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Dam Safety

Millions of Illinois residents enjoy outdoor pursuits in and along our waterways – lakes, rivers, and streams – and we encourage citizens and visitors to explore and enjoy Illinois’ tremendous outdoor experiences.


Unfortunately, a handful of trips each year end in tragedy, and it is important for each and every person to understand the potential risks inherent in water recreation and take safety precautions while boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing in a stream, especially around dams.

Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn launched the “Illinois Dam Safety Initiative” in June 2006 to educate the public about dam safety, and propose much needed changes to make our waterways safer for Illinois water enthusiasts.

Since then, progress has been made on safety measures, including the passage of House Bill 33, which now heads to the Governor’s desk for approval.  This legislation calls for standards of signs, buoys and other ways to communicate risks to the public about the dams on public waterways.

However, there is much more that can be done to inform the public and make our waterways safer, including safety on non-public waterways where many participate in recreational activities. 

Please use the resources within this website to help make your outdoor experiences safe and enjoyable.

Video Interview with Canoeist Sigrid Pilgrim

Interview with Sigrid Pilgrim

Interview with canoeist Sigrid Pilgrim, past President of The Illinois Paddling Council. She advocates increased legal and safe accessibilty to navigable Illinois waterways. In this interview she also discusses boater and dam safety.