, while on vacation. The men, ages 53 and 39, respectively, were on a single inner tube being pulled by a pontoon boat when one man fell off the inflatable tube and the other went into the water to help him. Both ended up in the water and both did not resurface. Neither man was wearing a life jacket at the time of the incident, reported the Tribune.

Although officials report that the accident is still under investigation, one thing is clear: this devastating accident could potentially have been avoided if the men were wearing life preservers, and if the persons operating the pontoon boat had been better prepared in case of emergency.

A recent study by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that each year, in the United States alone, approximately 3,900 people die from drowning and another 5,700 received emergency care for near-drowning incidents. Perhaps even more significantly, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that in the past year, of the boating fatalities that resulted from drowning, 84% of the drowning victims were found to not have been wearing a life jacket. This simple step could be – and could have been – the difference between life and death.

Illinois law requires that life jackets be worn by children when out on the water and that life preservers are available to all adult passengers on any boat. Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children in that, in order to work correctly, a life jacket must be worn, fit snugly, and not allow the child’s chin or ears to slip through. Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard recommends that life jackets should be tested for wear and buoyancy at least once each year. Waterlogged, faded, or leaky jackets should be discarded because they may not work properly.

There are countless situations in which life jackets save lives, including situations in which boats capsize in rough water, boaters are unable to swim, individuals are injured or unconscious, or when persons are unable to swim because of heavy or waterlogged clothing, or freezing conditions.

During the summer months in Illinois, the feel of sun and the spray of water is an enjoyable diversion, which may make it tempting to boat without wearing a proper life jacket. Nevertheless, life jackets truly save lives so there is no excuse not to wear one!

Our Illinois boating accident attorneys encourage everyone who spends time near the water this summer to be aware of the safety risks, and wear a life preserver. Hopefully, with understanding, preparation, and the proper life-saving equipment, devastating injuries may be avoided altogether.

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