Wee-Ma-Tuk Boating Rules and Regulations Approved by the WMT Landowners Association Voting members 11/17/2000
General 1. All operators of watercraft will comply with all of the rules and regulations of the State of Illinois and the U.S. Coast Guard governing the use and operation of said watercraft. All provisions of the Illinois Boat Registration and Safety Act will be enforced on Lake Wee-Ma-Tuk and other Wee-Ma-Tuk lakes. Violators of these boating rules may risk losing their boating privileges.
2. As an advisory, all owners and operators of boats and watercraft operating on the lakes should carry liability and property damage insurance.
3. All boats must travel in a counterclockwise direction and are expected to be operated in a safe and courteous manner.
4. A designated “No Wake” area shall be observed for the safety of those putting in and taking out of boats. No wake allowed between Wee-Ma-Tuk docks and markers.
5. According to state law, sailboats have the right-of-way over all other boats.
6. All boats shall carry a container acceptable for holding litter/refuse and must be emptied into a proper receptacle, not into the lake.
Water Skiing 1. According to state law, skiers and speedboats must stay a distance of 100 feet (approximately the length of 1 ½ ski ropes) from docks and other boats and skiers except when docking.
2. According to state law, there must be a spotter in addition to the boat driver (2 persons) when towing skiers. This rule applies to all personal watercraft as well. As a general rule, this would also apply to tubers.
3. According to state law, skiing is allowed only from sunrise to sunset. In Illinois, specifically, water skiing is prohibited from one half hour after sunset to one half hour prior to sunrise.
4. Do not trail ski rope except when returning to a fallen skier.
5. According to state law, water skiers must wear a life jacket. A ski belt is not an approved personal flotation device according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Boats 1. Present owners of boats will receive a special boating sticker, which is purchased through the Wee- Ma-Tuk Land Owners Association, to display on his/her boat/watercraft (to indicate a Wee-Ma-Tuk land owner or Club member. No boats of any type should be on Wee-Ma-Tuk lakes without current year sticker. Outboards may be inspected at any time if it is felt there may be a violation of the 125HP limit.
Boating stickers will not transfer to a new owner of the same boat or to a new boat. Boats purchased by a former boating sticker owner will receive a new sticker.
2. Maximum outboard motor size to be allowed on Lake Wee-Ma-Tuk is 125HP. This would also apply to personal watercraft (jet skis, wave runners, etc…) and would be the “cc” equivalent of 125HP.
3. Maximum boat/personal watercraft length is 18 feet (excluding pontoons, which are limited to 24 feet). Cabin type and houseboats are prohibited on all lakes at Wee-Ma-Tuk.
4. No watercraft shall operate at a speed in excess of 40 miles per hour. The newer watercrafts have speedometers to monitor speed.
5. No watercraft shall operate in a careless or unsafe manner.
6. Watercraft must stay 100 feet away from a swimmer (but not a water skier) and within 200 feet of a swimming beach or float, diving platform or life line, or passenger landing before being used, and can only travel at a maximum speed of 5 miles per hour in each of these particular areas.
7. As an advisory, during high water periods a “No Wake” policy is to be followed to keep from damaging sea walls and property. Have respect for the high water and stay clear of sea walls. The lake level during the high water periods is to be determined by the Wee-Ma-Tuk Drainage District.
8. There shall be no commercial enterprises of any nature utilizing Lake Wee-Ma-Tuk.
9. Anyone who in the past 7 days has had their boat in the Illinois River of any other waters other than those lake at Wee-Ma-Tuk, must before launching into the lakes at Wee-Ma-Tuk, wash their boat and trailer with a high pressure washer and visually inspect the underside of both the boat and trailer for zebra mussels. Live well and bilge areas must also be washed with a bleach solution and inspected.
10. No one under the influence of alcohol may operate a boat or personal watercraft.
11. Racing of boats or person watercraft is prohibited.
Other 1. All boats will comply with the State of Illinois registration and regulation rules:
Life Preservers: All boats shall carry a U.S. Coast Guard approved life preserver, ring buoy, buoyant vest or buoyant cushion in good serviceable condition for each person on board.
Lights: all vessels must show required running lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility as listed below. An anchor light is an all-around white light exhibited where it can best be seen and is visible for 2 miles. Power-driven vessels and sailing vessels at anchor must display anchor light. Exceptions are vessels less than 23 feet (7 meters) in length are not required to display anchor lights unless anchored in or near a narrow channel or anchorage, or where other vessels normally navigate. Only law enforcement vessels may use blue lights.
a) A bright white light aft to show all around the horizon, visible for a distance of 2 miles. “Visible” indicates visibility on dark night with a clear sky.
b) A combination light in the forepart of the boat lower than the white light aft, showing green to starboard and red to port, so fixed as to throw a light from dead ahead to 2 points abaft the beam on their respective sides and visible for a distance of not less than 1 mile.
c) Watercraft propelled by muscular power when underway shall carry on board from sunset to sunrise, but not fixed to any part of the boat, a lantern or flashlight capable of showing a white light visible all around the horizon at a distance of 2 miles or more, and shall display such lantern in sufficient time to avoid collision with another watercraft.
Fire Extinguishers: all motorboats equipped with an internal combustion engine shall carry, at least, one U.S. Coast Guard approved fire extinguisher, so placed as to be readily accessible and in such condition as to be ready for immediate and effective use.
2. Other Lakes: All other lakes, with the exception of Lake Wee-Ma-Tuk, are limited to electric trolling motors.
Before leaving office, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to help improve safety on Illinois waterways. The three new laws expand boating safety education, improve safety and awareness of water skiers and tubers, and increase penalties for those who operate watercraft under the influence.
All three news laws were effective Jan. 1, 2015.
Senate Bill 3434 allows for the seizure of a watercraft used in the commission of certain offenses related to operating under the influence. The new rules bring penalties for boating under the influence more in line with those for operating a motor vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
“Boats are every bit as dangerous as cars, and boat operators should be held to the same standard as drivers,” State Senator Julie Morrison said. Senate Bill 3433 requires all persons born after Jan. 1, 1998, to take and pass a boating safety course validated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and hold a valid boating safety certificate before they can operate a motorboat with an engine over 10 horsepower. State Representative Kelly Burke said, “Boating is a great recreational activity which I hope more people will participate in, but there are risks to everyone involved, novice and experts alike.”
Senate Bill 2731, which mandates that the operator of any watercraft that is towing a person, such as a water skier or tuber, must display a bright orange flag measuring not less than 12 inches per side. The flag must be displayed from the time the person to be towed leaves the boat until that person returns to the boat at the conclusion of the activity.
I have checked several different stores and online sites: Buell’s Marine, Bass Pro Shop, Amazon, Gander Mountain, Overton’s Water Sports, and these places all have the orange flags and holders depending on type of flag. There will be more information and an example on how to attach for both boats and jet skis. I am sure many other places online have these as well if your shopping preference does not include one of the above stores. Prices range from $5 on up; Buell’s flags sell for $8 and attach to vessel. The higher cost flag units may have a holder that will pivot depending on if you are towing or not.
We may be landowners on a set of private lakes, but state laws still apply and tickets/fines can be issued by IDNR, who can show up any time; this includes having an up-to-date fishing license. Please be safe on the water and follow all state laws including these new ones. Boater's education website: http://www.boat-ed.com/illinois/boating_law.html