Have you ever been boating on a river or lake in Illinois and saw some boats flying orange flags and wondered what they are for?

Amazon.com, Canva
Amazon.com, Canva

The Perfect Summer Day in Illinois


To many people, hitting the waves on a sunny day behind a boat sounds like pure summer bliss, but let's be honest, nobody wants their day on the water to turn into a scene from Jaws, (minus the shark part), and that is where Illinois' Ski Flag Law comes in.

Please allow me to explain...

What Is Illinois' Ski Flag Law?

My brother owns a ski boat, and for Christmas he asked for an orange flag and pole to attach to his boat, and even though I had no idea what it is for, I bought it for him anyway.

After he opened his present I then had to ask; "what the heck is this for anyway?"

His reply was simple. If you are pulling a skier, tuber, kneeboarder, etc. behind your boat on Illinois waters, you must be flying an orange (or red) flag to make sure other boaters are aware there is a person 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.

Just to be clear, if you are pulling a person in the water, a ski flag needs to be displayed at all times, not just when they fall. If the police see a ski rope in the water and no ski flag flying, you WILL get fined, and you WILL not like it, so just don't forget!

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

Now that we've covered an important Illinois law, now let's share some ridiculous ones...

13 Stupid Illinois Laws

20 of The Best and Worst Illinois Mugshots

Say cheese, Illinois!

Gallery Credit: The Smoking Gu, Beleville PD, Champaign County Jail, McLean County Jail, Montgomery PD, Cook County Jail, DuPage County Jail, East Alton PD, Gurnee PD, Kendell Co. Sheriffs Dept, Lake County PD, Madison County Jail, Oak Lawn PD, Orland Park Police Dept, River Forrest PD, Roselle Police Department, Shiloh Police Dept, St Clair County Jail

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