New boat laws aim to make waters safer

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Governor Pat Quinn signed three bills aimed at tightening boater safety.

One bill allows police to seize a boat or other water craft operated by someone under the influence.

Another measure requires anyone born after 1997 to take a boating safety course before operating a boat with an engine larger than 10 horsepower.

And the third bill requires boat operators to display a 12-inch-by-12-inch orange flag when someone skis or tubes behind the boat.

All the laws take effect next year.

The legislation comes after Tony Borcia, 10, of Libertyville was killed on the Chain O’ Lakes two years ago.

The boy was riding in an inner tube towed by a pontoon operated by his father. The child fell off the tube and into the water. While his father turned the boat around to pick him up, a 29-foot boat ran over him even though Borcia was wearing a reflective life jacket and waving his arms frantically.

The operator of the boat, David Hatyina, 52, pled guilty to operating his boat under the influence of alcohol and cocaine. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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  • Boating is now a little safer

    These bills are some of the best legislative bills that I have seen Gov Quinn since he has been in office period.
    Sadly a little boy’s life had to be lost first.
    If you boat, please remember there are No Brakes on a boat to stop it like a car. Don’t Drink And Operate a motorized vehicle of any type.
    Sorry and being apologetic after the fact doesn’t undo the damage you could cause.

    • Bill

      Boating is now safer because a law was made? Hahaha ok? It was illegal to operate a watercraft intoxicated before this incident. They are using this accident as an excuse to seize boats and when they sell them who gets the money? What a joke!

    • Dan

      This state can go to hell. Leaving before the land is worthless. He already broke laws, you don’t have to make it an excuses to grab property. I don’t drink however 1/4 of the 25,000 boaters on the chain get DUI’s, that is going to be a mighty big haul of cash. Hope you rot in hell Mr. Quinn you scum property grabber

  • charles

    Sorry to see it takes loss of life and laws to get people to use common sense. Boating is a family fun day and no need to be drinking and doing drugs. Our sympathy goes to all who have lost because of stupidity.

  • Wake Up and Smell the Coffee

    Laws reported wrong. Boat seizure only for repeat offenders. Too bad the news can’t get it right. Per boat, per incident the Chain of Lakes is the safest waterway in the state of Illinois. This is just political family power trip.

  • Captain Logical

    Im sorry that an irresponsible parent had to garner this type of bogus. Heres the reality – if someone in a democratic society earns money and purchases an asset, no one can come and take that assset away. Its called theft and is a felony. So no, Quinn, you cant just jack peoples sh*t. Sorrry champ.

    • Dan

      Hate to say your wrong but they do and have been taking peoples property. If you check into it they use excuses like the war on drugs or drunk boaters. There have been many reports for about twenty years now. In many cases there are no arrests and you have to bring them to court. Most lawyers wont touch these cases and the few that do get tall cash upwards of 30,000. IT has name now its called; policing for money. They keep your stuff and sell it, then use the money for themselves. Its self serving and very wrong however done every day. Yes, right here in America.

  • Steve

    More people die in car accidents In one month than die in boating accidents in two years . The chain o lakes which is the largest inland body of water in Illinois is the safest place to boat.we have not had any boat to boat accidents resulting in death since mr borcia got his son killed by cutting thru traffic with his son on a tube . He deserved the same sentence as mr haytina except his sentence should have been for stupidity

  • Keith Vaughn

    Maybe the Borcia’s should have known they were putting their child in a dangerous situation by tubing with him on one of the smallest lakes on the chain. Which is also one of the busiest because of the sandbar. Why don’t all you people who don’t chain do some research. I was raised on the chain anyone who lives out here knows that water sports on that lake at that time of the day is very dangerous. If yyou don’t know that, stay off our lakes because you’re making it more dangerous for us who know what we are doing. Take your boats back to Naperville and the other suburbs.

    • Dan

      Yes, you are right, some here don’t have a clue about our waters. As one guy described it “its like putting your kid on a skateboard for a tow down 94”. This is not about safety, its about taking your boats for cash. They dish out up to 6000 DUI’s on the chain in one year. Some boats are worth over a million, they want them. Quinn has to go the bastard.

  • angiew1943

    I am amazed at the negativity expressed here regarding these new laws. You have all dumped on the father of this child who died so tragically, without saying one word about the driver of the other boat, who was drunk and on cocaine? Family friendly Chain? With people like that you are in danger whether in or out of a boat! I live near there too, and spend some time out on the water, but at certain times find it far from safe as claimed! These are sensible laws, and offenders should be treated like drunk car drivers……if you drink and drive a boat, you go to jail!

    • Keith Vaughn

      The driver of the other boat blew under the limit and the cocaine was in his system from the day before the accident.

      • angiew1943

        WGN keeps kicking me out when I try to respond to Keith’s reply to my post – so I will say that I don’t care how much alcohol or cocaine was in his system – he was still impaired when this accident happened. Maybe the father was a little naive, but a child in the water with a bright orange life vest on should be seen, and if a decent speed was being maintained – he would have been! High speed is only acceptable out in the middle of a lake – and then only if there are not too many boats around!

    • Dan

      The parents put their child in harms way. You obviously do not boat on the chain. There are over 25,000 boat stickers sold yearly. Would you also tell your kids to play hopscotch on the expressway and then blame the drive who hit them? Condone property grabs or gun control at every possible tragedy? Since you don’t boat here go away.

  • kvz0314

    News is always skewed for sensationalism. What’s not talked about is it was a rented boat with a dad who had little knowledge of the water. On the chain it is illegal to tow through channels/no wake zones. Based on the reports the father towed the boy through the channel and he fell off just after the take off point. Anyone who is familiar the lake it happened on knows that it’s basically towing a tube on the highest traffic area possible. It’s like towing a child on a skateboard on 94. While there should be the penalty for the intoxicated boat operator the child’s father is as much to blame. This crackdown is all because of the political connections from the family. While I do agree there needs to be some sort of instruction for boaters most issues surface from rented pontoons and jet skis who don’t know the proper rules of the lake. I can’t count how many times I’ve seen jet skis make cuts in front of larger crafts where one simple slip or mistake drops them into the water right in front of a 26 footer with 10 feet to stop. There needs to be a boating course for renters. Just because they have money doesn’t mean they have common sense.

    • Dan

      Yes, your spot on. Your 94 analogy good. Always was amazed at people who would put their kids in harms way as they do. Towing a kid down the river on the weekend these people should have their heads examined.

  • Suzanne Jurgens

    Our daughter Nicole died 6 years ago today by a drunk boater on Wonder Lake in Illinois. Over 2 years we waited for his trial. He also was sentenced 10 years. Time served? 3 years 10 months and they released Rick McGuire just in time for the 4th of July weekend. The same weekend our daughter died. Another slap in the face to our family. My heart goes out to this family who lost their son by a drunk/drugged boater. I know first hand the heartache of losing a child to a drunk driver and the pain stays with you forever. I really hope this will be a wake up call to those who boat intoxicated.

  • Dan

    This state can go to hell. Leaving before the land is worthless. He already broke laws, you don’t have to make it an excuses to grab property. I don’t drink however 1/4 of the 25,000 boaters on the chain get DUI’s, that is going to be a mighty big haul of cash. Hope you rot in hell Mr. Quinn you scum property grabber.