PEORIA (WEEK) – It’s officially the 4th of July weekend, which means many people across the heart of Illinois are getting ready to go watch fireworks and also get out on the water.
Red, White and Boom were canceled this year, but there are still several opportunities to watch fireworks from the water this weekend. Direct the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police to set up “Operation Dry Water.” It is a campaign to try to educate the public about boating safety and the importance of operating boats in a sober manner.
“Our goal is to make sure everyone goes out and having fun, but also comes home safe,” said Sgt. Scott Avery of the Illinois Conservation Police. “It’s usually a huge weekend boating opportunity. Accidents can happen so quickly, it’s fun, it’s recreational, but on the other hand, it can be very dangerous, you can’t be safe enough. “
This June was one of the five wettest June on record in Peoria. The city saw 9.25 inches of rain, which left the Illinois River overflowing with water and debris.
“With the higher water levels you get a lot more flow and a lot of debris floating there, especially submerged objects that you can’t see that are just below the water level. It either escalates or makes the recreation much more dangerous, ”Avery explained.
The river is expected to peak at 20.1 feet on Sunday. Avery says it’s eight to nine feet tall than average, placing more emphasis on having a plan in place before taking the plunge.
“When you’re on the water it’s like driving a car, you have to have a plan b. That is, what happens when the engine of this boat breaks down, or what if I hit a submerged tree stump, or you name it, and he drills a hole in your boat, what will be your plan b? So you need to have some mental forethought and some pre-planning of what you’re going to do if you break down on the water, ”Avery continued.
Conservation police said barge traffic would not stop this weekend, adding more things to know when on the river. In addition to the conservation police, several other agencies will have boats on duty to make sure things go as smoothly as possible.