As the largest port on the Great Lakes, the Port of Chicago sees more than its fair share of both commercial and recreational boaters coming in from all over America to explore Lake Michigan or sail to points further into the States via the inland waterways. Any waterway this popular carries with it the risk of accident and injury – and if you find yourself involved in an accident in Chicago, you need the services of maritime attorney Dennis O’Bryan.
Due to its strategic proximity to the Great Lakes, some of America’s largest bodies of water, the shipping traffic in Chicago can come from and depart to points all over the country. Much of the traffic consists of automobile shipments from manufacturers and dealers heading to land-based distribution centers, as well as major freight suppliers such as Norfolk Southern and Canadian National Railroad using the Port of Chicago to transport freight further into America for loading onto their railways. The port itself is actually large enough to be divided up into four facilities handling different types of cargo, including one specifically devoted to shipments from international waters which is used as one of America’s largest Foreign Trade Zones, allowing faster processing of inbound customs.
Any port with this many vessels passing through carries a high risk of accidents. Chicago actually experienced the single greatest loss of life on the Great Lakes in the SS Eastland disaster of 1915, killing 855 people on board a cruise liner. Further accidents involving collisions between commercial and civilian boats have been reported as recently as last summer, and other recent fatalities and injuries have arisen from rental vessels experiencing equipment failure and recreational boats capsizing in the Cal-Sag Channel, a highly populated section of the Calumet River leading out of South Chicago.
Chicago, as befitting its long history as a major waterway in America, also has a strong lineage of recreational and pleasure boating. Grebe’s Yachts was the second American-based yacht builder to open in history and their boats can still be found in the harbor to this day. If you want to explore outward a little farther, any number of sailboat lessons or rentals can be chartered. Those looking for something a little slower-paced can join a kayak or canoe club, and people looking for a more fun way to get around town can hire a Water Taxi to avoid all the crowds.
Odds are if you’re in Chicago you’ll find yourself working or playing on the water, and as fun and rewarding as this can be there are always risks. The offices of O’Bryan Baun Karamanian are willing to work with you and travel when needed* to ensure you get the justice you deserve in your longshore act, Jones Act, or maritime law case. If you have any questions, contact us today.
*Dennis M. O’Bryan is enrolled to practice before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals which hears appeals from the federal district courts of Illinois. In those federal district courts in which he is not generally admitted to practice, such as Chicago, he gains admission pro hac vice, on a case by case basis, by securing the sponsorship of a reputable local attorney. He is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, where his office is located.