Illinois Regulatory Guide

Illinois has regulations related to the operation of vessel, including boats used for leasing. These regulations cover various aspects of vessel operation, such as equipment requirements, safety procedures, and licensing requirements for operators. On this page, we navigate you through everything you need to have in place in order to ensure that your boat rental business is compliant with Illinois’s regulations, along with some other important things to keep in mind.

Boxes you need to tick

These are requirements as defined by law:

Boating Safety Instructions

The operators of boat rental services shall offer abbreviated Department and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved operating and safety instruction

The operators of boat rental services shall offer abbreviated Department and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved operating and safety instruction specific to the type of watercraft being rented to the renter and all potential operators of the rented vessel, unless the renter/operators can demonstrate compliance with the Illinois Boating Safety Certificate requirements

Record Requirement

Operators of boat rental services shall maintain records of persons renting a watercraft

Operators of boat rental services shall:

1) maintain records of persons renting a watercraft for a period of at least one year. Those records shall contain proof of boat safety education card or, if taking the abbreviated safety instruction, a minimum of the renter's name, date of birth, driver's license number (if available) and signature.

2) provide a receipt to the renter indicating the abbreviated safety course was completed.

Age Requirement

Renter must be minimum 16 years old.

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Keep in mind when renting out boats


Safety Equipment
Boat Registration
License Requirement

Not required

List of Passengers
Safety Checklist
Rental Agreement

The information provided is intended to be general and informative, and should not be interpreted as regulatory, legal, or insurance advice. It does not constitute professional advice from a licensed insurance agent and does not establish an attorney-client or insurer-insured relationship. This information should not replace the counsel of a qualified legal, regulatory, or insurance professional. Always consult with a qualified professional for legal, regulatory, or insurance advice pertaining to your specific circumstances.

Boat Rental Accident Reporting

The operator of any vessel involved in a collision, accident or other casualty if the accident results in the loss of life, injury to a person greater than first aid, or total property damage (vessel, contents, and other property) is $2,000.00 or greater.

Instructions for reporting a Boating Accident:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Office of Law Enforcement
Attention: Boat Accident
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702

  • Report your boating accident for investigation to the either the Illinois Conservation Police or your local law enforcement agency.

Report Accident

Federal Regulation

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) regularly provides updates on recentchanges in regulation and have overviews of specific requirements for boatrental companies

Buoy is your one-stop shop for compliance & insurance

Buoy provides boat rental companies with peace of mind while saving time and money. When using Buoy’s insurance solution, we will help you get fully compliant free of charge.

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