DNR encourages life jackets before boating Memorial Day weekend - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

DNR encourages life jackets before boating Memorial Day weekend

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Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to boating season.

"Wear your life jacket."  That is the message the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is sending boaters this holiday weekend.

Conservation Police Officers like Brian Alt will be out looking for people, not following state regulations.

"Vessel inspections break down into registration, boat safety equipment and then where and how we are operating our vessels," said Alt.  "We look to make sure there is one wearable life jacket for each member on board, US Coast Guard approved.  We're shaking up the battery acid while we're on the wake and we're also drawing power from it so we don't want it arcing to a spark to cause a fire."

Alt gave a demonstration on a boat safety check.  He outlined what CPOs are searching for when they pull your boat over.

Last year there were just over 100 boating related accidents in Illinois.  The DNR says 17 people died, 77 others were hurt.  

Someone was either hurt or killed in 93-percent of those boating accidents last year, including some children.  

Fatherly instincts push Officer Alt, to help keep others safe.  

As a parent, especially when there are accidents with injuries and children with injuries, it's discouraging but it motivates you to increase your enforcement efforts and awareness efforts.

Officer Brian Alt says alcohol was a factor in 13 of the accidents and five of the fatalities in 2012.

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