IDNR announces 2nd straight Memorial Day
weekend without a water fatality
Enforcement efforts and increased public
safety awareness are key factors in safe holiday weekend
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[May 31, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- For the second consecutive year,
a Memorial Day weekend came and went without a reported fatality on
Illinois public waters, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources
announced Friday. The Memorial Day holiday weekend is considered the
official start to summer and the boating season in Illinois.
The last fatality on Memorial Day weekend happened two years ago. In
2006, two fatalities occurred on Illinois public waters, one in
Kendall County, the other in Sangamon County.
"Injuries and accidents have no part in an enjoyable weekend,
whether it be the middle of June or the Fourth of July," said
Illinois Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez.
This Memorial Day weekend, Illinois Conservation Police issued
566 citations for various violations, including 12 instances of
operating under the influence and 10 instances of driving under the
influence. Conservation Police also arrested 33 people for various
offenses and issued 843 written warnings to the public.
"Getting through a holiday weekend without a fatality or major
injury is commendable both to the public and law enforcement
officers charged with keeping the public as safe as possible. But
people can always be reminded to be careful and prepared. Don't
drink and operate a boat, and take a boating safety class," said
According to a 2006 study by the National Association of State
Boating Law Administrators, the states that have the longest history
of boating education requirements also have the lowest average
fatality rates of all the states.
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Illinois has the fourth-longest history of boating education
requirements in the U.S., at 29 years. Four other states have had
boating education requirements in place for more than 20 years --
New York, with 47 years; Michigan, 40 years; Minnesota, 32 years;
and North Dakota, 22 years.
People age 12-18 who operate a motorized watercraft by themselves
are required by law to possess a boating safety certificate. 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. And anyone,
regardless of age, is required to wear a life jacket while operating
a personal watercraft or jet ski.
Safety course schedules are available at
www.dnr.state.il.us/safety/boat.htm. Illinois also offers an
online boat safety education course at
is a $15 fee for the online course.
Department of Natural Resources file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]