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Paddling Club Rendezvous

The Illinois Paddling Council

The Illinois Paddling Council (IPC) was organized in 1963 and is a not-for-profit association of paddlers and paddling organizations in Illinois. The Illinois Paddling council is dedicated to promoting the safe enjoyment of all phases of canoeing and kayaking in Illinois, to assure access to the state's waters and to protect and preserve the natural resources within the state.

The Illinois Paddling Council strives to:

  • Improve access to Illinois waterways.
  • Advocate for the conservation and restoration of Illinois rivers and lakes.
  • Provide information about paddlesport to paddlers and the general public.
  • Promote paddling safety and education.
  • Promote paddling competition and sanction races in Illinois.

Illinois Paddling Council Activities and Programs:

  • The IPC holds bi-monthly meetings and periodically publishes a newsletter of interest to all Illinois Paddlers.
  • The IPC Access Project works with government agencies, public and private landowners to provide safe, legal and adequate access for human powered watercraft to the waterways of Illinois; provides information to paddlers and the general public about access; and advocates the creation of regional systems of watertrails throughout Illinois .
  • Water TrailKeepers provides stewardship for Illinois Water Trails
  • Paddlers Patrol provides safety at paddling events
  • The IPC sanctions USCA Marathon Races throughout Illinois and holds an annual awards banquet.
  • The IPC has been an active participant in the Conservation Congress, representing the concerns of paddlers to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.


IPC Membership is open to all individuals, families and paddling clubs.


Thank you all for sharing your WUS purchase/non-purchase experience which I  summarized and passed on to IDNR. I have also had numerous email exchanges with Michael Stevens in the Legislative Office, and below is the latest summary of what is known about WUS:
1)     PHONE NUMBER FOR WUS/REGISTRATION ISSUES – The main number for the boat licensing office is 217-524-0616, but the boat registration page on the DNR web site (http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/boating/Pages/RegistrationTitlingWatercraft.aspx) lists other numbers for telephone registrations.
2)     CUSTOMER NUMBER – Either a SSN or DNR Customer Number is needed to buy a WUS.  If you have an existing registration and can provide the details on the registration form that you received with your prior sticker, you can obtain your IDNR customer number by calling 866-867-3542.  Although some have reported calling the DNR office to get a customer number, the DNR says you CANNOT obtain a NEW customer number via the phone if you are not in IDNR’s system.
3)     HULL and REGISTRATION NUMBERS - When purchasing a WUS at a point-of- sale, it is not mandatory to provide your Hull Number or prior registration number.  If you do not have these, please tell the POS clerk to enter “NONE” into the respective field.
4)     WHAT IS THE WUS? – The DNR insists that the WUS is a STAMP, though Illinois law requires providing SSN only for sale of licenses or permits (to help track down parents owing child support) – so the question of what a WUS is legally is still not clear. The DNR clearly states that a WUS will not satisfy reciprocal agreements with other states with canoe/kayak registration (see next item).
5)     ALTERNATIVE STICKER OPTION - If you plan to take your boat out of state – to a state that requires reciprocal registration – OR you don’t want to buy a WUS every year, you can register your boat as a Class 1 watercraft, and purchase a registration sticker as you have now (not a WUS), valid for three years. The cost is $18 and you need to provide the same information as in (2) above. Payment option is by check or credit card; for the latter there is a $4 convenience fee assessed. Opting for the three year registration renewal option only makes sense for those who have already registered their boats in the old system, and been through the sometimes-onerous titling process.  Call the boat registration renewal number at 866-867-3542. Note that the DNR online registration renewal process will NOT work for non-powered watercraft.
6)     MULTIPLE WUS PURCHASES – Although the law states that for more than 3 WUS purchased at a time, the cost drops to $3 per WUS – livery owners have found that the POS equipment can only process 9 WUS as a single transaction.  The DNR has now supposedly informed all POS retailers to honor the letter of the law, and provide the discount for all WUS beyond the first three, but all must be purchased on THE SAME DAY. While this will likely only affect liveries, it was a hiccup in the system that the DNR did not realize/plan for.
7)     OUT OF STATE BOATERS – IDNR responded that out of state paddlers are required to purchase WUS as a matter of “fairness”. This issue has not been resolved, and has implications not only for tourism, but for well-known paddling races such as the Chicago Shoreline Marathon (participants from out of the country - without SSN), and the Des Plaines Marathon (out of state racers must purchase WUS for their boats).  Discussion with DNR continues.    
8)     INNER TUBE WUS EXEMPTION – IDNR explained that inner tubes are exempt from the WUS (offering refunds for anyone who had purchased an inner tube WUS) because these have not been designed to be water craft – although they use the same resources as do other boaters.  All other devices designed to be used on water are required to have a WUS.
Please let me know if there are any other issues that I need to address with the IDNR.
Thank you all for sharing your experience. Feel free to pass on this information to any of your paddling friends. Thank you.