Boat Patrol

By: Chrystina Head
By: Chrystina Head

Police have been out targeting drivers by land and by air. Now another crew has hit a different recreational resource to help secure user’s safety.

Memorial Day weekend is the time that generally travel increases by road and by boat. For the first time this season, the Illinois Department of Natural Resource police are taking their boats out on the water.

While state troopers are performing roadside safety checks, conservation police are patrolling the waters to make sure that boaters are in compliance with state laws. This is the first big holiday weekend of the year and police want to be on the look out for boaters who may put others in danger. It's been a long season off the water and some boaters may not know if their boats are up to speed or not.

Police say they want to make sure that boaters are out enjoying the water and not endangering others. If you're not sure weather or not you boat is in compliance with state law contact the Department of Natural Resources at 1-800-832-2599.

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Tips for safe boating

  • Be weather wise: Sudden wind shifts, lightning flashes and choppy water all can mean a storm is brewing. Bring a portable radio to check weather reports.

  • Bring extra gear you may need: A flashlight, extra batteries, matches, a map of where you are, flares, sun tan lotion, first aid kit, extra sunglasses. Put those that need to be protected in a watertight pouch or a container that floats.

  • Tell someone where you're going, who is with you, and how long you'll be away. Then check your boat, equipment, boat balance, engine and fuel supply before leaving.

  • Stay dry and warm: Wear several layers of light clothing; bring rainproof covering. Never wear hip waders in a small boat.

  • Keep fishing & hunting gear clean and well packed. A loose fishhook can cause a lot of pain and ruin a great outing. Bring an extra length of line to secure boat or equipment.

  • Take a safe boating course. As an extra benefit, you may earn lower boat insurance costs.

Boats and alcohol don't mix

  • Over 1,000 people die in boating accidents every year, about half those deaths involve alcohol.

  • It is a tragic fact and not a joke, but 50 percent of drunk men who drown have their fly unzipped.

  • Four hours of exposure to powerboat noise, vibration, sun, glare, wind and motion produces a kind of "boater's hypnosis". This slows reactions almost as much as being legally drunk.

  • Adding alcohol to this sun exposure intensifies the effects, and sometimes just a couple of beers are too many.

  • When you're "tipsy", you are much more likely to fall overboard.

  • A drunk person whose head is immersed can be confused and swim down to death instead of up to safety.

Source: http://www.boatwashington.org/boatingtips.htm (United Safe Boating Institute Web site)


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