Gov. Pat Quinn has approved several laws aimed at increasing boater safety on a holiday weekend that many Illinois residents are spending on lakes and rivers.
The Chicago Democrat signed the three measures Saturday. They require safety courses, set down rules for towing people on water tubes and impose stricter DUI penalties.
Beginning in 2016, residents born after Jan. 1, 1998, must hold a state safety license. The rules apply to those operating watercraft with more than 10 horsepower.
Additionally, boaters towing a person must display a foot-long orange flag while the rider is in the water.
And residents convicted of three boater-related DUI offenses or people operating a watercraft with revoked licenses could have their boats taken away.
The legislation was proposed by state Sen. Julie Morrison, a Deerfield Democrat whose 10-year-old nephew, Tony Borcia of Libertyville, was killed in a crash last year on the Chain O' Lakes. Tony was being towed in a tube when he was struck by a boat driven by Bartlett resident David Hatyina.
Hatyina later pleaded guilty to boating while intoxicated and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.