The Illinois Liquor Control Commission iis cautioning boaters in the state about the hazards of Boating Under the Influence (BUI), emphasizing its potential risks for passengers, swimmers, and other vessels.
As temperatures soar and boating gains popularity as a way to beat the heat, statistics reveal the dangers of alcohol consumption while boating. The 2022 Illinois Recreational Boating Report shows that BUI ranked second in citations issued to Illinois boaters, following lifejacket violations. Nationally, BUI is the leading contributor to fatal boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
ILCC's Executive Director, Lisa Gardner, urges Illinoisans to enjoy the state's recreational water activities responsibly. Operating any watercraft under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in Illinois. A first-offense BUI can result in a class A misdemeanor with penalties up to $2,500 and a maximum one-year jail term. In cases where a BUI accident causes someone's death, it becomes a class 2 felony with up to 14 years in prison and fines of up to $25,000.