IDNR Conservation Police step-up enforcement this holiday weekend

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                      Illinois Department of Natural

                      Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police want to remind

                      the public to play it safe this Labor Day weekend.

                      Conservation Police Officers (CPOs) will be stepping

                      up enforcements across the state looking for

                      individuals operating under the influence (OUI), in

                      an effort to keep the public safe on Illinois waters.

                      “Many consider Labor Day to be the unofficial end to

                      the summer boating season and with good weather

                      thousands will take to Illinois rivers and lakes to

                      celebrate this weekend,” said IDNR Conservation

                      Police Chief, Rafael Gutierrez. “It’s important to

                      remember to celebrate responsibly. Wear a life jacket

                      and always have a designated skipper on board if you

                      are going to be consuming alcohol. Following these

                      two basic rules will save the public money by

                      avoiding fines and can help save lives.”

                      OUI is a Class ‘A’ Misdemeanor for a first time

                      offense and is punishable by up to 1 year in jail

                      and/or up to a $2,500 fine. CPOs will also be doing

                      vessel inspections to ensure that all safety rules

                      are being followed. Illinois law requires that

                      personal floatation devices (PFDs) – life jackets or

                      life vests – be available for each person onboard.

                      State law also requires that anyone under the age of

                      13 to wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft

                      under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is

                      underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed

                      cabin or operating on private property.  Individuals

                      are also required to wear a PFD while operating a

                      personal watercraft or jet ski.

                      CPOs will also be on the lookout for drunk drivers in

                      and around our state parks and natural areas.

                      “There is zero tolerance for anyone found operating a

                      vessel or a motor vehicle under the influence,” said

                      Director Gutierrez. “And remember, drunk boating is

                      drunk driving and those caught under the influence

                      will be prosecuted.”