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Boating accidents and deaths show a frightening recent spike

Like car accidents, boating accidents have seen a general decline. However, recent years have shown a concerning spike in accidents, injuries and deaths.

There were 8,047 accidents back in 1997, leading to 4,555 injuries and 821 deaths. Those statistics come from the American Boating Association, which also reported that there were 8,061 accidents, 4,612 injures, and 815 deaths in 1998.

That would be the last year with more than 8,000 accidents or 800 deaths. By the next year, the numbers fell to 7,931 accidents, 4,315 injuries and 734 deaths. By 2003, accidents dropped to 5,483, while there were 3,888 injuries and 703 deaths. Things were safer than ever a decade later, when 2013 set lows in accidents (4,062) and deaths (560).

That's when things started going in the opposite direction, with waterways becoming more dangerous. The next two years saw a slight increase in most statistical categories, capped off with a spike in 2016, as accidents jumped to 4,463, injuries increased to 2,903 and deaths jumped back up to 701.

By comparison, there were also 701 deaths in 2001. It was clear that safety had taken a serious step back, even if the levels were not all the way back up to their 1997 and 1998 highs.

This trend should serve as a warning to boaters here in Illinois. Lakes and rivers are not as safe as they once were, and the trend shows that things have just been getting worse. If you are injured in a boating accident, make sure you know all of the legal options you have for compensation.

Source: American Boating Association, "Boating Fatality Facts," accessed March 30, 2018

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