Beach Boys get into watercraft ban |

Beach Boys get into watercraft ban

Andy Bourelle

INCLINE VILLAGE-Good, good, good vibrations surrounded a Friday media event that kicked off the watercraft boating regulations Lake Tahoe residents and visitors will have to abide by this summer.

A ban on certain types of motorized watercraft motors goes into effect Tuesday, and two members of the Beach Boys joined the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe researchers, watercraft industry officials and East Shore law enforcement officers Friday in educating the media about the soon-to-be-enforced ordinance.

“We want to have fun, fun, fun, but we want to not pollute,” said Beach Boy Bruce Johnston. “This is a great step.”

Beach Boy Mike Love, an Incline Village resident, said while his group once wrote songs about “high-speed cars, gas-guzzling vehements,” they know now about the importance of preserving the environment.

“We’re happy to be in support of all the people here in support of keeping this beautiful lake beautiful and pristine,” he said.

For years, the watercraft ban has been a controversial issue at Lake Tahoe.

Jim Baetge, executive director of TRPA, said he believed the issue was transforming with the onset of the ban. The research helping the agency make decisions about the ban was complete; the lawsuit filed as a result of it has been settled. Now officials were moving into an enforcement phase.

Baetge described getting to this point as “the first time you can see a true partnership of research.” The University of California, Davis; University of Nevada, Reno; U.S. Geological Survey; Nevada Division of Wildlife; Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board, TRPA and others helped resolve the issue.

“The next step is to bring a number of new partners together on how to enforce it,” he said.

To do that, TRPA has purchased a new enforcement boat, which was unveiled Friday. As part of the lawsuit settlement, the National Marine Manufacturers provided the engine for the boat.

Additionally, Polaris Industries has provided four new TRPA-compliant Sea-Doos to the U.S. Forest Service, Nevada Division of Wildlife and the Washoe and Douglas county sheriff’s offices for the summer.

Resulting from a bill recently signed into law by Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn, those agencies are allowed to issue warnings to people violating TRPA’s new ordinances.

Russ Pedersen, community liaison officer for Washoe County, said it was a great opportunity for the sheriff’s office to enforce all its laws on the lake. Not only does the craft give officials more means of being on the lake, it also will help deputies go into near-shore areas the agency’s boat may not be able to.

Jim Hill, a deputy in Douglas County, agreed.

“We’ll use whatever we can to enforce the rules and laws on Lake Tahoe,” he said.

The new watercrafts Polaris provided to the agencies currently are the only personal watercraft which will be allowed on the lake indefinitely. Other personal watercraft models already available – including Bombardier and Yamaha crafts – are allowed for three years.

Claude Picard, general manager of Polaris, said Friday that in addition to being the cleanest-burning craft available, the new Sea-Doo also is the company’s first four-seated model and is 60 percent quieter than typical motorized watercraft.

“This is the flagship that has everything on it,” Picard said. “We’re proud to be a part of this event. I think this is an example of how regulatory agencies and the industry can work together.”

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