In Detail: New Towing / Water Ski Orange Flag Requirement in Illinois
The new regulation’s official text about the orange flag pole in Illinois is as follows (modified text is crossed out, new text is underlined):
Public Act 098-0697
SB2731 Enrolled LRB098 17464 MLW 52568 b
AN ACT concerning transportation.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Boat Registration and Safety Act is amended by changing Section 5-14 as follows:
(625 ILCS 45/5-14) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 315-9) Sec. 5-14. Towing of Persons.
A. No person may operate a motorboat that has in tow or is otherwise assisting a person on water skis, an aquaplane, or a similar contrivance in or upon any waterway, unless the motorboat has a capacity of at least 3 persons and is occupied by at least 2 competent persons.
B. No person may operate a motorboat having in tow or otherwise be assisting a person on water skis, aquaplane or similar contrivance from the period of one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise. This paragraph B does not apply to motorboats used in duly authorized water ski tournaments, competitions, exhibitions or trials therefore where adequate lighting is provided.
C. All persons operating a motorboat having in tow or otherwise assisting a person on water skis, aquaplane or similar contrivance, must be careful and prudent in their operation and keep at a reasonable distance from persons and property so as not to endanger the life or property of any person.
D. No person may operate or manipulate any vessel, tow rope or other device by which the direction or location of water skis, aquaplane, or similar device may be affected or controlled in such a way as to cause the water skis, aquaplane, or similar device, or any persons thereon to collide with or strike against any person or object, except ski jumps, buoys and like objects normally used in competitive or recreational skiing.
E. The operator of any watercraft that is towing a person or persons shall display on the watercraft a bright or brilliant orange flag measuring not less than 12 inches per side. The flag shall be displayed at the highest point of the area surrounding the boat’s helm as to be visible from all directions, continuously, while the person or persons being towed depart the boat in preparation for towing and until reentry into the boat when the activity has ceased. Display of the flag for purposes other than the activity described in this Section is prohibited.
(Source: P.A. 90-412, eff. 1-1-98.)
Effective Date: 1/1/2015