Conservation Police Step Up Boating Enforcement leading up to 4th of July Weekend

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                      The Illinois Department of Natural

                      Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police Officers (CPOs)

                      will be out in full force this weekend on the

                      look-out for boaters operating under the influence

                      (OUI) of drugs or alcohol. Boaters can expect to see

                      stepped up patrols and increased enforcement as CPOs

                      protect Illinois waterways this coming holiday

                      weekend.

                      “We want people to enjoy their time on the water, but

                      being safe and responsible should always be a

                      boater’s top priority,” said IDNR Office of Law

                      Enforcement Chief Rafael Gutierrez.  “Alcohol use is

                      one of the leading causes of fatal boating accidents

                      in Illinois and across the country.  We have zero

                      tolerance for anyone found operating a boat under the

                      influence at any time; however, boaters will see a

                      stepped up effort as we approach the 4th of July

                      holiday.”

                      DNR Conservation Police suggests that anyone planning

                      to consume alcohol while out on the water have a

                      designated skipper onboard. Impaired boaters caught

                      this weekend can expect harsh penalties.  In

                      Illinois, operating under the influence (OUI) is a

                      Class A misdemeanor for the first offense.  It is

                      punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or up

                      to $2,500 in fines.

                      “Our CPOs work throughout the year to make sure

                      boaters are safe on Illinois public waters,” added

                      DNR Boating Law Administrator Captain Joe Morelock.

                      “This past weekend we took part in a national

                      coordinated effort called Operation Dry Water in

                      which we made 9 OUI arrests, handed out 64 citations,

                      364 warnings, and inspected over 600 vessels.”

                      Boaters can also play it safe by making sure that

                      everyone aboard wears a life jacket. State law

                      requires that there be a personal floatation device

                      (PFD) on your boat for every person aboard. Each year

                      there are several drowning deaths that could possibly

                      be prevented if a PFD was worn. For more information

                      on DNR annual boating accident statistics please

                      visit the website at

                      http://www.dnr.state.il.us/LAW3/Boat_reports.html