Wise boating averts tragedy, suits

Posted8/31/2013 5:00 AM

Reading the Borcia family is suing the Chain O' Lakes Waterway Agency, Springbrook Marina, the boat's driver and passenger prompted my response.

I have owned and safely operated a boat for 18 consecutive summers. I taught and daily skied, tubed and kneeboarded on the Chain O' Lakes, Fox, Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio rivers.


Everyone aboard my boats are still alive today. We employed common sense and safety first to protect our lives -- not writs, paper laws, and "we should have been told." Some 24,000 boats are registered on the busiest inland waterway in the United States, The Chain.

Afternoon tubing on a small lake packed with boats is unsafe. Would you knowingly enter and swim in water that has multiple shark sightings? Each lake has its mix of boaters -- intoxicated or not, boat length and running speed. The boat driver has control over the safety of his passengers.

Everyone on the boat including the person who is up next to tube or ski has to make the safety decisions: Is it safe for me to get into the water? Is it safe to paddle back 75 feet from the boat and prepare to be towed?

The tragic Borcia death could happen multiple times every day here. Perhaps one reason it doesn't is experienced watersport enthusiasts know when to pull in their tow ropes and riders. Think smart and wait for calmer waters and less boat traffic. Remember, the waterways are for everyone to share.

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Err on the safe side when something just doesn't seem right. Doing so will eliminate the loss-of-life lawsuits blaming someone else and setting up a not-for-profit LLC demanding changes and safe zones.

Ray Ladewig


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