There is no difference in emissions between similarly powered two-stroke
engines in PWC or in an outboard motor.
PWC with direct injection or 4-stroke engines decrease emissions up to
Over 50 percent of the 2002 model year PWC sold were compliant with the
EPA’s 2006 emissions regulations.
All five PWC manufacturers currently offer 4-stroke PWC
The EPA found that hydrocarbon exhaust emissions from all recreational
boats account for only three percent (3%) of the nation’s total
hydrocarbon emissions. PWC represent about nine percent (9%) of the recreational
boats in the country, the actual hydrocarbon emissions from PWC are much
less then one percent of the total (0.3%).
The PWC industry cleaner engine technologies reduce exhaust emissions
up to 80%.
Studies consistently demonstrate that PWC are as quiet as other recreational
• A sound study conducted in Florida found that PWC emit between
64-73 db at average throttle and 72-79 db at full throttle, which meets
adopted federal and state boat noise standards.
• A sound study conducted for the New Jersey State police found
that PWC emit lower noise levels than other boats included in the test
• A sound study recently conducted at Glen Canyon National Recreation
Area for the National Park Service found that PWC sound levels are no
louder than other boats, and are often quieter.
PWC sound has been reduced by 50% to 70% since 1998.
Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat
PWC are no more likely to disturb wildlife than other vessels.
A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission bird study found that
"the direct approach of a PWC rarely elicited a greater flush distance,
the conventional outboard-powered boat most often exhibited the larger
PWC are water jet-powered and they have no impact on seagrasses, marine
mammals, fish and other aquatic life. A 1997 study by Continental Shelf
Associates found no differences in the abundance of seagrass or other
bottom dwelling life following intensive personal watercraft operations
in two feet of water, the PWC manufacturers recommended minimum depth.
PWC are so environmentally friendly that they are used by Sea World, the
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, and the Dolphin Field School for
marine mammal rescue and research.
The shorelines of Gulf Islands National Seashore are sandy beaches or
emergent grasses that are naturally high-energy shorelines.
The personal watercraft industry believes that PWC should be allowed wherever
other forms of motorized boating are allowed. Regulations such as 100-foot
slow speed buffer area from shore and anchored boats should be applied
to all vessels, and will reduce conflicts with beach goers, PWC riders,
and other users.
The outdated image that occurs to many people when they hear the words
personal watercraft no longer applies. The personal watercraft industry
has dedicated itself to change, meeting customer demand for environmentally
According to US Coast Guard statistics, PWC accident, injury and fatality
rates have seen no significant statistical increase since 1987. Critics
always point to the increase in PWC accidents, but they fail to note the
incredible increase in the PWC population. 99 percent of PWC are operated
accident free each year.
The ban of PWC in GINS will displace PWC and concentrate them in the extremely
congested waters of Pensacola Beach in the Quiet Water Beach area. This
congested area would provide the only access to Pensacola Beach for PWC
The ban will require PWC users to navigate in the open unprotected waters
of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to access Pensacola Beach and destinations
east and west of GINS. The ICW is very dangerous for PWC due to large
vessel traffic and rough water. The ICW is the only navigational corridor
through Santa Rosa Sound for large pleasure craft, commercial tugs with
barges, and U.S. Navy ships accessing Pensacola Naval Air Station. PWC
riders traditionally travel in protected nearshore waters of the barrier
PWC accidents have steadily declined since 1996. The large majority of
accidents involve rented PWC. There are PWC rental facilities in Gulf
Islands National Seashore.
The latest industry research shows that the typical PWC owner is a middle-aged,
highly educated and successful businessperson. The average age of owners
is 41, with two-third over 35. The majority (71%) are married with families.
Three and four passenger PWC are the biggest sellers in today’s
market. The reason for this is that they are an affordable alternative
for many families who want to spend time together on the water.
Recommended Preferred Alternative
The personal watercraft industry has made tremendous improvements in emissions,
sound reduction and user education in recent years. Boating laws and regulations
should be uniform, and enforcement of existing laws and regulations will
provide protection for natural resources and GUIS users. Given these facts,
and the continuing efforts of the industry toward developing better PWC
technologies, non-discriminatory regulatory efforts that apply to all
recreational motorized vessels equally should be strongly supported. This
will ensure that all motorized watercraft users have equal access to enjoy
the waterways of Gulf Islands National Seashore.
For persons who may not be able to attend the public meetings, they can
e-mail their comments to [email protected],
or they may be sent by regular mail to: Superintendent, Gulf Islands National
Seashore, 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563.
For more information, please contact Nina Kelson (GINS Public Affairs
Officer) at (850) 934-2606.
Boating Industry contact:
Peggy Mathews (850) 877-3848 [email protected]
Florida Representative, Personal Watercraft Industry Association
Jeff Ludwig (202) 721-1627 [email protected]
Regulatory Affairs Manager, Personal Watercraft Industry Association
P.O. Box 296, Estero, FL 33928 E-mail
Standing Watch Call Standing Watch
Toll Free 1-866-263-5015 or in office 239-425-2504 ext 293
Copyright © 2001 by Standing Watch. All rights reserved.