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San Diego impounds 30 watercraft on Mission Bay July 4

Fire department goes after jet-skis, Sea-Doos, WaveRunners, AquaTrax

"You cannot be a licensed renter if you operate from your car or home," said the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's social media pages on July 7.
"You cannot be a licensed renter if you operate from your car or home," said the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's social media pages on July 7.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's lifeguards and the San Diego Police Department impounded more than 30 water vessels at Mission Bay on July 4, most of which were personal watercraft.

"So my office is by there, and I saw them getting towed into the lifeguard headquarters," Andy K. said to me on July 13. "I got a notice of an impounded jet-ski, and I said, 'Nah, not mine anymore.' I sold it in used condition to a guy a while ago, and the guy never changed the registration."

Personal watercraft — including jet-skis made by Kawasaki, Sea-Doos made by Bombardier Recreational Products, WaveRunners made by Yamaha, and the AquaTrax made by Honda — are considered inboard motor-powered watercraft. They are less than 13 feet long, and the rider sits, kneels, or stands on them. Like road-driven vehicles, these must be registered, and the paperwork on board the waterproof vessel's equivalent to a glovebox. While "some" of the colorful craft impounded that Sunday lacked paperwork, others sequestered were rented illegally within Mission Bay, which is accessed from the I-5 and Clairemont Drive and SeaWorld Drive exits.

"Businesses that are licensed for Mission Bay Park are only brick-and-mortar operations. You cannot be a licensed renter if you operate from your car or home," said the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's social media pages on July 7. "Be aware that renting from an unlicensed lessee could have serious consequences if you crash and cause or suffer injuries or cause damage to a vessel. Unlicensed lessees do not carry insurance!"

Andy is the owner of Seaforth Boat Rentals in Mission Bay; he rented out all of their personal watercraft and boats long before the holiday weekend. He said his fleet is insured for $5 million.

"The brick [and mortar] business[es] are haters," a local responded underneath the photos of the docked 30-or-so water scooters on Facebook, "as long as you have a lic[ense] and insurance, who cares?"

I emailed and direct messaged a few watercraft rental businesses on Craigslist and Facebook. Nobody replied before this article went to print.

From personal experiences riding jet-skis in Mission Bay, I've seen other PWC riders flip over when they turn too hard, and witnessed newbies getting stranded because the motors are flooded.

"If there's an issue, my customers can make a call. We have people on standby who can come out, and I can replace the unit with something else. We have all of the infrastructures to make it a safe and enjoyable experience."

The police department is announcing that anyone under 40 and operating a water vessel, including the personal water vessels, must have a California Boater Card

Last August, a 21-year-old man reportedly died after the jet-ski he rode crashed into a boat in Mission Bay.

"Then in 2019, another person died at Carlsbad Lagoon," Andy continued. "I believe both of them were from an illegal operator."

According to a U.S. Coast Guard report released on June 29, "there were 767 boating fatalities nationwide in 2020, a 25.1 percent increase from 2019." Of the boating fatalities in 2020, 66 were attained to personal watercraft.

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"You cannot be a licensed renter if you operate from your car or home," said the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's social media pages on July 7.
"You cannot be a licensed renter if you operate from your car or home," said the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's social media pages on July 7.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's lifeguards and the San Diego Police Department impounded more than 30 water vessels at Mission Bay on July 4, most of which were personal watercraft.

"So my office is by there, and I saw them getting towed into the lifeguard headquarters," Andy K. said to me on July 13. "I got a notice of an impounded jet-ski, and I said, 'Nah, not mine anymore.' I sold it in used condition to a guy a while ago, and the guy never changed the registration."

Personal watercraft — including jet-skis made by Kawasaki, Sea-Doos made by Bombardier Recreational Products, WaveRunners made by Yamaha, and the AquaTrax made by Honda — are considered inboard motor-powered watercraft. They are less than 13 feet long, and the rider sits, kneels, or stands on them. Like road-driven vehicles, these must be registered, and the paperwork on board the waterproof vessel's equivalent to a glovebox. While "some" of the colorful craft impounded that Sunday lacked paperwork, others sequestered were rented illegally within Mission Bay, which is accessed from the I-5 and Clairemont Drive and SeaWorld Drive exits.

"Businesses that are licensed for Mission Bay Park are only brick-and-mortar operations. You cannot be a licensed renter if you operate from your car or home," said the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department's social media pages on July 7. "Be aware that renting from an unlicensed lessee could have serious consequences if you crash and cause or suffer injuries or cause damage to a vessel. Unlicensed lessees do not carry insurance!"

Andy is the owner of Seaforth Boat Rentals in Mission Bay; he rented out all of their personal watercraft and boats long before the holiday weekend. He said his fleet is insured for $5 million.

"The brick [and mortar] business[es] are haters," a local responded underneath the photos of the docked 30-or-so water scooters on Facebook, "as long as you have a lic[ense] and insurance, who cares?"

I emailed and direct messaged a few watercraft rental businesses on Craigslist and Facebook. Nobody replied before this article went to print.

From personal experiences riding jet-skis in Mission Bay, I've seen other PWC riders flip over when they turn too hard, and witnessed newbies getting stranded because the motors are flooded.

"If there's an issue, my customers can make a call. We have people on standby who can come out, and I can replace the unit with something else. We have all of the infrastructures to make it a safe and enjoyable experience."

The police department is announcing that anyone under 40 and operating a water vessel, including the personal water vessels, must have a California Boater Card

Last August, a 21-year-old man reportedly died after the jet-ski he rode crashed into a boat in Mission Bay.

"Then in 2019, another person died at Carlsbad Lagoon," Andy continued. "I believe both of them were from an illegal operator."

According to a U.S. Coast Guard report released on June 29, "there were 767 boating fatalities nationwide in 2020, a 25.1 percent increase from 2019." Of the boating fatalities in 2020, 66 were attained to personal watercraft.

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