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posted: 7/26/2013 5:00 AM

Courses important for boating safety

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The Daily Herald's July 23 editorial again reminds us that we must be committed to safety on the water.

While this new legislation is an important step -- it only comes into effect if there is an accident or injury. Illinois residents can operate any type of water craft without any prior experience or boat operator training -- imagine buying your new car and driving it off the lot having never driven before.

As with driving, using alcohol, ignoring safety equipment (life vests), operator inexperience and speeding contribute to most boating fatalities.

In Wisconsin, a Coast Guard-approved boating safety course certificate is required for all operators of motor boats and personal watercraft. In Illinois, adult operators are not required to have passed such a course; they are merely encouraged.

These courses are comprehensive and beneficial even for the most experienced boaters. All boaters should be required take one. Safe boating is sober boating but there is much more to it. See www.boat-ed.com/illinois.

Let's have fun, and be safe out there!

Charles Nozicka, Medical Director

Advocate Condell Medical Center

Libertyville

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