2004-05-28 / Community

Personal Watercraft Ban Continues

By Brian Magoolaghan

Personal Watercraft Ban Continues

By Brian Magoolaghan

The National Park Service has a familiar message for Jet Ski and Sea-Doo owners this year – Nyet Ski and Sea-Don’t. The ban on personal watercraft throughout nearly all of Jamaica Bay will continue this boating season, the park’s top official announced. Gateway officials, in an effort to create a special exception to the nationwide ban on personal watercrafts in national parks, has been preparing a proposal for such an exception since the Department of the Interior adopted the ban on the basis that the watercraft damage the environment and create a public health risk, in April of 2002. But the proposal is incomplete and won’t be ready in time for this season, according to Billy G. Garrett, GNRA acting superintendent.

The announcement, which arrives just in time for the unofficial start of summer and the beginning of the beach and boating season, is sure to anger personal watercraft owners – and could be welcomed news to many other boaters.

Sal Mossa, a local boat and Jet Ski owner and the former commodore of the Old Mill Yacht Club in Howard Beach, is familiar with both sides of the debate. He said he loves his Jet Ski, which he now keeps on the North Shore of Long Island, but also said "the bay is a heck of a lot nicer because the Jet Skis are not out there." Personal watercraft operators, who often cross wakes and travel at high speeds, "harass" other boaters, Mossa said.

The majority of Jamaica Bay falls within GNRA, however a thin strip of bay off of Rockaway’s coast from Bayswater and Neponsit does not.

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