Citations given to nine New Jersey PWC renters

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Nine New Jersey businesses that rent personal watercraft were given citations for failing to give proper instruction or supervision during an undercover investigation by the Atlantic City State Police this summer, the Press of Atlantic City reported in a story on its Web site this morning.

Maj. John Hunt, Special Operations commander with the Atlantic City State Police, said the magnitude of the crackdown was the first of its kind and that 64 total violations were found. The State Police used funding from a grant and were told by the Coast Guard that this is the first they have heard of a unit using funding this way, according to the story.

While there were no fatal crashes on PWCs in the past two years, Hunt said, accidents have increased, along with the severity of injuries. There also have been the complaints from boaters who encounter riders who don’t know the rules of the waterway, according to the story.

“We will use any means available to us to make sure people are safe,” Hunt said.

Claudia Garcia, who owns one of the PWC rental business that was cited, told the Press of Atlantic City that her business received 18 summonses – some within minutes of each other, and eight for failure to continuously supervise rentals. As a result, the business lost its license and can no longer rent PWCs at Lakeview Docks in Wildwood Crest, N.J., losing thousands of dollars as a result.

Three other rental businesses were also investigated but passed the inspection, according to the story.

East Coast Parasail in Cape May, N.J., was cited as a “model of compliance,” the Press of Atlantic City reported. The business rents only to those 21 and older who have a valid driver’s license. Passengers must be at least 42 inches tall and, even then, it depends who is with the child and their ability to hold on. East Coast also shows a 10-minute instructional video and has two supervisors in the water with renters at all times, according to the story.

“I probably turn away as much business as I take,” owner Andrew Barber said.

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