Is Boat Insurance Required In Illinois?

Despite the fact that boat owners in Illinois are not required to carry insurance, the majority of individuals understand the value of doing so. In the same way that insurance is vital for your car, you should think about safeguarding your boat in the same way.

What is required on a boat in Illinois?

Is a Boating License Required in Illinois? Anyone operating a vessel with a motor of more than 10 horsepower who was born on or after January 1, 1998 is obliged by law to complete a boater safety course and have a boater education card.

Do I have to insure my boat?

Only two states legally mandate some form of boat insurance (and for one of these states, only boats with engines that produce more than 50 horsepower). Some states have additional insurance requirements for boaters who fulfill certain qualifications; check with your state’s marine board or other regulating body to confirm boat insurance requirements.

Your bank or marina is more likely to impose insurance requirements on your yacht. If you have a boat loan with the boat as collateral, you will almost probably be required to obtain boat insurance. If proof of insurance is not provided, some lenders may âforce placeâ a marine insurance policy on your yacht, according to the Global Marine Insurance Agency. In order to keep your boat at a marina, many of them will need you to have current boat insurance.

Beyond any legally enforceable contracts or legislation, your risk tolerance may be the deciding factor in whether or not you insure your boat. Having an insurance coverage can help mitigate the hazards connected with driving a boat on the water, just as it can with any potentially hazardous activity. Boats are often large investments that can be costly if they require unforeseen repairs or are involved in an accident. Before making a decision, be sure you’re well-informed and aware of the hazards involved.

Can you drink on a boat in Illinois?

Officers issued the following citations in response to infractions of our state’s boating restrictions during the 2014 federal fiscal year, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

The Chicago Tribune followed Lake County Sheriff Marine Unit Sergeant James McKinney and a deputy as they patrolled the Chain O’ Lakes in Fox Lake at the start of the summer. To learn more about the cops’ strategy to enforcing the state’s boating restrictions, watch the three-minute video below.

The most telling comment, in our opinion, occurs at 1:35. “A lot of what the officers do out here is about balancing,” McKinney tells the Tribune. It’s not only about the enforcement side of things; it’s also about assuring everyone’s safety.”

McKinney is correct. The purpose of Illinois boating regulations is not to impose fines and ruin a day at the lake. Instead, they’re designed to safeguard boaters, swimmers, fishermen, and anybody else who wants to take advantage of our region’s incredible natural resources.

With that in mind, we urge you to pay particular attention to the ten most prevalent Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act breaches. Do whatever it takes to avoid committing these infractions and face the consequences, which can include boating accidents, injuries, and deaths in addition to penalties.

Failure to Have Required Personal Flotation Device (PFD, or Life Preserver)

For each person on board, you must have at least one personal flotation device (PFD) certified by the United States Coast Guard (USCG). One of the following PFDs is required:

  • Type I or II — A PFD can lift an unconscious person from a face-down position in the water to a vertical or slightly backward position.
  • Type III – A PFD can hold a conscious person in the water vertical or slightly backward.

You must also have at least one Type IV PFD, which is a PFD that may be tossed to a person in the water, if the boat is 16 feet or longer. You must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when driving a personal watercraft (PWC), such as a jet ski. You must have at least one PFD on board if you are pushing someone along on water skis or a tube (or the person must be wearing it).

The PFD must be “easy to access” and “serviceable” in order to be used. It must also be the correct size for the person who will be wearing it. The approval label from the USCG must be readable.

Failure to have a mandatory PFD on board the boat might result in a petty charge being issued. It can also lead to significantly worse outcomes. According to the IDNR, 14 of the 20 people killed in Illinois watercraft incidents in 2014 may have survived if they had worn a PFD.

Failure to Wear a Required PFD (for ages 13-under)

Anyone on board a boat that is smaller than 26 feet in length must wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times if they are under the age of 13. The following are the only two exceptions to this rule:

We strongly advise you to pay attention to this criteria. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 20 persons have died in Illinois each year due to drowning, including children, on average since 1964.

Boating Under the Influence (BUI)

In Illinois, you can’t operate a boat if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08 or more, or if you’re under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the three “that renders you incapable of properly operating any watercraft.”

As you may expect, the criminal implications are serious. A Class A misdemeanor is a first-time crime. If the following conditions are met, the offense becomes a Class 4 felony with a one-year minimum penalty and a maximum of 12 years in prison:

  • You cause an accident that causes great bodily harm, permanent impairment, or disfigurement to another person; or you cause an accident that causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or disfigurement to another person.
  • Because of a past BUI conviction, your boating license was revoked or suspended at the time of the infraction.

If you create an accident that kills another person, you are guilty of a Class 2 felony. You could be sentenced to a minimum of three years and a maximum of fourteen years in prison.

Boating after drinking any amount of alcohol or using any drug (illegal or prescription) is extremely risky. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, alcohol was implicated in nearly one out of every five watercraft incidents in 2014.

If you have any reservations, read this story from the Daily Herald of a sad incident on the Chain O’ Lakes in July 2012. It resulted in the death of a 10-year-old boy and the guy convicted of boating while under the influence of alcohol and cocaine receiving a 10-year prison sentence.

Careless or Reckless Operation

Anyone who operates a boat in a “careless or inconsiderate manner” that endangers others, or who drives the boat at an unreasonably fast pace, is in violation of Illinois law. For example, failing to:

The law also prohibits anyone from operating a boat in a “reckless” manner. This implies operating the boat in a way that puts “any person’s life, limb, or property in jeopardy willfully or wantonly.” It may consist of the following:

A violation can result in a Class A misdemeanor penalty or a Class 4 felony conviction if it is egregious.

Entering a No-Boat Zone or Driving Above No-Wake Speed

You must not enter an area that has been clearly identified by buoys or other devices as a zone restricted to only swimmers or anglers. Additionally, you are not allowed to run a boat faster than “no wake” speed, which is 5 mph or less, within 150 feet of a public launching ramp. A violation is a minor infraction that puts you at risk of striking someone else, which can be fatal.


When a boat becomes overcrowded, passengers may tumble overboard or the boat may capsize. Weather and ocean conditions might play a role in these kinds of mishaps. According to the IDNR, capsizing accidents accounted for one-fourth of the state’s boating fatalities in 2014.

For these reasons, Illinois law bans anybody from operating a motor boat that is “laden over its safe carrying capacity with passengers or goods.” A violation of this law is considered a minor infraction.

Improper Towing

You must adhere to specific guidelines if you want to take someone waterskiing or tubing. These prerequisites are as follows:

  • Never tow another vehicle at night (30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes hour before sunrise)
  • Never ride through locations where the person being towed might collide with someone or something.

You must also display a bright orange flag that is at least 12 inches by 12 inches, according to a new regulation. It must be positioned “at the highest point surrounding the boat’s helm” so that it may be seen from all sides.

Riding Gunwales

If you allow anyone on board your boat to ride or sit on the gunwales while it is in operation, you will be fined. Additionally, passengers are not permitted to ride or sit on the tops of seat backs or on the decking above the bow or tail of the boat.

Violations of this law pose numerous safety dangers. By hitting the boat, a person can easily fall overboard and sustain a head injury, which can lead to drowning or near-drowning.

Unlawful Operation

Under current Illinois law, no child under the age of ten is permitted to operate a motor boat. A youngster between the ages of 10 and 12 can only operate a motor boat if accompanied by a parent, guardian, or someone 18 or older that the parent or guardian has designated. If a youngster is under the age of 18, he or she must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or designee or possess a valid Boating Safety Certificate.

On January 1, 2016, a new law goes into force. If you were born on or after January 1, 1998, you must have a valid IDNR or state-issued boating safety certificate “The IDNR has “recognized and approved” an entity or group to operate a boat with more than 10 horsepower.

A kid between the ages of ten and twelve must be accompanied by an adult “under the direct on-board supervision” of a parent, guardian, or designee who holds a current Boating Safety Certificate. If the parent/guardian/designee criterion is met or the child obtains a valid Boating Safety Certificate, a youngster under the age of 18 can operate a boat.

You could be charged with a petty misdemeanor if you enable your child to drive a boat in violation of the law. Of However, if a child who lacks the strength, abilities, training, judgment, and experience to operate a motor boat causes an accident, you may be held liable.

Failing to Properly Register and Title a Boat

A boat must be titled and registered if it is operated in Illinois waters (and you must also properly display your registration number). To operate the boat on specific waterways, you may also require a permit.

These monies can be used to pursue boating infractions as well as other vital safety measures like dredging, as Sergeant McKinney says in the Chicago Tribune video. Finally, this is why it’s critical to achieve these standards.

Do I need to register my boat in Illinois?

The requirements for registering a vessel differ from one state to the next. To operate a vessel legally on public waters in Illinois, you must have an Illinois Certificate of Number (registration), expiration decals, and a Certificate of Title. The following are exceptions to the requirement to register recreational vessels:

  • Vessels that have been duly registered in another state and have been in Illinois waters for less than 60 days
  • Vessels that have been documented with the United States Coast Guard (USCG) that have been in Illinois waters for fewer than 60 days.

A Certificate of Title is not required for vessels under 21 feet in length.

Are life jackets required on kayaks in Illinois?

Everyone on board a vessel must have a wearing, readily available PFD (Personal Flotation Device) authorized by the US Coast Guard. Type I, II, III, and V PFDs have been approved.

A Type V PFD, on the other hand, must be worn in order to meet the standards. Other types of life jackets are not required to meet standards, but they are strongly recommended.

All kayaks, canoes, and recreational watercraft are subject to this law. If your boat is more than 16 feet long, you must additionally have a throwable Type IV PFD on board and easily accessible. However, regardless of length, kayaks and canoes do not require a throwable device.

Why is boat insurance so expensive?

Aside from where you live, other factors influence the cost of boat insurance, including:

  • Fishing boats, pontoon boats, sailboats, and other personal watercraft all have distinct features that can affect the price of your insurance.
  • The horsepower of the boat: Boats with more powerful motors, such as powerboats, have higher rates.
  • Insurance costs may be lower for more experienced boaters than for novice boaters with less expertise on the water.

Does insurance cover boat sinking?

Yes, most boat insurance policies cover sinking, however there are a few prominent policy restrictions to be aware of. Boat insurance should usually cover your vessel if it sinks due to a covered risk, and your policy may also cover certain salvage and removal fees.

Do boats need insurance in NJ?

Summer has arrived, which means boat owners in New Jersey will be rushing to lakes, bays, and the Atlantic Ocean to enjoy their marine vessel. However, you might be asking if you need to insurance your boat. The solution is a little more complicated.

Before you can even contemplate insuring your boat in New Jersey, you must first register it. A boat must be registered if it is used for more than 180 days. If you rent, lease, or maintain property for boat storage, you must also register your boat. All boats more than 12 feet in length must be titled at a Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) Agency in order to use New Jersey’s waterways. Aside from those severe requirements, yacht insurance is not required in New Jersey. You may still buy it, though. You might be wondering why you should get boat insurance.

How old do you have to be to not wear a lifejacket on a boat in Illinois?

Anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket at all times when aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property, according to state law.

Can you get a DUI on a kayak in Illinois?

In Illinois, can you obtain a DUI while kayaking? In Illinois, you can acquire a DUI while kayaking. Operating or allowing your watercraft to be operated by anybody while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is banned in Illinois. This includes kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, waterskis, surfboards, and similar devices. The BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) limit in Illinois is 0.08 percent or above.

  • You’re under the influence of any substance that makes it impossible for you to operate a watercraft.
  • In your blood or urine, you have any amount of cannabis, a restricted substance, or an intoxicating compound.

Illinois BUI Penalties

  • If this is your second offense, you will be compelled to take a safe boating course. A class 4 felony carries a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a $25,000 fine.
  • Causing Injury — Boating privileges may be suspended, and a class 4 felony charge may be filed.

In the end, Illinois, like the majority of other states, is serious about regulating and implementing its BUI rules. As a result, the safest bet as a watercraft operator is to avoid drinking until you are securely ashore. Also, at no time should you plan to operate any vessel while under the influence of any substance.