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Boat Accident Attorney – Lawyer

Wisconsin is blessed with thousands of lakes and rivers, and for that reason, boating is a popular recreational activity. The boating accident attorneys at Murphy & Prachthauser understand that boating can be as dangerous as operating a car. Our boat accident lawyers have represented people injured in boating collisions when a boat is operated recklessly without regard to other boats on the water. The boating accident lawyers at Murphy and Prachthauser have brought claims against persons operating their boats while intoxicated, causing injury to other boaters. Our boat accident lawyers have also represented recreational swimmers who were severely injured when struck by boats.

Unlawful Boat Operations

A hot summer day out on the lake with a cold beverage sounds like a perfect day if done responsibly. Wisconsin law prohibits anyone from operating boats under the influence of a controlled substance or if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher.

Boating Safety Checklist Download

State law also considers the following to be unlawful boat operations:

  • Negligence or recklessness behind the wheel.
  • Passengers to be riding on the bow, deck, or gunwale while the boat is in motion.
  • Overloading beyond recommended capacity.
  • Unsafe speed or distance from other boats, swimmers, or property.
    • Slow-No Wake falls under this category. “Slow–No Wake” is a basic proximity rule which means operating a boat at the slowest speed necessary to maintain steerage and that reduces or eliminates waves that appear as white water behind the boat.
  • Keeping your boat in an unsafe condition.

For more in-depth information, we recommend reading this helpful Handbook of Wisconsin Boating Laws and Responsibilities from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Boating Safety Tips

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Get important tips from Murphy & Prachthauser in this article from the State Bar of Wisconsin: Boating Safety Begins with Knowing the Law.

What Is the First Action Required of a Boat Operator Who Is Involved in a Boating Accident?

Follow these steps immediately after a boating accident:

  • Bring the vessel to a complete stop if it's not already stopped.
  • Assist anyone who may be injured.
  • Once safe to do so, exchange information and vessel identification.
  • Contact authorities in the case of injury or property damage.
  • Get professional medical treatment.
  • Submit an incident report.
  • Contact one of our experienced boat accident lawyers.

When Should You Report a Boating Accident?

It is important to report a boat accident if:

  • Injuries have been sustained that need more than basic first aid.
  • Loss of life or disappearance of a person.
  • Boat or property damage costing at least $2000.
  • Complete loss of a boat.

In Wisconsin, boat operators are required by law to report boat incidents to law enforcement right away and for a written report to be submitted within 10 days of the incident.

The boat accident attorneys at Murphy and Prachthauser understand that, unfortunately, people recklessly and negligently operate other watercrafts such as jet skis and even sailboats that cause injury to passengers and other boaters or swimmers in the area. If you, a friend, or a family member find yourself the victim of a boat accident, contact one of our boat accident attorneys to evaluate whether you have a meritorious claim.

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