Follow up to
"Personal Water Craft Under Burlington Review"
Wayne Gross, Burlington Parks and
Recreation Director, reported that the
recommendation to Burlington City Council was that
no regulation of PWCs was necessary at this time.
However his department will monitor PWC use in
Burlington Harbor for the next two years and
reconsider then. Gross notes that the company which
was renting PWCs at the Burlington Community
Boathouse will not be doing so in 1999.
At the Vermont state
legislative level, PWC regulation is being
considered. H.0239, if passed, would ban PWCs from
all Vermont public waters except Lakes Bomoseen,
Champlain, Memphremagog, and Seymour.
Water Craft Under Burlington Review
by Ken Signorello
35 people turned out at the Boathouse for a public
hearing hosted by Burlington Parks and Recreation
(P&R) on Jan. 6, 1999. P&R was directed by
Burlington City Council to study personal water
crafts 9 (pwc) and make recommendations to the
Council at it's Jan 19th meeting (not 11th as
Twelve people spoke at
the meeting with eight people in favor of some
regulation and four against.
Spencer, a Burlington City Councilor, said he has
heard nothing but complaints about pwc's at a Ward 1
Neighborhood Planning Meeting. He heard complaints
about noise, pollution and safety. He claimed that a
two hour ride on a pwc can dump three gallons of oil
into the water. This is what inspired him to
This was disputed by
Mike Gula who pointed out that outboards discharge
their exaust into the water while pwc's disperse it
into the air, and pointed out that a pwc doesn't use
three gallons of fuel in two hours. So pwc's
probably pollute less than most other powerboats.
Ben Pacy, P&R staff,
explained that Burlington has a unique regulatory
capability because Burlington Harbor is included in
Burlington City boundary as set forth by its state
charter. P&R Staff said that there were no more
incidents requiring enforcement with pwc's than any
other type of craft.
Others pointed out that
pwc's are already subject to regulation. The
operator must be 16 years old or older, must have
taken a boating class if under the age of 6 and
must not make a wake within 200 feet of shore or
It was noted that some
individuals behave irresponsibly but that dosen't
mean everyone does. The Newer machines seem to be
quieter ant the stand up models are being replaced
by sit down versions. Some were afraid that if
banned form the Burlington Harbor they will have to
drive to Shelburne or Colchester, wasting time and
Kevin Rose, a local
kayaker, pointed out that people buy pwc's to jump
wakes, turn circles, and go fast.
Most speaking in favor
of regulation complained about the noise. "Quiet
sunsets from North Beach are ruined by circling
pwc's in front of the beach". Jeff Meyers, a
Burlington paddler, said that pwd's were "an
inappropriate use of the harbor"
Robin Jeffers, who
rents pwc's at the Boathouse has had few incidents
with her crafts and feels that existing law
enforcement is all that is required.
There was some concern
about the definition of a pwc. Sources say that the
definition being considered are those pwc's that
carry one or two people. Those rented at the
Boathouse carry three.
P&R will submit it's
recommendations on Jan. 19, 1999.