Chicago, IL (PRWEB) May 29, 2015
As boaters are now gearing up for the summer season, the personal injury firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. wants to remind boaters of new boating safety laws. Starting this season, boaters who tow a person, such as a water skier or tuber, are required to display an orange flag measuring no less than 12 inches per side. The flag shall be displayed at the highest point of the area surrounding the boat’s helm as to be visible from all directions. The flag must be displayed from the time the person to be towed leaves the boat and until that person returns to the boat.
Also new this year, police will be allowed to seize the watercrafts of intoxicated boaters used in the commission of certain offenses related to operating under the influence. The new law brings penalties for boating under the influence more in line with the penalties of operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
Starting in 2016, all boaters born after January 1, 1998 are required to 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.
“Negligence can happen just as easily on the water as it does on our roadways,” said boating accident attorney Tara Devine. “Our firm has seen the devastating impact boating accidents can have on victims and we hope these new laws will make the waterways safer for all boaters to enjoy.”
Latest data from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Office of Law Enforcement shows there were 77 boating-related accidents on Illinois waters in 2014 resulting in 54 injuries and 20 fatalities. Illinois Conservation Police officers in 2014 made 159 arrests for boaters operating under the influence, which is a 38 percent increase in OUI arrests from 2013.