CHICAGO – To protect people on Illinois’ waterways, state Rep. Kimberly du Buclet, D-Chicago, is reminding boaters to follow commonsense safety rules when boating such as making sure life jackets are available, never operating a vehicle under the influence or drinking to excess as a passenger.
“Summertime usually correlates with a higher prevalence of boating accidents and deaths, but it doesn’t have to be this way,” said du Buclet. “If you’re behind the wheel of a boat you have the responsibility to make sure everyone on that vessel makes it home safe. Everyone must follow the standards set to protect us from tragedy.”
Inattention while boating and intoxication are two of the leading contributing causes of death on U.S. waterways. In addition, the risk of dying on the water, whether from a medical emergency, blunt trauma or drowning, rises exponentially when a person is not wearing a life jacket. Federal and Illinois law requires all boats to have enough lifejackets for everyone aboard the vessel. Operators of personal watercraft must ensure that they and any passengers are wearing a lifejacket at all times. Failure to comply with these laws have serious penalties that range from $2,500 fines to a year in jail. For more information on how to stay safe on the water this summer, please visit the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’(IDNR) link here: https://dnr.illinois.gov/safety/boatingsafety.html.
“Knowing how to swim is not a substitute for a life jacket. The best swimmers can perish underwater if they have a cramp or simply become exhausted while trying to stay afloat,” said du Buclet. “The rules we adhere to when driving apply when sailing. Please do not drink and operate a boat, it can be deadly.”
“We encourage Illinoisans to enjoy all that our great state has to offer,” said Illinois Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Lisa Gardner. “However, we want everyone to be aware that consuming alcohol while operating any vehicle, including boats, can have unintended consequences and puts everyone at risk.”