If you own a boat and often use it in Illinois waters, there is one law you need to remember, especially if you love to ski.

Boating Fun in Illinois

In my opinion, the best way to have summer fun always involves water. Taking a relaxing ride on a pontoon, paddling in a kayak, going tubing behind a boat, or just floating, I don't care, I'm up for it all!


The majority of water fun I do in the summer takes place at our family cabin in Wisconsin, and this past weekend, while spotting our kids tubing behind my brother's speedboat, I heard him say something I never heard before. My brother said; "oh crap, I forgot to put up my flag!" He then immediately followed the statement with; "oh wait, I don't need it...we're in Wisconsin".

What is this flag he speaks of? An American flag? A pirate flag? I have never seen my brother fly a flag on his boat, but then I've never been boating with him in Illinois either.

Do You Know About Illinois' Ski Flag Law?

Call me dumb if you need to, but I was last Saturday days old when I learned Illinois has a Ski Flag Law that applies to any boat owner who is pulling riders in the water. By riders, I mean waterskiers, tubers, wakeboarders, parasailers, etc. If your boat is pulling a person behind it, you need to fly an orange or red flag to let other boaters know they need to be on the lookout for people in the water.


Illinois law defines a "ski flag" as;

a red or orange flag measuring no less than 12 inches on each side, in the shape of a square or rectangle and mounted or displayed on a motorboat in such a manner as to be visible from every direction.

Illinois' Boat Registration and Safety Act states a ski flag needs to be displayed;

to indicate a downed water skier, a water skier in the water preparing to ski, a water skiing line extended from the motorboat, or a ski in the water in the vicinity of the motorboat.

Basically, if you're towing someone alongside or behind your boat on Illinois waters, you need to raise a ski flag. Forgetting to do so will get you stopped by the police and issued a fine of at least $25, which is never a good thing.

Ski flags can be purchased at any boat retailer or for around $10 on Amazon.

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