NEWS from BoatUS
Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
BoatUS Press Room at www.BoatUS.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: D. Scott Croft, 703-461-2864, SCroft@BoatUS.com
With Little Public Knowledge or Input, Illinois Set to Vote on
Mandatory Life Jacket Wear 24/7 for Solo Boaters
BoatUS Urges Boaters to Speak Out Now
SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 23, 2010 – In a sweeping bill that could affect 96% of the state’s registered boats, the Illinois General Assembly is set to pass a new mandatory life jacket law as early as next week that would require solo boaters to wear a life jacket year-round. BoatUS is urging Prairie State boaters to contact their state representative immediately to let them know how they feel about Senate Bill 3060, which would amend the state’s Boat Registration and Safety Act to include this new provision targeting boaters who are the “sole occupant” of a vessel less than 26 feet.
The nation’s largest recreational boat owners group, BoatUS, supports the voluntary wear of life jackets for adults, and the development of a wider range of life jacket choices for the boater. As recent survey of its over half-million members indicates that boaters have significant concerns about more government laws dictating when and where they must use life jackets.
In 2008, an estimated 79 million people went boating in the US and according to US Coast Guard statistics there were a total of 709 boating fatalities. Less than 25% were on boats with one occupant (Illinois had a total of 19 boating fatalities in 2008 and 378,000 registered boats.) “Based on our survey results, we feel Senate Bill 3060 is an over-reaching intrusion into a boater’s personal choice. Our members have told us they want to be treated as adults capable of making the right choices, without the government making decisions for them,” said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich.
“Senate Bill 3060, which could impact a lot of Illinois residents, has been progressing in the Assembly without getting the attention of boaters. Since it’s passed the Senate and is now headed to a full House vote, we urge the state’s boaters to quickly contact their representatives to let them know how they feel about Senate Bill 3060,” added Podlich.
To help boaters speak out, they can go to http://tinyurl.com/3a7awnb (you may have to scroll down) to get their representative’s email and phone contact information.
Included in the bill are exemptions for those on a “sailboard” or the “sole occupant” aboard vessels under 26 feet that are using an engine “intermittently” while fishing, which BoatUS believes could lead to enforcement challenges. For the bill’s exact language, go to: www.BoatUS.com/gov .
BoatUS – Boat Owners Association of The United States – is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing over half a million members with government representation, programs and money saving services. For membership information visit www.BoatUS.com or call 800-395-2628.