The summer months are officially here. With the warmer weather comes fun on the beautiful lakes here in Southeastern Wisconsin. Time spent on the water boating and enjoying other personal watercraft can create happy summer memories. However, if care is not taken it can also result in serious Wisconsin boating accident. Below are several things to consider before you hit the lakes this summer.
- Age restrictions – Anyone under the age of 10 is prohibited from operating a boat or personal watercraft. If a child is aged 10 or 11 they can operate a boat in the presences of a parent, guardian or adult over the age of 18 who is a designated guardian. A child between 12 and 15 who has completed the Wisconsin DNR boater’s safety course may operate a boat alone. If the course has not been completed, they are subject to the same rules governing those aged 10-11. Finally, anyone aged 16-18 must complete the boater’s safety course in order to operate a boat alone.
- Dangerous boating – The Wisconsin DNR has outlined several boating practices that are not only dangerous but also illegal. These include negligent or reckless use of a boat or other watercraft, operating with an individual on the bow or gunwale of the boat, overloading the vessel, improper speed or following distances as designated by lake signage or DNR regulations, and unsafe operating conditions.
- Drugs and Alcohol – Operating a boat or other water vessel while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol is not only a bad idea, it is also highly illegal. Similar to the operation of other motorized vehicles, the blood alcohol level of the individual operating a boat may not exceed 0.08%.
Like a vehicular accident, the operator of a boat or personal watercraft has legal obligations if they are in a boating accident.
- Provide assistance – You are required to give your name, address and vehicle identification information to anyone involved in the accident.
- Report – Provide an oral or written account of the circumstances leading to the accident.
- Submit a report – By law, you are required to submit a report to the Wisconsin DNR within 10 days of the accident.
Spending time on the water is one of the things that make summer in Wisconsin so enjoyable. For a complete list of boating rules and regulations, take a moment to visit the DNR website.