The Land of Lincoln has had a strong relationship to the water since its founding, despite being a good distance away from any ocean. Illinois has 63 miles of shoreline along Lake Michigan, and the Mississippi River makes up much of Illinois’ Western border. In addition, a substantial portion of Illinois’ Southeastern border with Indiana is the Wabash River.
Because of its location, commercial shipping has always been crucial to the city of Chicago, and Illinois by extension. The Illinois Waterway connects the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, thence to the Gulf of Mexico. The Port of Chicago also works the other direction, as the Great Lakes connect to the Atlantic Ocean via the Saint Lawrence Seaway. This connection to both arterial waterways has kept Illinois extremely relevant in commercial shipping, as both a North-South and an East-West hub.
Illinois has always retained a certain boating ethos because of its shoreline along Lake Michigan. The Illinois Waterway makes the state a necessary stop for Cruisers doing the Great Loop. That voyage is unique for the massive distance you can travel on inland waterways and wind up back in the ocean. So both power and sail cruisers frequent Illinois, but racers do
Illinois has 242,275 registered
Illinois Boat Insurance
So, does Illinois require boat insurance? Not in the slightest. The Illinois state government is in line with most other states and does not require insurance on any watercraft. However, certain circumstances do require Illinois boat insurance without fail.
- Loans: If you buy a vessel in Illinois and need a loan to do it, your lender will require you to buy Illinois boat insurance. Indeed, if your lender doesn’t prescribe some level of boat insurance, you should probably find another lender. It would be foolish for any lender to let the insurance requirement slide. Until your loan is paid off, your lender is several thousand (or hundred thousand) dollars in the red. Your boat is their collateral on that loan. If you stop paying for whatever reason, they can seize your boat. If your boat were to sink, however, it would become useless as collateral. There would be nothing to seize. Your lender doesn’t want to lose that money, so the requirement remains. Your lender will appear on the insurance policy as the lien-holder. If you file a claim at any point, the insurance check will list your lender as the co-payee.
- Marinas: Most marinas, yacht clubs, and dockyards in Illinois will require insurance. Marinas want to protect themselves financially from any mistakes their members make. If your vessel damages the boat of another guest, they would like to avoid litigation. They would vastly prefer your respective insurance companies take care of the issue.
Small Boat Insurance
So if you aren’t worried about marinas or loans, is Illinois boat insurance still worth the price? It’s a reasonable question. 9% of Illinois households use kayaks or canoes. Kayaks have become the most common affordable fishing platforms across much of the U.S., Illinois included. The shallow drafts on kayaks allow them access to incredible fishing locales in smaller lakes and rivers that are inaccessible to larger craft. In addition, many folks have paid off their pontoon or speed boat, and keep them at home. Even so, we highly recommend insurance for everyone. Boat insurance is extremely important for small boats, even if you aren’t required to have it.
You should always
You should also buy insurance on any boat you lend out, no matter how slow it is. If someone injures themselves or another person on your boat, you can be held liable, even if you were not present. In addition, Jet Skis,
Accident statistics in Illinois carry both good news and bad news. Boating accidents in 2016 were 25% down from
Boating Fatalities and Alcohol
The boating fatality rate in Illinois was a
Drinking alcohol makes safe boating impossible. It is perfectly natural to want to enjoy a few drinks out on the water, but you need to ensure that you designate a non-drinking operator. Accidents attributed to alcohol made up 13% of all Illinois boating accidents last year. Nationally, that percentage is under 8%. Anyone who has been out on Lake Michigan during the 4th of July fireworks in Chicago knows how many people boat under the influence. We urge you not to be among them. Nationwide, boating accidents under the influence of alcohol are far more likely to be fatal than other boating accidents. One of the most important things you can do for your safety on the water is to ensure that you designate a driver.
We know that insurance can be a tough pill to swallow. It is annoying to pay for something that you always hope you don’t need, and it can’t protect you or your boat from getting into accidents. It can protect you and your family financially if an accident occurs, however, and for that