Ban Jet Skis In Jamaica Bay
By Howard Schwach
The U.S. Department of the Interior has temporarily banned the use of personal watercraft, including waverunners and jet skis within the confines of its national parks, including Gateway National Recreation Center.
"In keeping with rules adopted by the Department of the Interior, personal watercraft will be banned from the waters of the Gateway National Recreation Area beginning April 22, 2002," a spokesperson for the National Park Service (NPS) said. "These areas include most of Jamaica Bay in Queens and Brooklyn, the waters off Crooks Point and Miller Field in Staten Island and the ocean and bayside waters at Sandy Hook, New Jersey."
"The United States Park Police and the Gatweay NRA ranger law enforcement staff will enforce the new policy," the spokesperson adds.
For many years, locals have been complaining about the noise level as well as the safety of the personal watercraft. In the past three years, several young people have been killed or injured in accidents involving the craft, including a number where the craft hit bridge pilings on local bridges.
"I am glad to hear about the ban," said Rockaway resident John Holmes. "The kids go much too fast and they are an accident waiting to happen. The noise they make detracts from other people’s use of the bay."
According to the NPS, the department adopted the nationwide rules "after considering potential impacts on park resources, conflicts with other visitor’s uses and safety concerns."
Gateway must now prepare a formal Environmental Assessment that will examine the use and impact of personal watercraft "in the park’s area." When completed later this year, a draft Environmental Assessment will be made available for public comment.
Rules could then be put into effect that could permanently ban the watercraft or allow for their limited use in Jamaica Bay and other impacted areas.