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New to boating, going out on the Lake?, please read The Handbook of Ilinois Boating Laws and Responsibilities


• Any watercraft towing a water skier or tuber must display a bright orange flag (measuring not less than 12 inches per side) from the time the towed person leaves the boat until they return to the boat. Flying the flag for purposes other than towing is prohibited, so be sure to only display the flag when towing. Senate Bill 2731 

• There are penalties for driving a boat under the influence. Senate Bill 3434 allows for the seizure of a watercraft used in the commission of certain offenses related to operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. 

• Anyone age 12-18 operating a boat must 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. Senate Bill 3433 

•The operator of a boat with an installed Engine Cut-Off Switch (ECOS) must use the ECOS link. It’s usually a coiled bungee cord lanyard clipped to the operator, Personal Floatation Device (PFD) or clothing and attached to the cut-off switch. When an operator is wearing a link, the engine cuts off if the operator is separated from the vessel, should the operator be ejected from the vessel or falls within the vessel. The shutdown may prevent from impacting the vessel's spinning propeller and may aid the operator in safely returning to the drifting vessel. The law applies to any motorized boat with 3 + horsepower and less than 26 feet LEARN MORE