Friday, August 15, 2014

"Boogie Board Ban": The Rockaway Times Speaks - Parks Department Listens

In this week's edition of the Rockaway Times, Columnist Alex Karinsky devoted his column, Tubular Views, to the Parks Department ban on the use of Boogie Boards at our local beaches.  Alex's column was accompanied by the below editorial citing the absurdity of this ban on a part of our Rockaway Beach culture.




Board stupid

Is history repeating itself? In the summer of 2003, beachgoers in Rockaway got fed up with the enforcement of beach rules and the tickets that came with the enforcement.
More than a thousand people showed for a “Take Back the Beach” rally which drew enough attention that the Parks and Police Departments seemed to get the message that exercising common sense was better than a strict interpretation of ever rule. And believe us, there are rules that restrict everything.
Did you hear about the supermoon a few days ago? If you walked up to the beach for a look you were subject to a fine. People are not allowed on the beach past 9 p.m.
Good thing sunrise is now a few minutes after 6 a.m. For the past couple of months you risked a ticket if you walked on the beach to see the sun rise. Nobody on the beach before 6 am is a rule as well.
If we had a boardwalk, bike riding between 10 am and 6 pm on weekends wouldn’t be allowed. Of course, there are no dogs allowed on the sand from May 1 to October 1.
And there’s this rule: Snorkels, fins, rafts, unauthorized watercraft, and other flotation devices are prohibited.
Tell the kids to leave the boogie boards at home. You might get a ticket. Tell others to leave the stand-up paddle boards at home, too. They are “unauthorized watercraft.”
Liam Kavanagh, Deputy Commissioner of Parks, said he was the one who called for the crackdown.
“Boogie boards are considered flotation devices and are prohibited under our rules. It’s on all of our consolidated rules signs. Lifeguards had to rescue two boogie boarders from a closed section of beach a week ago and I directed PEP to be more vigilant about enforcement.”
First off, maybe the PEP officers should have kept them out of a closed section.
Maybe Kavanagh should have demanded PEP to be more vigilant about that – not the boogie boards.
In any case, Kavanagh should know that excessive and uneven enforcement rankles.
He was at the rally in 2003.
Boogie boards are part of the Rockaway culture. Boogies boards are used by people of all ages. If someone is using them recklessly, that’s one thing. People drive cars. If someone operates recklessly they are pulled over. The same kind of common sense enforcement could be used for watercraft and flotation devices. Most people use common sense; most people just want to enjoy the surf.
Of course, we’re going to hear the same old baloney – it’s about safety, it’s about children. Well, Parks, just go all the way then. Make going in the ocean illegal. Look at all the lives you’d save; all the accidents you’d prevent.
It would be for our own good.


Earlier today, just a scant 24 hours after the Tubular View column and  above editorial hit the streets, the Parks Department issued the below email rescinding the "Boogie Board Ban" for the remainder of this beach season stating they will review their policy regarding the boards in the Fall.

Sent: 8/15/2014 1:04:51 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: Boogie boards
Boogie boards will be allowed in open sections of beaches through Labor Day, as long as they do not create an unsafe condition. As always, beachgoers are prohibited from entering the water at any closed sections of the beaches.  We will review the use of boogie boards at our beaches after the summer.


Dorothy Lewandowski


Who says nobody reads the local papers?

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