Ill. police to arrest drunk boaters during holiday

Published: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 9:47 a.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013 9:51 a.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Conservation police officers are reminding Labor Day revelers that drunk boating is just as dangerous as drunk driving.

The Department of Natural Resource's police force will crack down on inebriated boaters during the weekend marking the traditional end of summer.

Deputy Police Chief Joe Morelock said all boaters should wear a life jacket and those drinking alcohol should designate a sober skipper.

Operating a boat under the influence is a misdemeanor crime for a first offense. It can bring a jail sentence of up to a year and a $2,500 fine.

Conservation police will also conduct "standard vessel inspections" to ensure safety rules are being followed. Everyone on board must have a "personal floatation device" available.

Police will also crack down on drunk drivers around lakes and in parks.

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