Iowa clamps down on snowmobile 'water skipping'

Publish Date: 
Apr 16, 2012

Hoping to prevent needless deaths of thrillseekers, Iowa’s Senate has approved a bill that would fine riders $100 for as “water skipping” – driving snowmobiles on open water.

Sen. Merlin Bartz, R-Grafton, says water-skipping sporting events, some of which take place in Iowa, can lead to death. If the racer lets off of the throttle, the snowmobiles can sink.

Senate File 2331 makes it illegal to operate a snowmobile without measurable snow on any public waterway, except on rivers and streams, between the months of Nov. 1 and April 1.

The bill also requires Iowa residents to buy permits to operate snowmobiles on public land. Permits will carry a $15-a-year fee; residents will be able to renew passes for one or three years at a time. The fee, new to in-state residents, was requested by the Iowa Snowmobile Association, according to the Des Moines Register. The estimated $348,000 annual fees collected would expand trail development and maintenance.

The bill has passed both state houses and now awaits the governor’s signature

Posted by Holly Wagner

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