Rights and Frights of Jetski Warriors

After an on-board breakfast of cereal, fruit and many pounds of newspapers last Sunday, we decided to nap before the mid-day heat descended. Silly us.

In the dream, a mosquito is buzzing inside your head. Louder, louder, LOUDER and

"Damn jetskis."

There were three of them, racing as always with no destination. But they were keeping their distance from our cruiser and several sailboats anchored in Herring Bay. We climbed on the bow to watch.


"Perhaps, but they have a right to be out here just like us."

A hundred yards or so in front of us, they slowed. Two of the machines started making tight circles. Again and again and again.

"They're like dogs chasing their tails."

"Perhaps, but dogs have the right to chase their tails."

"They cost $7,000 and they're good for the boating industry."


"No, jetskis."

Beyond the incessant noise, it wasn't threatening. Not like other times, when we've watched the machines wave-jumping, duck-chasing and even cutting under anchor lines.

"Why can't they do that out there away from people? Like in the shipping lanes."

"They can tell us to do our snoozing in the shipping lanes." The noise continued into the heat of the day. Soon there were five of them zooming, darting, spraying. Then three of them turned toward us. Two veered away, but the third, with a couple aboard, kept coming and coming until it was close enough to spray us. Never mind that the law says jetskis must keep a distance of 100 feet from boats or fixed objects. The woman waved.

On board, the mild-mannered, rational boater who sticks up for the rights of personal watercraft owner responded with an unfriendly gesture.

At almost exactly the same time, 11:05am, another jetski raced toward a powerboat near Sandy Point State Park, slamming into it. The jetskier was seriously injured.

In national parks, on Lake Tahoe, along the Everglades and elsewhere, jetskis are being banned or severely restricted. We do not like the idea of government infringing on individual liberties. But our patience is wearing thin with thrill-seekers who threaten us and themselves with behavior that is illegal and dangerous.

| Issue 30 |

Volume VII Number 30
July 29 - August 4, 1999
New Bay Times

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