• Tuesday, April 07, 2015 4:45 PM | Anonymous

    As we begin a new Illinois boating season, it is important to know any new laws that can and may affect the boater on Illinois waters.  Effective January 1, 2015, three (3) new bills which were signed into law by former Governor Pat Quinn on July 5, 2014 took effect.  Already I have heard too many rumors and misunderstandings about these laws.  Hopefully this post will help.

    Quick Primer on Illinois Legislation
    For most folks, how a bill becomes a law is political pseudo-science which mixes two parts alchemy with boring elected folks you may or may not recognize on your ballot every few years.  Most of us know “I’m Just a Bill…” from childhood, and actually it’s a pretty good overview of how the federal legislative system works.  Enjoy it here:

    In Illinois, we have two chambers of the Legislature, the Illinois Senate and the Illinois House.  Bills that originate first in the Senate are called Senate Bills and abbreviated “SB” while bills that originate in the Illinois House are called House Bills and abbreviated “HB.”  If a bill is approved by both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate, and then subsequently signed by the Illinois Governor, than that HB or SB will become a Public Act, abbreviated “PA.”  The PA will now amend the codified (written down) laws of the great state of Illinois collectively known as the Illinois Complied Statutes of abbreviated as “ILCS.”

    Most Public Acts have a waiting period to take effect, usually the first day of the New Year following their signature into law.  This allows time to get the law codified and for folks to get used to what changes these new laws will bring to their lives.

    There; now you know all you ever need to know about how an Illinois bill becomes a law.  And they said my Master of Arts in Political Science would never come in handy…

    Illinois Senate Bill 3434 Operating Under the Influence (OUI)

    P.A. 98-699, effective: January 1, 2015
    Bill 3434 Operating Under the Influence (OUI)
    Illinois Laws: 720 ILCS 5/36-1, 720 ILCS 5/36-1a, 720 ILCS 5/36-2, 720 ILCS 5/36-3, 720 ILCS 5/36-4

    In a nutshell, this new law allows for the seizure of a watercraft used in the commission of certain offenses related to operating under the influence (OUI).  The new rules bring penalties for boating under the influence more in line with those for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol.  Before folks panic here, understand that what this law, like the existing seizure of a motor vehicle law, gives a prosecutor another option when dealing with very serious OUI situations.

    THE SKINNY: All of these new laws are variants of the original proposals of the anti-Illinois Boating State Senator Julie Morrison.  Due in large part to the grassroots efforts of the Illinois Boaters Association and boaters like yourself, Sen. Morrison’s new law is now an extension of existing laws that already come into play in DUI situations.  Just like how most DUI cases do not involve the seizure of a car or truck, so too will most OUI cases, which will not involve the seizure of a boat.

    Illinois Senate Bill 3433 Mandatory Boater’s Education

    P.A. 98-698, effective: January 1, 2015
    Illinois Senate Bill 3433
    (scroll down to 625 ILCS 45/5-18 for specifics, but this entire page is worth reading at least once)

    Illinois Law: 625 ILCS 45/5-18
    In a nutshell, this new law requires that all folks born after January 1, 1998 must 1. Take and 2. Pass a boating safety course that is validated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IL DNR).  Anybody born after January 1, 1998 must have and hold a valid certificate before they operate a motorboat with an engine over 10 horsepower on the waters of Illinois.

    THE SKINNY: Make sure that one takes an IL DNR approved course.  There are numerous courses for boater safety online.  I would recommend a person only take one that they are sure is approved by IL DNR.
    625 ILCS 45/5-18

    Another note of caution.  IL DNR while it does have its own police force is not as sophisticated as most modern police agencies.  Should you have a family or household member who needs the training certificate, I would highly recommend printing a hard copy of this certificate and keeping it in a water proof bag on the actual watercraft the youngster is operating.  This simple proactive step can mean the difference between a ticket and court appearance, and an enjoyable day out on the water.

    Illinois Senate Bill 2731 New Skier Tow Rules

    P.A. 98-697, Effective January 1, 2015
    625 ILCS 45/5-14

    In a nutshell, this new law, which amends the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act requires that any watercraft that is towing a person, such a water skier or tuber must display a bright ORANGE flag measuring not less than twelve (12) inches per side.  This warning flag must be displayed from the time a person to be towed (or water skier) leaves the boat and enters the water and must remain displayed until they return to the boat.  The flag must fly from the highest part of the vessel as well.water-ski-flag

    Yes that is an ORANGE flag.  A quick Google search found dozens of fairly cheap flags that will suffice such as these for example.

    THE SKINNY: The reality is that while IL DNR is a fine government agency (for the most part), their police officers, especially when patrolling on the Chain O’Lakes, are primary motivated by issuing fines and citations that bring in revenue to the Department.  IL DNR initiates hundreds if not thousands of stop or Illinois boaters throughout the season.  Ostensibly for safety, the reality is they are looking to issue fines and citations.

    One cannot forget that anti-boating State Senator Julie Morrison sponsored the original monstrosities that thankfully never became Illinois laws.  That being said, it is a safe bet that IL DNR and other law enforcement agencies on the water this summer cannot wait to issue fines to anybody not displaying the ORANGE safety flag and daring to tow a water skier or a tuber.

    A new boating season is dawning and with it, new Illinois boating laws.  Being forewarned is being forearmed.  Educate yourself before you pull away from the dock so that your days on the water are as enjoyable and hassle free as possible.

    There is an ongoing war on Illinois boating and the Illinois Boaters Association is your best voice in this battle to ensure that you are heard.  If you are a member of the Illinois Boaters Association, thank you.  If you are not, why not?  We need you voice and your support.  If you own a business in Illinois and support safe and common sense Illinois boating laws, why not become a corporate sponsor?

    Illinois Boater Association membership information

    Have a wonderful and safe 2015 boating season!

    About the author:   Attorney David A. Zipp is the managing partner of David A. Zipp, P.C. a general practice law firm located in Fox Lake, Illinois.  Attorney Zipp and his team routinely serve criminal and civil clients in Lake and McHenry counties.  Attorney Zipp is a former United States Marine, an elected member of the Gavin District 37 Board of Education in Ingleside, Illinois, a Master Mason, Knight of Columbus and is honored to serve as the Executive Director of the Illinois Boater’s Association.  Attorney Zipp lives on the shores of Long Lake, in Ingleside Illinois with his wife, an academic doctor and a ever-changing variety of cats, dogs, and chickens.

    you can also find this information on David Zipps Personal Blog

  • Monday, February 23, 2015 8:28 PM | Anonymous

    This is your chance to help make a difference in one of Illinois most well known and busiest waterways. This May help the fox waterway in their annual clean up

    Clean Up Flyer

    Fox Waterway Website
  • Monday, February 16, 2015 8:08 PM | Anonymous
    One of our members, Bill Hellyer,  is running as a write in candidate for the McHenry County FWA Board Director position. We would appreciate any support and publicity you can give this candidate

    Bill & his wife, Kelly, have 3 sons. He has lived in Algonquin for 32 years and has occupied his current residence just off the Fox River for 23 of those years. He and his family enjoy boating on the river. Bill is an attorney with his office in Crystal Lake and he has been in practice for 29 years.

    Bill feels that the Chain O' Lakes and the Upper Fox River have attempted to control the whole river system for years. With Bill Brookman on the FWA Board, the Lower Fox River had some input. Bill Hellyer feels we need to maintain Lower Fox River representation on the FWA Board. As a candidate for the FWA's McHenry County Board Director position, he would like to ensure that the 17 miles of the Lower Fox River are properly represented. He believes the Lower Fox River should have an equal say on issues and resources being utilized by the FWA.

    Thanks for your support
    Roy Huckabay
    Fleet 17

  • Wednesday, December 03, 2014 1:25 PM | Anonymous

    Dear Members and Followers

    As you may be aware, the Illinois Boaters Association is approaching it’s first anniversary. We hope you have visited our web site to see the growing list of resources to protect and enhance the rights of all Illinois boaters ( This organization was founded through the efforts of a small group of volunteers who rallied against state legislation that would have negatively affected boating on the Chain, and throughout the state of Illinois. Since our inception in Jan 2014, we have accomplished a number of items pertinent to boating in Illinois; successfully lobbying against several legislative efforts to diminish boaters’ rights, a comprehensive web site, candidate endorsements, a draft of the Boater’s Bill of Rights, to mention just few. In that spirit we need your help. Members are the life blood of any organization and we need everyone’s efforts to find new members-individual, family and businesses. To that point we have established the membership year as Jan 1-Dec 31. Your bonus for supporting us in our inaugural year of 2014 is that we are extending your membership through Dec 31, 2015. This will also include any new members who join during the remainder of 2014.

    We also need your involvement. Join us at our board meetings (second Wednesday of the month), get involved in one of our committees, help us find new members, sponsors, affiliates. This is your organization!

    Our legislative efforts will be stepped up in 2015. We have drafted a Boater’s Bill of Rights which we will propose to the legislature in 2015. A draft of that proposal is on our web site ( Please take a look and feel free to give us your input. We will also monitor all proposed legislation and rule changes to keep you informed of any potential infringements on your rights to freely enjoy boating in Illinois.

    This January we will be holding elections for 8 board positions. Some current board members will most likely run for the board again, however there is always room for new people and ideas. Please take this opportunity to get involved. If you have any interest in serving any of the committees or to be a board member please contact us via the website or our Facebook page. We would love to have you!

    Once again thanks for your support and we hope you enjoy our holiday gift of extending the inaugural membership year. If you can give us a gift in return, we would love for you to find at least two new members of the Association and/or volunteer for a committee or board position. Thank you for standing up for our favorite passion….boating.


    Rob Hardman
    Illinois Boaters Association

    Ed Haag
    Vice President
    Illinois Boaters Association

    Click here for a PDF of this Announcement

    PS If you haven't signed up yet, Check out our New Years Eve Party and Fundraiser, We look forward to ringing in the new year with all of you

  • Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    Last evening, August, 13 2014, in its monthly Executive Board of Directors meeting, the Illinois Boaters Association approved its first draft of a proposed Illinois Boater’s Bill of Rights.  As Executive Director of the Illinois Boaters Association and our Boaters Are Voters political action committee (PAC),  I am honored to present our first draft of our proposed Bill of Rights for the Illinois Boater:

    Proposed Illinois Boater’s Bill of Rights – August 2014

    The Illinois Boaters Association needs your voice and support.  Truly, we are your voice in the boating community. Please visit for more information and to join!

    You can download a PDF of our proposed Illinois Boater’s Bill of rights here: Draft Illinois Boaters Bill of Rights

    Illinois-Boaters-Association-Working LOGO As many of you know, the Illinois Boaters Association and our Boaters Are Voters PAC is a non-partisan, issued based grass-roots initiative.  Your can read an exhibit laden history of our first year here.

    The Illinois Boaters Association’s core and established mission is three-fold.

    1. Advocacy – We are a unified voice of the boating community.  We work with elected officials at all levels in Illinois to promote intelligent, fair, and reasonable boating related legislation.

    2. Education – We seek a safe boating experience for all and believe that an educated boater is a safer boater.

    3. Celebration – Illinois has mile upon mile of majestic navigable bodies of water from Lake Michigan and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, to the Chain O’Lakes and thousands of miles in-between.  We celebrate our natural treasure and promote its enjoyment.

    Boaters Are Voters Endorsement of Illinois Politicians


    Boaters Are Voters Logo

    The Illinois Boaters Association seeks to educate and endorse those politicians running for various offices in Illinois.  In the past we have used a questionnaire, but for the indefinite future and certainly through the fall 2014 General Election, it is our position that the Illinois Boaters Association and our Boaters Are Voters PAC will endorse any candidate for office that submits to us on campaign letterhead or via email from their campaign that they endorse the strong consideration, debate of, and the eventual implementation of our proposed Illinois Boater’s Bill of Rights.

    As our PAC name suggests, Boaters Are Voters.  Ours is a an exceptionally diverse group of all walks of life who come together in our common passion for spending time on or near the waters of Illinois.  Our proposed Illinois Boater’s Bill of Rights is reasonable and sadly, a necessary codification of freedoms Illinois boaters should enjoy on the waters of Illinois.

    Any candidate seeking endorsement, need only communicate in writing or via email to the Illinois Boaters Association.  All of our contact information can be found here.

    Together, we have already helped shape the laws that affect boating in Illinois.  Let your local town, county, and Springfield know that Boaters Are Voters!

    Boaters Are Voters Aug 29 2013

    You can find David Zipp, the Executive Directors Blog post at for more information

  • Friday, June 13, 2014 2:16 PM | Anonymous
    Thank you for your membership in the Illinois Boaters Association. Your support enables the Illinois Boaters Association to shape the debate on key boating related issues, and to continue to expand its statewide network of individuals committed to ensuring the promotion of Education, Advocacy and Celebration of Boaters with in our state. Membership benefits of the Illinois Boaters Association include the Bi-Monthly E-Bulletin, invitations to local events, and access to our constantly growing list of discounts and benefits, exclusive to Illinois Boaters Association members.

    The work of Illinois Boaters Association would not be possible without our members, and we are glad to have you as a part of our network. Now that the official boating season is underway we want to ensure that the communication of our events and services reach all of our members in a timely fashion.  We will be sending out the remainder of the membership packets next week. If you do not receive your welcome packet with membership card within the next 7-10 days, please contact us to ensure your contact information is correct.

    We are excited to announce that our new website will be launching July 25, 2014. We appreciate all the wonderful support of our members who have made this upgrade possible and we look forward to the summer ahead as we will be able to share events and news information during this peak season.

    Please feel free to contact us with via email( or social media, as they are monitored daily, with any questions you may have

    Thank you in advance for all your time, we look forward to doing great things with and for the Illinois Boaters and we couldn't do it without your help

© Illinois Boaters Association 2013
P.O. Box 126  Fox Lake, Il, 60020-0126  

Tel: 847-868-3545

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