Staunton Star - Times - Published in the Interest of the Staunton Community for Over 143 Years

Boaters: Wear life jackets, boat sober


“The ‘Wear It!’ message is a simple and easy message to understand,” said Illinois Conservation Police Lt. Curt Lewis, who is the state’s boating law administrator. “Wearing a life jacket isn’t just a reminder for everyone on a motorboat; it’s also important for everyone who enjoys paddle sports, such as kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards.”

In 2021 there were 93 reportable boating accidents on Illinois waters, resulting in 28 injuries and 16 fatalities, according to statistics compiled by the conservation police.

In 2020, there were 81 boating accidents with 21 fatalities and 36 injuries. And in 2019, there were 72 accidents with 14 fatalities and 42 injuries. (Annual boating accident statistics are compiled based on the federal fiscal year Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.)

Boating accident reports indicate most accidents occur between noon and 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays between June and August. Conditions are usually clear with good visibility, light winds and calm water. Most accidents involve operators between the ages of 20 and 40 who have more than 100 hours of boating experience but little or no classroom boating safety instruction. They also usually involve open motorboats cruising in a careless or reckless manner, culminating in a collision with another boat.

“With Memorial Day weekend approaching and boating season getting underway, everyone enjoying the waterways needs to make safety their priority,” Lewis said. “Wearing a life jacket can save your life, and staying sober while operating a boat is not only common sense, it’s the law.”


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