Jet skis in the back Bay
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
Fort Myers, Fla.-
The noise of a jet ski and its wake causing more then just a ripple of discontent at the lee county board of commission.
Next tuesday, opposing sides will make their case before the commissioners .. as a marina asks for a special license to operate jet skis i in an area where they're not allowed right now.
Nestled among the beach umbrellas, a jet ski operator is open for business.
In Lee county you can only get a permit if you have access to a beach.
But the Port Sanibel Marina , located in the back bay of Estero, is asking for an exception.
John Paeno is a kayak and paddle board rental operator.
He thinks its a bad idea to encourage high speed boat traffic in the shallow back waters.
He's seen too many wounded manatees and scarred turtles.
Paeno said "I flipped her over and the top part of her shell was lopped right off by a prop or motor of some kind."
And its that wildlife, being used by the visitor's convention bureau, to attract eco-tourists from around the world.
Jessica Kroger a german tourist said "I came here because I enjoy the quite and nature."
Port Sanibel Marina won't go on camera for an interview but their manager did speak before the county commission meeting last April.
He explained he wants to create a guided eco-tour on jet skis for his clients.
J.D. Minor said "we've also worked with a number of charter captains that is both safe and environmentally friendly."
Kayaker John Paeno says that just doesn't make any sense.
The estuary is shallow water which protects younger fish, dolphins and turtles from predators... its critical to keep them safe.
Paeno said "people come here for bird watching, for fishing they come to interact with dolphins and manatees in their wild habitat. This is one the few places in the world you can still do that."
The county staff is not in support of making an exception to the existing ordinance.
Its sees the promotion of high speed traffic in the estuary as counter productive.
The county commissioners will have the last word on the issue next tuesday.