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Here is a good site for anyone who owns a boat and are not certain about what they need to be legal. It is a course on safe boating from the Ill. DNR.

In short, to be legal you must.....
1) "Displaying the Assigned Number and Expiration Decals (625 ILCS 45/3-)

The registration number and expiration decals must be displayed as follows:

Number must be placed on each side of the forward half of the vessel.
Number must read from left to right on one line, starting with two capital letters—IL— followed by a space and four digits followed by a space and two capital letters. For example: IL 1234 AB. The decal is placed after a space at the end of the number.
Letters and numerals must be BLOCK figures at least three inches high, of a color that contrasts with its background."

I hear that they will really be looking into boat registration, even those from out of state ;) so make sure they are up to date. even canoes need registration. And make sure the boat is titled to the one its registered to.

2) PFDs/Life Jackets- "All vessels must be equipped with U.S. Coast Guard–approved life jackets called personal flotation devices or PFDs. The quantity and type depend on the length of your vessel and the number of people on board and/or being towed. Each PFD must be in good condition, the proper size for the intended wearer and readily accessible. You must be able to put on the PFD in a reasonable amount of time in an emergency. PFDs should not be kept in plastic bags, locked in closed compartments, or hidden under stowed gear."

3) Fire Extinguishers- "All vessels equipped with an internal combustion engine operating on Illinois’ waters are required to have at least one fire extinguisher on board."

4) Backfire Flame Arrestors (Inboards)-Because vessel engines may backfire, all powerboats (except outboards) fueled with gasoline must have an approved backfire flame control device installed on each carburetor.

5) Visual Distress Signals-"Vessels on federally controlled waters, including Lake Michigan, must be equipped with U.S. Coast Guard–approved visual distress signals. All vessels, regardless of length or type, are required to carry night signals when operating between sunset and sunrise. Most vessels must also carry day signals; exceptions to the requirement for day signals are:

Recreational vessels that are less than 16 feet in length
Non-motorized open sailboats that are less than 26 feet in length
Manually-propelled vessels"

6) Navigation Lights (important for night bowfishing)-"Vessel operators must make sure that their vessels are equipped with the proper navigation lights and use the lights during these conditions:

When away from the dock between sunset and sunrise
During periods of restricted visibility, such as fog or heavy rain"

7) Sound Producing Devices-"On Illinois state waters, all motorized vessels must have a mouth, hand, or power-operated whistle or other device capable of producing a blast of two seconds or more duration and audible for at least one-half mile."

Also be aware of any local regulations. AND copy the Bowfishing Under Power Letter from the club site. We obtained this several years ago because CPOs were giving tickets for bowfishing with the motor on. Trolling or main motor. They were using the wrong regulations (wildlife code) though and all tickets were thrown out. unfortunately I dont believe they are up to speed yet on bowfishing regulations as a CPO asked Evan yesterday for his disabled hunting permit due to the fact he was bowfishing with a crossbow, again, any bowfisherman in Ill. can bowfish with a crossbow, and he must have been thinking about the deer hunting regs. Its hard to believe that a bowfisherman has to tell a officer what the regs are, but Evan had to yesterday. So, keep the bowfishing regs on you as found in the Ill. Fishing digest so you can avoid problems. Obey all the laws and if you see any criminal activity such as dumping, report it to the authorities right away. You will be doing bowfishing a favor! :)2
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