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Illinois House tackles boating rules before Memorial Day

SPRINGFIELD — On the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, Illinois House members took up a pair of boater regulation bills — voting in favor of strengthened law against drunken boaters and against a measure that required boater safety courses for younger boating operators.

Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, sponsored both measures, including SB3434, that passed allowing seizure of motorcraft from those who were operating a watercraft while drunk or under the influence of drugs after he or she already had a revoked license.

The House voted 85-25 in favor of the measure.

The other was a bill that would have required those who are younger than 26 to get a boater safety course to operate motorboats on lakes in Illinois.

With an initial vote failing with 48 yes, 68 no and 1 present, Burke used a parliamentary manuever to keep it alive for the future.

“I believe this is a well thought out way to ease people into the boating safety requirement,” Burke said. “We have hunting education … we have other forms of education for people who are engaged in activities that can be dangerous to themselves and other people.”

But John Cavaletto, R-Salem, said he was uncertain whether the measure would be helpful to young boaters in his Downstate district, who usually are on small lakes fishing.

“We have a lot of oversight now on our lakes,” he said. “Most of the people in small boats are in small lakes.”