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Memorial Day Weekend boat restrictions vary for Iowa and Illinois; what you should know before heading out

Two states, two different boating restrictions along the Mississippi River dividing line.

LE CLAIRE, Iowa — This Memorial Day weekend, there will be two different boating restrictions for Illinois and Iowa due to COVID-19.  With the Mississippi River separating the two, the Iowa DNR wants people to be aware of the bi-state restrictions.

On the Illinois side, up to two people will be allowed in a boat.  There can be more if it's immediate family on board.  In Iowa, you can gather in groups up to 10 people, but limit people on your board to immediate family members.

"There's really not a lot of ways to enforce that," says Scott County Conservation Officer, Jeff Harrison. "Basically, you're going to ask "hey, is everyone family on here?" Whatever they tell you is what you're going to go with."

Harrison says he will be out on the river checking for boating licenses, fishing licenses, and conducting boat safety checks. But this holiday weekend he will also look at how many people are on board.

"What we're going to do is address "hey, just stay on your own vessels"," says Harrison. "Basically, keep it to immediate family - 10 or less."

The river is divided by a green buoy marking the Iowa side and a red for Illinois.  In the middle of the two buoys is the state line.

Iowa DNR officers say if people violate the restrictions they will approach boaters and educate them.  If they refuse to listen law enforcement will get involved.