As summer fun begins on the lakes and rivers in Illinois, boaters should know that there are new laws and regulations regarding watercraft safety.
Senate Republicans have supported several legislative measures that address watercraft safety concerns that have recently gone into effect or will in the next year:
Boating Regulations (SB 3433/PA 98-0698): Establishes new boating certification requirements starting in 2016 that restricts anyone under the age of 18 from driving a motorboat.
Watercraft Towing (SB 2731/PA 98-0697): Requires that any watercraft towing a person must display at the highest point of the area surrounding the boat's helm, a bright or brilliant orange flag visible from all directions, continuously, from the time the person gets out of the boat until they get back into the boat.
Drunk Boating (SB 1479/PA 98-0103): Requires that any person who operates a motorboat and who has been involved in a fatal accident or accident with serious injuries to submit a blood alcohol test.
Boating Violations (SB 1310/PA 98-0102): Clarifies and updates a number of boat rental violations. This was requested by the Department of Natural Resources, which has found it difficult to force some boat renters to comply with state law because of weak penalties.
For a complete list of 2015 Illinois boating laws and regulations, please refer to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Boat Registration & Safety Act Information handbook.