Supe: Riverhead ‘not the place’ for flyboarding

11/14/2014 10:30 AM |
Lawmakers are trying to grapple with the legal issues surrounding flyboarding and other similar water sports. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Lawmakers are trying to grapple with the legal issues surrounding flyboarding and other similar water sports. (Credit: Paul Squire)

One thing was made clear as Riverhead Town Board members again discussed regulating flyboarding — a new water sport — on the Peconic River Thursday morning: flyboarding and the town, they said, weren’t a good fit.

“I don’t want them operating here,” said Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter. “This is not the place for this.”

During the work session meeting, board members decided on barring flyboarding — which involves being thrust into the air by water-propelled jetpacks that are attached to people’s feet and powered by a jet ski — within 300 feet of shore. The regulation would essentially make it impossible to flyboard in the bayside waters or in the Peconic River.

Town Councilman James Wooten said the town had to make sure other boaters wouldn’t crash into the flyboarders, who trail behind them on a personal watercraft to power the jets.

“The bottom line is it’s just not safe,” he said. “[This regulation] is going to force them east.”

The board had previously discussed barring flyboarding within 500 feet of shore, but that legislation was tabled. The updated proposal, like the first one, is based on similar regulations in Maryland.

Mr. Walter warned that Southampton Town would have to follow suit and enact its own flyboarding laws. Otherwise, flyboarders could simply move their sport to the opposite shore.

“If Southampton doesn’t regulate this, we’ve accomplished nothing,” he said.

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