Illinois Cuts Back on Boating Regulations With June 1 Law Changes

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Every single one of the 140 canoes at Ayers Landing had a new water usage stamp placed on it at the beginning of the boating season.

But by June 1, the stamps will be useless.

Illinois has repealed the “Water Usage Stamp” required for all non-motorized watercraft (canoes, kayaks, etc.) effective at the start of next month.

The stickers cost $6 plus a 50 cent agent fee.

“We’d already bought (the stamps) before they told us we won’t need them,” said Bickett, who owns and operates Ayers Landing, a canoe rental spot on the Fox River near Wedron.

Bickett said the state still required the stickers before June 1 this year or boaters would be at risk of a ticket. But he said the law change would be more convenient in the future.

“It will save us money,” he said.

Along with the water usage stamp, Illinois has a few new changes to boating laws, which take effect in June.

More on usage stamps

At Debo Ace Hardware in Peru, sales of the water usage stamp have been very slow leading up to its final days of existence.

“We’ve sold a couple of them,” said Dana Debo-Kuhne. “It was never a very popular item to begin with.”

In 2016, Illinois sold about 58,000 of the stamps, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources latest annual boating report.

But if the stamp is no longer needed, what do kayakers or canoers have to do to get on the water?

The answer is nothing — unless they want to.

“It is recommended to register your boat, just in case something were to happen,” said IDNR spokesman Ed Cross.

He said registering a kayak or canoe with the state shows proof that the craft is yours, which can be helpful in the case of loss, theft or accidents. However, it is not a requirement.

Nic Keegan, a partner with Hennepin Marine, said the lack of record keeping could end up problematic if a boat owner does need to be located by IDNR.

“Now we’ll have boats that have no ID other than the hull number,” he said.

That is why both Cross and Keegan recommended the registration process.

Cross said three year registration is $18, which would be a similar price to purchasing the water usage stamp each year.

The state made the change to the stamp provision because it had issues sticking to boats and fading in the sun, Cross said.

“We received a lot of complaints from folks about the stamp,” he said.

Jin Guo of Chicago stretches to get in his boat after launching at the Starved Rock ramp Tuesday morning.
No title necessary

If your boat is under 22 feet in length, you will no longer need proof that you own it.

One change affecting boaters of both motorized or self-propelled boats is they will no longer need a certificate of title if the watercraft is not more than 22 feet long.

“That does affect a lot of our boat owners,” Keegan said. “But we’re going to continue to title these boats. And we encourage all boat owners to do the same thing.”

Again, Keegan said the certificate of title is a good thing to have because it shows proof that you are the owner.

“And it’s a minimal cost,” he said, adding that is a $10 charge.

Longer expiration dates

The final change to the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act is the expiration date change for Illinois watercraft registrations. The date change is simply pushed back from June 30 to Sept. 30. For example, all watercraft owners who renew their three-year registrations that are expiring June 30 will have a valid registration until Sept. 30, 2021, according to IDNR.

Source: News Tribune