18 March 2011

Big, Bad Waves and Noisy Jet-Skis

There was no big-wave contest at Maverick's this winter season, but that doesn't mean surfers weren't out there whenever it was breaking and rideable. Sadly, Sion Milosky caught his last ride and drowned at Maverick's on Wednesday following a two-wave holddown, while I was in the water with my friends a little more than 50 miles south.

Rest In Paradise Sion from IFM on Vimeo.
On another big swell in January that didn't rise to contest standards, Jacob Trette was saved from a similar fate by the quick action of a photographer on an unlawful jet-ski. Maverick's is located within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, "home to one of the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, including 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fishes, and numerous invertebrates and plants." The regulations governing the MBNMS prohibit:
Operating motorized personal watercraft within the Sanctuary except within the five designated zones and access routes within the Sanctuary.... Zone Five (at Pillar Point) exists only when a High Surf Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service and is in effect for San Mateo County, and only during December, January, and February.
This 3-year-old ban is flaunted, sometimes unknowingly as in the case of Jacob's rescuer. Tragically, the several illegal MPWCs in the water on Wednesday couldn't find Sion in time to save him, perhaps because their operators were focused on taking photos. Yet no doubt this will renew the call for a loosening of the restriction in favor of human safety over impacts to wildlife. While admittedly I am not an expert on those impacts, it would seem that permitting lifeguards to patrol on jet-skis while actually enforcing the law against others would be a prudent balance of interests.

1 comment:

  1. I have mixed feelings about this...on the one hand yes, it seems prudent to allow jetskis to be ridden by rescue crew. Our local surf club has recently done just that in an area where they are thankfully banned. On the other hand......we all know the risks, these guys more than anyone. As you say, they couldn't get to him in time anyway, skis or no skis.
    I hope paradise for him is a perfect 20 foot wall.....I guess it is the way he might have chosen to go, just not so young.