• Ronald Wittmeyer
  • August 6, 2013

As the summer winds down many Illinois residents are taking advantage of the still steamy weather by heading out on the State’s rivers and lakes to boat. Boating is a fun activity, but without proper precaution, a fun day of tubing, fishing, or water skiing can become a disastrous boating accident. One aspect of boating in which many Illinois citizens are unfamiliar is the possibility of receiving a (BUI), cousin of the (DUI), which stands for boating under the influence. In an effort to reduce boating accidents, the state of Illinois has enacted legislation that prevents a boat operator from legally operating a water vehicle with a blood alcohol content of over .08. Too many individuals think of drinking and boating are synonymous. There is a general assumption held by the boating population that once you get out on the water anything and everything goes. But, just like on Illinois roads, there are some rules that you need to know before heading out on the water.

In Illinois, officers do not need probable cause to stop or board your boat. This means that officers can stop and board your boat for any reason whatsoever. If officers see that you have been drinking they may ask you to submit to an alcohol test. In Illinois, three types of tests are employed: blood tests, breath tests and urine tests. These tests do no need to be conducted on shore. Depending on the outcome of the test, you could be arrested. According to 625 ILCS 40/5-7.2,  if you refuse to submit yourself to one of these tests, evidence of your refusal can be used against you during criminal prosecution.

Boating Accident in Kane County

Public outcry stemming from an accident that killed a 10-year-old boy who was killed in a drunken boating accident in Kane County has also prompted Gov. Pat Quinn to sign a new bill creating a penalty for boat operators who refuse to take drug or alcohol tests. This new law requires boat operators involved in an accident resulting in death or serious injury to submit to blood, urine, and breathalyzer tests or else have their driver’s license revoked.

The last thing you want to see when enjoying a nice summer day.

Remember Illinois waterways are not a free-for-all. New laws have been set in place to curve boating accidents caused by alcohol usage. If you choose to ignore these laws there can be serious consequences. Boating can still be fun, but take precautions to limit boating accidents.

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