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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Letter to Weber County Commissioners Regarding Excessive Boat Noise on Pineview

Open Letter to the Weber County Commissioners from Radford Hills resident Peter Turner

Dear Commissioners,


Excessively loud cigarette boats on Pineview Reservoir

Requested Action

Pass laws by the summer 2010 boating season to regulate the boat noise at least to the same level as other activities that are regulated to avoid disturbing the peace.


I want to address a public nuisance on Pineview Reservoir during the summer boating season. The issue is some extremely loud boats on Pineview Reservoir and the inability of our local law enforcement personnel to deal with it. At idle the boats are relatively quiet and can therefore pass current minimal noise laws. But at moderate to full throttle their noise reverberates throughout the whole Ogden Valley. And they are out on the water for hours at a time and often “racing” or at least pacing equally loud boats. Typically these boats are known as “cigarette” boats which were originally designed for drug smuggling and speed to outrun the Coast Guard. Local boaters state that this is one of the few remaining lakes that allow these types of boats. We need laws to prevent the noise that these boats produce. They must have adequate noise suppression so they are not a public nuisance.

I live in Radford Hills above Port Ramp and the Yacht Club. Pineview Reservoir is not a large lake in an isolated region. It is a small lake surrounded by residential communities of Huntsville and Eden. I would like to give you a comparative perspective on the amount of noise they produce. From my house I cannot hear the motors from 90% of the boats on the lake. On a quiet day I can faintly hear the jet skis which are generally considered quite noisy water craft. In the morning hours when it is quiet I can hear the launching of two stroke outboard motors from some of the boaters. The noise is not loud enough to be obtrusive or offensive but it also only lasts a few minutes as they disappear into the distance or they reach their destination. These noisy cigarette boats make so much noise we have to raise our voices on my deck facing the lake to hold a conversation as they run along the South Arm. I can hear their roar as they go down Middle or South Fork on their runs all the way to Huntsville. If I am on the rear side of the house I can hear the motor noise echo off of the Wasatch Front and back down to my house. They are louder than the F-16s that fly over from Hill AFB.

If I were to make that much noise with my car I would immediately be stopped and issued a ticket to force me to muffle my car. If I made that much noise at my house, even during daylight hours, I would be ticketed or arrested for disturbing the peace. If I made that much noise on land at a campground or beach at the lake I would be ticketed, or asked to leave, or arrested for disturbing the peace if I continued for any length of time. But according to the Sherriff and the USFS Rangers our current laws allow me the unrestricted ability to make all the noise I can possibly generate from a boat that is running above engine idle.

Around dinner time as the lake quiets down 2 or 3 of them like to drag race from one end of the lake to the other. I can estimate they go as fast as 100mph based on their speed relative to traffic on the highway going 50mph. There is a safety issue in addition to the noise also but I presume we will deal with that after they crash into and kill someone. I would suggest a ban on these cigarette boats appropriate to small reservoirs or lakes within residential communities like Pineview Reservoir.

The Utah Boating Act and Rules of the Board of Parks and Recreation pertain to any waters within the territorial limits of the State of Utah. The Act clearly states “A motorboat may not be operated in a manner that will cause it to emit more than 75 decibels of noise at the shoreline”. See . 75 decibels is often compared to the sound of city traffic as heard from inside a car. These cigarette boats emit noise more like standing behind a 747 during takeoff. I presume Pineview Reservoir is not within the territorial limits of the State of Utah being owned by the Federal government. But we need this same law standard applied here. According to the Ogden Ranger Station laws regulating noise need to come from Weber County. So I am asking the Commissioners to act on this.

We need laws to regulate the boat noise at least to the same level as other activities that are regulated to avoid disturbing the peace. And we need it before summer 2010. A few years ago there would be an occasional really loud boat that we would tolerate for a day or occasional weekend. But certainly this year the cigarette boats have discovered Pineview. I would estimate there are about 10 different boats, some or most of them based out of the Yacht Club. The word is out and we need our peace restored quickly.

Best Regards,

Peter Turner

What say ye Ogden Valley residents? Do you share the same concerns over the noise emitted by the Don Johnson type Cigarette boats?



Well said. We, too, live perhaps 1/4 mile from Pineview, and we can hear these unmuffled machines, including a few that sound and look like dragboats, from INSIDE our house with all the windows closed.

If there is a state law regulating these things, why is it not enforced? Let's try enforcing it and see if new laws are still needed.

Caesare said...

It would seem that the people that run Pineview would be aware of the noise problem. Water reflects loud sounds and there is no sane reason in the world to a have a relatively small, inland body of water with no speed limit on it. Anyone can see the numerous near misses on Pineview during any busy summer day. With no size or speed limitation on Pineview, they are asking for a serious accident for a wake up call.

Allen said...

Nicely written. Good Job Pete. My wife and I hear those boats while we are on our back deck in Liberty! I can't imagine how it must sound from yours. I fear you are probably correct that someone will have to give their life before something will be done about it. Hopefully your article will drive change to the laws.

Allen in Liberty

Machamn said...

Gees folks...try living basically on the shoreline of Pineview in Huntsville Town!

For twenty years we have put up with the noise generated by less than responsible boat owners. And they ARE a minority yet a major problem when they arrive.

It would seem relatively easy for the six or so Weber County Sheriff Department deputies assigned to patrol Ogden Valley to simply park inside residential shoreline areas on occasion and roll down their damned windows. With binnoculars the offending boats can be easily identified and reported via radio to their lake patrol boat. No warnings or soft pedaling gross offenders...

This is what we are paying already in the millions for "public safety".

Please no creeping empire building with more expensive and unnecessary equipment and personnel from the Weber County Sheriff. PLEASE just do your jobs!

Beth and Dean said...

Thank you for speaking up about an issue that plagues all of us. Without question, something needs to be done to curb the excessive noise and speeding. We believe boats over a certain size or wich create noise over a certain decibel level should not be allowed in Pineview Reservoir.
Beth and Dean Vegosen, Huntsville

Kimbal said...

Wow, what a well thought out and well written piece about our quality of life the valley. We live three miles east of the reservoir, near the mouth of South Fork Canyon, and can hear the cigarette boats even from here.

The excessive, for-no-good-purpose noise is clearly inconsistent with the values expressed in the Valley General Plan, which gives the County Commission a compelling basis for passing restrictive laws and ordinances against it.

Kudos to Pete for speaking out against people who would destroy the serenity of the valley. For the rest our lives we can expect many assaults on the valley. It appears that many believe anything not specifically illegal is fair game for them, especially when needed to satisfy egos and greed. -- Kimbal Wheatley

Dick said...

I concur with what has been said. I have personally seen times when the sport boaters have had to move out of the way to keep from being rundown by these inconsiderate boaters in thier ocean going type, extremely noisey power boats going at extreme speeds, guys that line up ,sometimes three abrest and race. This type of boat needs more room than is availible on Pine View. I am advised that the limit of boats allowed on the lake is near 400 boats (there is barely room for that many boats to operate safely at normal waterskiing speed)
The noise law also limits the ammount of noise allowed from the shoreline and I know that noise level is excedded. A ranger/officer advised me that they do not enforce this peramater because it is too hard to get a conviction in cort, so they are practicing selective enforcement which is supposed to be illegal.


Red Dog said...

All of you make good points. You should write or call your Weber County Commissioners on this issue. They are the leaders that need to hear from all of you. Maybe collectively we can make a difference and get this changed. To me, just a speed limit for boats on the reservoir would address much of what has been listed here. The contact numbers and e-mail address information for the County Commission are at under resources and then contact your decision makers.

Pistol Pete said...

The blogmeister has requested that no anonymous comments be made. It is confusing when several post the under anonymous, we should respect the blog owner and choose a screen name for your posts and comments.

Dennis said...

Totally agree! These boats DO NOT belong on Pineview--it's too small. Just wait till one of these guys slams into someone.
GET THEM OFF THE LAKE!!!!!!!! Dennis