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Boat Safety Information

In an emergency, DIAL 911.

The mission of the Marine Unit is to enforce state laws as well as local and county ordinances, and to promote safe boating. Duties include responding to calls for assistance, investigating criminal complaints and boating accidents, watercraft safety inspections, search and rescue as well as crowd control and security. The Marine Unit works closely with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, McHenry County Sheriff’s Department and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Boating Safety Information

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office strongly urges both novice and experienced boaters to take the Illinois Boating Education Course. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the Illinois Boating Education Course consists of a minimum eight hours of instruction, covering the basics of boating safety, equipment and requirements, navigation, motorboat, registration and titling, emergency measures and the Illinois boating laws. The Lake County Forest Preserve District will be hosting an 8 hour Illinois Boating Education Course in May or June of 2015. For more information or registration, please contact Sgt. Mike Anderson of the Lake County Forest Preserve District at manderson@lcfpd.org or 847.489.6160.

NEW LAWS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2014

Public Act 98-103 (SB1479) Boating Under the Influence - Operators of motorboats involved in a boating accident resulting in serious injury or death must submit to chemical testing (breath, blood, or urine) upon request by the investigating law enforcement officer. Failure to submit to requested testing or submitting to testing but failing such testing, shall result in a suspension of the motorboat operators Illinois driver’s license by the Illinois Secretary of State.

A person’s privileges to operate a watercraft may be suspended for a period of 1 to 3 years for violations of operating under the influence, careless or reckless operation, or failure to report an accident. Further, it shall be unlawful for any person to operate a watercraft when their privileges have been suspended or revoked in this state, or by another state, a federal agency, or a province of Canada.

Public Act 98-0698 (SB3433) Boating Safety Education - Amends the Boat Registration and Safety Act. Provides that beginning January 1, 2016 the Boating Safety Certificate requirements shall apply to persons born on or after January 1, 1998 rather than persons born on or after January 1, 1991. Requires boat liveries to offer abbreviated operating and safety instructions to renters. Provides that any person that has a Boating Safety Certificate or is exempt from the requirement does not have to complete an abbreviated operating and safety instruction in order to operate a motorboat rented from a boat livery. Provides that a Boating Safety Certificate is not required by a person who is an Illinois resident who has met the applicable boating safety standards of another state or possesses a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator's Card, a person using only an electric motor or motor 10 horse power or less to propel the motorboat, or a person operating a motorboat on private property.

NEW LAWS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2015

Public Act 98-0697 (SB 2731) Watercraft Towing - Amends the Boat Registration and Safety Act. Requires operators of a watercraft towing a person or persons to display an orange flag on their watercraft when towing a person. Provides that the flag must be displayed at the highest point of the area surrounding the boat's helm so as to be visible from all directions.

Public Act 98-0699 (SB3434) Seizure Watercraft - Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides for the seizure and forfeiture of a watercraft used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the commission of specified offenses. Provides for the seizure and forfeiture of a watercraft when a person operating the watercraft was (1) under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination thereof under the Boat Registration and Safety Act during a period in which his or her privileges to operate a watercraft are revoked or suspended and the revocation or suspension was for operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination compound or compounds, or combination thereof; (2) operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination thereof and has been previously convicted of reckless homicide or a similar provision of a law in another state relating to reckless homicide in which the person was determined to have been under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination thereof as an element of the offense or the person  has previously been convicted of committing a violation of operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination thereof and was involved in an accident that resulted in death, great bodily harm, or permanent disability or disfigurement to another, when the violation was a proximate cause of the death or injuries; or (3) the person committed a violation of operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, intoxicating compound or compounds, or combination thereof under the Boat Registration and Safety Act or a similar provision for the third or subsequent time.

How Do I Report a Boating Violation or Boat Accident?

In an emergency, dial 911 immediately.

Illinois Conservation Police Officers (CPO’s) are dispatched by local Illinois State Police District HQ dispatch center. A listing of Illinois State Police Districts can be found at the Illinois State Police website.


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