Beware a group of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers with a little time on their hands.

Beware a group of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers with a little time on their hands.

That’s the warning Destin resident Ken Reed has for boaters.

Reed, who has been riding the same personal watercraft for nine years, received a citation July 2 because the letters FL on his watercraft’s license plate were too far from the numbers that run beside them.

“There were four officers standing in a group and one of them started shooting the bull with me. He asked me for my registration, then politely told me my letters were mis-spaced,” Reed said. “I’ve been checked a bunch of times in the last nine years and nobody’s ever said anything.”

Reed’s riding partner, Bill Martin, said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“That may be one of the most ridiculous things I ever heard,” Martin said.

FWC spokeswoman Rebekah Nelson noted that the citation issued to Reed was just a warning, and that in most instances violations like “not properly displayed spacing of characters” are handled without a ticket being written.

“It’s more just to educate them and give them the information to fix the problem,” she said.

The FWC provides information on its website that addresses items such as the proper spacing of characters on a license tag, Nelson said.

In a second incident involving an FWC officer, this one in May, a Crestview man received a $90 ticket after apparently rescuing a boy who crawled onto his personal watercraft without a life jacket.

According to Carla Duke, who lives in Fort Walton Beach, her two grandsons, ages 14 and 15, were horsing around with two friends on a kayak when the vessel drifted under the Destin bridge and sank in the boating lane.

“They were frantic,” Duke said in an email describing the incident.

Duke said boating authorities passed by three times without offering to help the youngsters, but when “a Good Samaritan” showed up and pulled the smallest in the group onto his watercraft, an FWC officer arrived to ticket him.

“The child had panicked and had taken it off,” Duke said of the life preserver in question.

“I stood on the shore astounded by them cruising by and not stopping, until someone else stopped and picked up the child,” Duke said. “Shame on them and the other boaters right there on Crab Island that offered no help.”

The only information Nelson had Friday on the citation issued at the time of the May incident was that it was the single ticket written following the sinking of the kayak.

Nyssa Pearce, the mother of the boy pulled from the water without his life jacket, said she had given the rescuer money to help him pay his ticket.