Boating law sneaking by
Rockford area boat dealers, marinas and many individual boaters seem to be unaware of a proposed boating law that has already cleared the Illinois Senate.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Larry Woolard of Carterville and was passed by the Senate 32-24. The measure now heads for the House. If approved there, it will become law next Jan. 1.
Some boaters are angry and alarmed at this legislation. The bill calls for all boats registered in Illinois to have reflective material, such as tape, one inch wide on each side of the boat. It must be visible above the water line. Original language in the bill required reflective material all around the hull.
Boater Allen Penticoff is incensed at the bill. He argues that it is unnecessary because there exist similar requirements imposed by the U.S. Coast Guard. He also said many larger boats are equipped with lights, and boats without lights should not be on the water at night. Most boats, he said, do not have headlights.
Penticoff further argues that a reflective strip would be an ugly addition to most boats. Finally, he said, Illinois would be the only state to have such a law.
Two dealers contacted by The Rock River Times were unaware of the legislation and said they had heard nothing about it from boaters. One said the reflective stripe would be ugly, especially on fiberglass boats. The other dealer had no opinion on the issue.
Penticoff urges boaters to contact their state legislators and protest this bill, which he says will cost boaters money and alter the look of their watercraft.