Experts urge boat safety
May 24, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- As National Boat Safety week gets underway, experts are warning boaters to stay safe.
The hot, sunny weather has a lot of boaters getting an early start on the season but boating can also be hazardous especially when our waterways become crowded.
On Sunday night, Russ Neeleman Jr., 28, was killed on Lake Marie in Antioch when his jet ski collided with a boat. The accident happened around 6:35 p.m. on Lake Marie near along the Illinois-Wisconsin border.
"I seen him messing around on the shoreline 30 seconds sooner, a friend of the family was kind of keeping an eye on him and then I seen it happen. It was just so, so sad," said Jason Maliki, witness.
While police are still investigating what led to the boating tragedy, many accidents are a result of excessive speed and drinking.
"I think that's probably where we do see most injuries and fatalities, is from high-speed nighttime, and if you mix in alcohol with that, that just compounds the problem," said Dr. Al Pakalniskis, boater.
If you plan on partying while boating, make sure you have an assigned designated driver. Before heading out check your boat's engine and make sure you have the necessary safety equipment. It is federal law that there is a life jacket for every single person on board. Children 13 years old and younger are required to wear a life preserve at all times.
Each year the Coast Guard responds to numerous distress calls, including one that happened Sunday.
"We had a gentleman who was showing signs of heat stroke. He went swimming in the water and just basically overheated. Even though the water is chilly, it is still a hot day and you have to make sure you stay hydrated ," said Petty Officer Ryan Brown, U.S. Coast Guard.
The man did recover but the incident also shows the importance of bringing plenty of drinking water when out on the lake.
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