The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is observing National Safe Boating Week, held each year in the week leading up to Memorial Day weekend. The purpose of the safety campaign is to reduce boating accidents and fatalities. Here are some lifesaving tips from the Sheriff’s Office:
• Wear a lifejacket. It’s the law and it saves lives.
• Make sure you have the bright orange flag on your watercraft at all times. The flag must be displayed at the highest point of the boat’s helm when towing a person.
• Boat operators born after January 1, 1998 must take and pass a boating safety course validated by the IDNR and hold a valid boating safety certificate before they can operate a motorboat with an engine over 10 horsepower.
• Check all required safety equipment and make sure it is in good working order.
• Dress for the water temperature. Bring sunscreen, extra towels and clothing to protect your skin and be prepared for changes in temperature.
• Never boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Never.
Lake County Sheriff Mark C. Curran, Jr. is reminding boaters of recent watercraft laws now in effect:
Watercraft Towing: SB1479
Senate Bill 1479 requires any watercraft towing a person to display a bright orange flag at the highest point of the boat’s helm. The flag must be visible from all directions and continuously displayed.
Watercraft Seizure: SB3434
Senate Bill 3434 allows for the seizure and forfeiture of watercraft used in the commission of repeated specified offenses including operating under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds or combination thereof.
Mandatory Boater’s Education: SB3433 (Effective January 1, 2016)
Senate Bill 3433 requires all persons born after January 1, 1998 to take and pass a boating safety course validated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and hold a valid boating safety certificate before they can operate a motorboat with an engine over 10 horsepower.
“Know the laws and obey the laws – they’ll keep you, your family and friends safer on the waterways,” stated Sheriff Mark C. Curran, Jr.
In addition, Sheriff Curran reminded mariners, “Boaters love the adventure and fun of a day spent on the water. However, accidents can happen quickly – so don’t just carry a life jacket – “Wear It!”