There’s been a significant increase in the number of Iowa kids who’re taking the state water safety course. Kids between the ages of 12 and 17 can’t legally operate a “personal watercraft” like a jet-ski, if they’ve not passed the course. The new law went into effect January 1st, and Rod Slings of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says since then about three-thousand Iowa teens have taken the course. There are 214,000 registered boats in Iowa, and Slings says only 10 to 15 percent are personal watercraft. In 2002, 600 boating safety certificates were issued, so there’s been a five-fold increase in test-takers so far this year. Slings doesn’t know how many tickets have been issued to teenagers who’ve used a personal watercraft without having the safety certificate. Slings says officers submit a “citation report” at the end of the year, and that’s when he’ll know how many tickets were issued. But he isn’t hearing of many problems. Slings says, for the most part, officers “report good compliance” with the law.
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