New Illinois boating laws go into effect

SPRINGFIELD — Law enforcement officials say Illinois boaters should be aware of new laws taking effect this year.

It’s now a requirement to display a bright orange flag from the highest point of a boat’s helm when towing a person such as a water skier. The flag must be visible from all directions and be continuously displayed.

A new law allows the seizure and forfeiture of watercraft used repeatedly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Starting next year, boating safety courses will be mandatory for many younger motorboat operators. A valid boating safety certificate will be required for people born after Jan. 1, 1998, before they can operate a motorboat with an engine more than 10 horsepower.