Conservation Police will be increasing enforcement out on the water over the Labor Day weekend.
According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, officers will be looking for boaters operating under the influence (OUI). Conservation police will be conducting vessel inspections to ensure all safety rules are being followed. The State of Illinois requires that there are enough life jackets for all the people on one craft.
Also, Illinois State law requires anyone under 13-years-old to wear a life jacket while on a boat under 26-feet-long. This applies unless the child is in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property.
Boaters must wear a life vest when operating a personal watercraft or jet ski.
The Illinois DNR said a first time offense for an OUI is punishable by up to one year in jail, and/or up to a $2,500 fine.
Officers will also be looking for drunk drivers in and around lakes, rivers, and state parks.
Between an extended weekend and a mostly clear forecast, the Iowa DNR expects waterways to be busy over the Labor Day holiday.
Through August 16, 2013, statistics from the Iowa DNR showed that there were nearly 40 boating while intoxicated arrests, two fatalities, five cases of property damage and 10 personal injuries.
“We want boaters to have fun on the water, but we don’t want that fun to end in a boating tragedy,” said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator and education coordinator for the Iowa DNR. “Boaters need to keep safety in mind while on the water.”