Jet skiers on Lake Coeur d’Alene and around the state could face new rules under a bill introduced Wednesday by Sen. Mary Lou Reed, D-Coeur d’Alene.
The bill restricts the use of the popular water machines to those 16 and older unless someone 18 or older is riding on the jet ski with them, Reed said. Jet skiers would be able to travel at no wake speed - about 5 mph - when within 100 feet of a boat or dock under the bill.
The bill also would prohibit jet skis jumping the wake from boats, one of the most popular moves for riders.
Jet ski riders would be required to wear life jackets under the bill and could operate the jet skis from 8 a.m. to sundown only.
Lake Coeur d’Alene saw several jet ski-related accidents last summer, and Reed said marine deputies would welcome the rules to make waterways safer.
Reed points to state figures that show jet skis make up only 7 percent of water craft on Idaho waterways, but are involved in 23 percent of all water accidents.The bill will have a hearing in the Senate Resources and Environment committee in a week or two, Reed said.
Committee members were concerned about how to enforce the new provisions. The state gave the marine enforcement office $900,000 last year to patrol the waters, Reed said, and the state could enforce the new rules with the same resources, she said.