What started out as an idea to make sure kids knew how to drive a boat before their parents unleashed them on the boating public is working its way up to all of us.
It apparently does not matter if people have been safely operating a boat for decades.
A majority of the Illinois State Senate voted for the following (relevant portion not about kids excerpted below):
Beginning January 1, 2016, the owner of a motorboat or a person given supervisory authority over a motorboat shall not permit a motorboat with over 10 horse power to be operated by a person not possessing a valid Boating Safety Certificate as required by this Section.
Read the entire bill here.
I know about Senate Bill 3433 because it was just featured on the 5 O’clock News on ABC Channel 7.
Don’t forget the instructors stand to make a lot of money. They will be required to have taken an 8-hour course.
The Department of Natural Resources is mandated to “develop and provide a method for students to complete the program online,” but, in the same section, there is a reference to “online vendors,” so rest assured there will be money flowing to favored firms.
When I looked up the Senate roll call, I found it was taken on April 9th. It reads 54-0.
Pam Althoff voted in favor. Dan Duffy and Karen McConnaughay did not vote.
It is now up for a final vote in the Illinois House on what is called “short debate.”
That means it is not considered to be a controversial bill.
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The last time my boat almost got hit on Crystal Lake, a teenage girl from the North Shore was at the wheel. When I went to her dock, she wanted me to know that she had the certificate that came from this program.