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Thread: Refuge cracks down on boat noise

  1. #1
    Monday, August 13, 2007 9:26 PM MST
    The music is loud and the engine is thumping, rattling windows at homes up the hill from Lake Havasu. Just a typical boating day on the Colorado River.
    Not in the Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. Refuge Manager John Earl said his enforcement officers are cracking down on loud boats in the wildlife area.
    “It's an obvious issue for us to try and stop wildlife disturbance. It reduces the value of the habitat,” Earl said.
    The refuge straddles Arizona and California, which have different standards for measuring excessive noise. Arizona uses a running standard that a boat can't emit more than 87 decibels (db) of noise heard at a maximum of 50 feet away. California uses an idling standard of 88-90 db from up to five feet away.
    Federal regulations, which apply to the refuge, require that vehicles may not produce “unusual or excessive noise,” a nebulous definition. Earl said his team uses the two state standards when it comes to quieting things in the wildlife area.
    “The boats we stop - there's no doubt,” Earl said.
    Another marine-based group checks noise but doesn't enforce a law. Lake Havasu Marina checks boats' sound levels before allowing them to launch. The marina's policy is that if a boat idles at 86 db or less from 10 feet away, it can launch. If not, the operator should look to launch elsewhere.
    Earl said he's getting a mixed reaction to his agency's efforts.
    “Some people say that's what Havasu is all about. This is why performance boaters come here to do their thing,” Earl said. “I understand, but there's a whole lot of lake that isn't refuge.”
    Earl said that over time, most boaters would come to appreciate the limitations, much like they favor the no-wake zone implemented in the refuge at Devil's Elbow.
    Initially, boaters complained about slowing down through the sharp turns in the river. Now, Earl said, there are boaters who come to the refuge because of the slower speed limit, allowing them to enjoy the beauty of the river and the refuge.
    Boat noise, from music or powerful engines, is a concern that local law enforcement agencies share but don't have the manpower to combat.
    Mohave County Sheriff's Lt. Randy Johnson said his agency will stop a boat suspected of grossly violating the noise limits, but the priority of deputies on the water lies elsewhere.
    “At this time of year, we're more concerned about safety violations,” Johnson said. “When it's spring and fall, without as much activity on the lake, we can do more noise checking.”
    San Bernardino County Sheriff's Cpl. Jim Trahan agreed, saying, “We'd rather save someone's life first.”
    Like the other agencies, SBCSO is limited by manpower and equipment.
    Another limiting factor is that the offending boat must be easily identified, a virtual impossibility in the Bridgewater Channel on a summer weekend, when the boats are lined hull to hull.
    “Unfortunately, there's no way to single a boat out for loud noise,” said Lake Havasu City police Lt. Rich Sloma. “However, our officers will contact some boats about the exhaust systems.”
    Sloma said police are looking at ways to enforce the noise regulations in the future.

  2. #2
    Im Ricky Bobby....and if you dont like loud boats.........F**k You!......

  3. #3
    Loud boats SUCK ! look cool dont sound cool

  4. #4
    I launched yesterday next to an Eliminator with a big blower motor. He started the boat, and it was as quiet as hell. He was running the Gibson turned down tips, and they worked great.

  5. #5
    The picture in the Today's News Herald that accompanies the article on Refuge noise is a Bass boat. Gotta watch out for those loud performance Bass boats!

  6. #6
    Loud boats save lives!

  7. #7
    Looks like everyone will be pitching in for a noise ticket this weekend

  8. #8
    Are they really still checking at the LH Marina? I was just there last weekend, and there were a ton of boats launching that were way beyond the legal limit. Kind of seems like someone had a hard on to enforce the noise level issue (maybe Gibson exhaust!) for awhile now its slowly dying out at least at the marina.

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