Tourism | Calendar | Leisure Time

Illinois Conservation Police prepare for another busy year on the water, remind public about the importance of life jackets

National Safe Boating Week begins

Send a link to a friend

[May 19, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- As the summer boating season approaches, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police are reminding the public to "Wear It!" in conjunction with the North American Safe Boating Campaign's National Safe Boating Week, May 19-25.

"The 'Wear It!' message is a simple, straightforward and easy message to understand. Everyone on board a boat should wear their life jacket from the time they get on until the time they get off the vessel. It could literally save your life," said Illinois Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez.

Statistics compiled by the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement show that there were 103 reportable boating accidents in 2011, resulting in 70 injuries and 21 fatalities. Those totals compare with 102 reportable boating accidents on Illinois waters in 2010, resulting in 73 injuries and 16 fatalities. There were 102 reportable boating accidents on Illinois waters in 2009, resulting in 71 injuries and 25 fatalities.

Illinois Conservation Police are responsible for patrolling public waters of the state and will be on the water this boating season, checking for sobriety of boat operators and compliance with boating laws in Illinois.

Illinois law requires that personal floatation devices -- life jackets or life vests -- be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft. State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is under way, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property. Illinois law also requires individuals of any age to wear a personal floatation device, or PFD, while operating a personal watercraft or jet ski.

As part of the Illinois Conservation Police boating safety enforcement effort, officers also strictly enforce laws for boat operators regarding operating under the influence.

"Operating a boat under the influence is just as risky as operating a motor vehicle. If you are operating a boat, be smart and don't drink," Gutierrez added.

[to top of second column]

Among the primary causes of boating accidents are operator inattention, alcohol use, careless or reckless operation, and operator inexperience.

The IDNR offers free boating safety courses providing a review of boating laws and regulations and instruction on safe and attentive operation of watercraft. State law requires boating safety education for individuals ages 12 to 17 and encourages boaters of all ages to take a safety course. Safety courses, which are taught by volunteer instructors, are available throughout Illinois, and schedules are available by calling 1-800/832-2599 or by checking the links on the IDNR website's boating information page at
. Online boat safety courses are also available for a fee.

National Safe Boating Week is observed each year during the week leading up to the Memorial Day holiday. This year's "Wear It!" theme reminds boaters of the importance of wearing life jackets. For more information on the national safe boating campaign, go to the website at

[Text from Illinois Department of Natural Resources file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]


< Recent articles

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor