Water Quality
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 80%.
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

Air Quality
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 motorboats.
• 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 flush distance."
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.

Shoreline Vegetation
The shorelines of Gulf Islands National Seashore are sandy beaches or emergent grasses that are naturally high-energy shorelines.

Visitor Conflicts
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 friendly recreation.

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 users.
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 islands.
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.

Visitor Use
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
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