Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Mr. Jet Ski and Chapter VIII

From the comments to my earlier posts it is evident I touched a nerve. For those readers unfamiliar with the Chicago Park District Code, let me fill you in on some pertinent details.  I  am sure Mr. Jet Ski and his friends know all this, but they are 'respectable' people who are busy protecting the rest of us from the 'bad element' that would otherwise be hanging around Jarvis Beach.  Besides, times are tough.  Can't be spending money on launch fees at Diversey if you can get away with launching for free at Jarvis.

Section A - Definitions (most pertinent)

"Boat" means any boat, motorboat, sailboat, vessel, yacht, Personal Watercraft or any other watercraft except a Dinghy.

"Daily Launching Permit" means a nontransferable permit that authorizes the named permittee to move a Boat from land to waters maintained by the Park District between sunrise and sunset on a particular day during the Extended Harbor Season.

"Owner" means all persons, corporations, partnerships or other legal entities in whose name or names title to a particular Boat is held.

"Personal Watercraft" means any motorized watercraft, less than 12 feet long, with a jet drive and a capacity of no more than three people.

"Seasonal Launching Permit" means a nontransferable permit that authorizes the permittee to move a Boat from land to water maintained by the Park District between sunrise and sunset any day during the Extended Harbor Season.

Section C - Permits
1. Permit Requirements

d. No person shall launch a Boat within the Harbor System without obtaining a Daily or Seasonal Launching Permit.

5. Other Permits

b. Launching Permit.
An Owner of a Boat desiring to launch his/her Boat in the Harbor System shall sign and file an application with the Director of Lakefront Services, Harbor Manager, ramp attendant, or other authorized Employee. The application shall include the name of the Boat and a description of the Boat, including overall length, draft, beam and type. The applicant must designate whether the Boat is to be used to provide commercial services and, where available, the Commercial Permit Number The applicant shall deposit with the Director of Lakefront Services, Harbor Manager or other authorized Employee the required filing fees. A Launching Permit will only be issued to Owners of trailerable Boats, which shall include Personal Watercraft.

Section D - Harbor Rules
2. Group Two Harbor Rules

b. Launching Permittee.

(3) No launching permittee shall launch his/her Boat at any area within the Harbor System not approved by the Park District.

e. All Permittees.

(5) No permittee shall allow his/her Boat to be operated within one hundred fifty feet of the shoreline of any land owned by the Park District, or within three hundred feet of the shoreline of any bathing beach or any such land except under the following circumstances:
(a) an emergency;
(b) entering or leaving a harbor;
(c) using a launching ramp; or
(d) Operating a Boat within the areas designated by the Park District for Boat mooring, anchoring or operation.

Section I - Fees and Fines
1. Fees for Permits.
The Board shall establish from time to time the fees to be charged pursuant to this chapter, including the conditions for any refunds and any non-resident fee surcharged imposed pursuant to 70 Illinois Compiled Statutes 1505/26.3(g). Fees for permits must be paid when an application is filed with the Director of Lakefront Services. A permittee who desires to forfeit by written notice to the Director of Lakefront Services his/her current permit during the Harbor Season shall be entitled to a full refund of such fee if such forfeiture occurs prior to May 15 and to one-half refund of such fee if said forfeiture occurs prior to July 15.

2. Fines for Violation.
a. Each violation of a Group 1 Harbor Rules shall subject the permittee or operator of the Boat to a civil fine of up to $500.00.
b. Each violation of a Group 2 Harbor Rule shall subject the violator to a civil fine of up to $500.00.
c. Any fine imposed on a permittee for violation of a Harbor Rule shall, unless the Director of Lakefront Services or the General Superintendent orders otherwise, be imposed jointly and severally on all Owners of the Boat covered by the permit.

This is the Fee Schedule.  Note that Diversey and Calumet are the only two jet ski launch locations for 2011.  Jarvis Beach is not listed as a harbor.

If Mr. Jet Ski is launching at Jarvis, then, aside from launching outside of the designated sites, he is also avoiding payment of the Launch Ramp fee.  At $25/day it seems a pittance, and if he is launching 10 or more days a year a Seasonal permit would be more cost effective.  Ka-Ching!  I suspect there may be fines attached to that.  Ka-Ching!  Lost revenue to the Park District.

Chapter 7 - Use of Parks, Section B.4.b.(1) lists Jarvis Beach as an authorized swimming beach.  If Mr. Jet Ski is operating his craft off of Jarvis Beach, which he must be if he is launching there and then motoring out to the lake, he is likely in violation of Chapter 8 and it would not be unreasonable for a fine to be levied for every instance.  Ka-Ching!  Lost revenue to the Park District.

And just in case anyone misses the point about where you can operate your boat, whether it is a personal watercraft or Warren Buffett's yacht (I bet he has one), there is a notice in the Notices section of the harbors' website.

All boaters should also be aware that boats are not allowed within 100 yards of any bathing beach or inside the buoy line along any beach.

Mr. Jet Ski has himself (and his friends) to thank for calling attention to his failure to follow the law.  I imagine the Park District doesn't believe swimmers and boats (remember their definition includes personal watercraft) mix real well together.  That would be a public safety issue.  Thus their rules about where you can launch and how close to the shore you can operate any boat.    Of course, in view of these details, it may be a revenue issue as well. Ka-Ching!

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