Snowmobilers are eagerly getting their sleds ready in anticipation of the first significant snowfall of the season for most of the state.
While sled and safety equipment checks are underway, snowmobilers are encouraged to brush up on the rules before heading out for some winter fun.
“Winter forgot about Iowa last year so we could see more than a few operators who have not been out for two years,” said David Downing, ATV and Snowmobile coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “We’ve been working with our snowmobile clubs on rules to benefit the activity and are encouraging operators to get familiar with them.”
Downing said snowmobiles operating on any designated snowmobile trail, public land or public ice must display a current registration and a DNR user permit. Residents must display the decal and the permit decal on the windshield or near the headlight bezel.
Nonresident snowmobilers much display a current registration decal form their state of residence and a DNR user permit. If planning to operate on public land or ice, make sure machines have a current registration. The DNR user permit must be displayed on the windshield or near the headlight bezel.
Snowmobile registrations are available at the county recorder’s office. User permits can be purchased from the county recorder or any retailer selling Iowa hunting and fishing licenses.
Riders age 12 through 15 must have a valid snowmobile education certificate and be under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian. Operators age 16 and 17 must have a valid snowmobile education certificate in their possession and must not have the privilege to operate a motor vehicle suspended or revoked.
Snowmobiles operating on a public highway, including the ditch and city streets, must be covered by liability insurance. Upon request from any peace officer, the operator must provide roof of liability insurance coverage.
Operators are prohibited from driving a snowmobile upon the surface of any public water in a maneuver known as waterskipping. Waterskipping means operating s snowmobile on the surface of water using the skis, track, and bottom surface area of the snowmobile for flotation while the snowmobile is in motion. This does not apply to operating on rivers and streams between Nov. 1 and April 1.
Logo courtesy Iowa Department of Natural Resources