Fish and Boat commission addresses pair of boating issues
TribLIVE Sports Videos
HAWLEY — Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioners addressed two kinds issues at their meeting Tuesday.
Board members took the first step to banning the use of “hydro-flying devices” — jetpacks powered by water that let boaters soar as much as 30 feet above or below the water at speeds of up to 30 mph — and clarified the rules regarding standup paddleboards.
The hydro devices, marketed under a variety of brand names, like Jetlev and Flyboard, sometimes work while connected to personal watercraft.
Others operate while hooked up to an unmanned, remote-controlled “umbilical” craft. They work by sucking in water and forcing it back out through hoses under high pressure, elevating boaters in a sort of Ironman-like fashion.
The U.S. Coast Guard hasn't taken a stance on them, leaving it up to individual state agencies to regulate their use, said Laurel Anders, director of the commission's bureau of boating and outreach. Those states are moving to ban the devices for safety reasons, she pointed out.
The commission is doing the same.
Board members gave preliminary approval to regulations banning their use on state waters. Public comment will be accepted between now and July, when the board meets again. Final approval of the ban could come then.
At the same time, commissioners changed the wording of their regulations to make it clear that users of standup paddleboards — which look like oversized surfboards that users paddle or pole — must have a wearable personal flotation device on board when paddling.
That's “nothing new” for paddleboarders, Anders said.
“It just makes it loud and clear,” she said.
What remains a little less clear, perhaps, is the other equipment paddleboarders are required to have when on the water.
If paddleboards are considered non-powered boats, commissioner Norm Gavlick of Luzerne County asked whether their operators need to have a light and sound-producing device, like a whistle, while on the water, just like operators of a canoe or kayak. The regulation doesn't make that clear, he said.
The answer is yes, Anders said.
Paddleboards also must have a launch permit issued by the commission or by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to use a commission- or state park-owned lake, she added.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.