The busiest weekend for conservation authorities is this weekend.
Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police are imploring boaters and those in the state's recreation areas to practice safety this weekend. DNR Conservation Police Capt. John Williamson told Regional Radio on the WHOW Morning Show Wednesday there's already been a buzz of activity at area recreation sites with the nice weather of the last few weeks.
Priority number one for authorities when it comes to boaters and their safety is life jackets. Capt. Williamson reminds you want a life jacket that fits properly for each person on board the boat.
Boating and drinking are permissible on Illinois waterways. According to Capt. Williamson, unlike cars, the operator of a boat can drink and operate but they cannot be over the legal limit. He implores those on the boat to still bring a sober operator.
For boaters in congested areas with all types of boats around, Capt. Williamson says you want to be aware of the boats around you and be courteous to those that may be on the move. He says whatever type of boating you may be doing, keep those around you in mind.
When you are parking your equipment, make sure it is in a legal parking spot, and Capt. Williamson indicates they run into problems when individuals are standing in a parking spot to 'reserve' it for someone but there's a boater launching because there's a space open. He says that practice is not allowed and leads to many confrontations throughout the boating season.
Additionally, Capt. Williamson also says if you are remaining on your boat during the overnight hours, be aware of your local ordinances about noise, wake, and any lighting you may need to have.