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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys (and girls) I live in Etters, PA, and own a boat and PWC. I have run at Raystown Lake, Lake Clarke, and Lake Fredric (amoung others).

Anyway, at the Goldsboro, PA boat launch, PWCs are segregated to a ramp with inadequate facilities. Boat users enjoy a paved parking lot, floating docks, and a paved gentle sloping launch. PWCs are forced to use a ramp that uses concrete blocks that cause the trailer to be too steep, possible damage to the hull. Not to mention the lack of a dock forces anyone who wants to ride to get wet, and slip down the boat launch where people are trying to launch / retrieve water craft. I have written to the Boat and Fish commission with no real response, they seem to really hate PWC owners, I am posting here in hopes that someone has or knows someone I could take this concern to; I will post all the letters here following this post. Thanks for any help!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
1st letter

this was my first letter to them:


Hello I would like to inform you of an issue that concerns me greatly with one of the boat launches in my area. I recently moved to the Etters, PA area and utilize the Goldsboro boat launch. I noticed that the actual launch area has three launches, two presumably for boats, and a final for Personal Water Craft. This is an excellent idea; as Personal water craft are able to launch much more quickly than larger craft, however the boat launches are not identical. The two boat launches have concrete gently sloping ramps, and floating docks to allow people on and off of water craft, as well as signs that state No PWCs. While the Personal Water Craft launch consists of loosely connected railroad ties on a steep embankment, with a stone parking lot (not paved as with the boat ones), and no floating docks. This is simply unacceptable. According to the Commissions own hand book A PWC is a boat. Owning both a PWC and a boat; I know I pay the same fees, taxes, and associated costs that all power boaters pay. In fact, I know I pay more since the PWC I own is worth more (thus more taxes) than many of the boats launched in this area. It is completely unacceptable to force PWC users to use a substandard boat launch when they are paying the same amount of money to use the same waterways. I boat at multiple lakes, rivers, and the ocean and have never come across a situation as disturbing as this. I enjoy boating with many individuals, some of whom cannot even utilize a launch without a dock due to physical disabilities. Providing these basic boating necessities to only a percentage of the population is not only unfair, it is unjust. The current ramp is so steep and bumpy that I fear it will result in damage to my water craft; the parking lot is unpaved and may lead to accidents that the agency or county may be liable for. The lack of a dock caused my friends 10 year old child to be injured while he attempted to walk down the ramp of railroad ties. Please correct this injustice by either removing the signs and allowing PWCs to use any launch, or bringing the PWC launch up to the same level of use and safety by providing the same access as other boat launches. I eagerly await your reply
 

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Discussion Starter #3
1st reply

,

I have reviewed the situation at the Goldsboro access. I visited the area today with the Director of our Bureau of Engineering and Development, the Assistant Chief of our Division of Construction & Maintenance, and the Southcentral Regional Law Enforcement Manager.

In the past, when we permitted PWC to launch from the other ramps at this area, there was congestion and chaos. This was, in part, due to the nature of PWC operation. Multiple operators taking turns operating the boats, combined with picnicking on the grounds around the ramps created an unsafe and hostile situation. At considerable expense, we added the PWC launch area so PWC operators would have a ramp dedicated to PWC operation, away from other powerboaters and anglers. This has worked out very well. Your complaint that we are discriminating is a very strong statement and unfounded in this case. In fact, the additional area for PWC operation is viewed by many PWC operators as a bonus and a plus to the entire Goldsboro launch (one of the finest in the state). The gravel parking lot at the PWC ramps is something we are trying to go to wherever possible, primarily for environmental reasons. Also, the PWC launch ramp is not substandard. The slope is less than 10% (standard is no greater than 15%) and both ramps (there are two) are in very good condition. I am sorry you friend's son was injured but that could have happened anywhere. The ramps are bumpy but are not that rough. They are constructed from concrete "planks," an accepted method for boat ramp construction. PWC operators do not usually use a dock and the addition of one for PWC is inappropriate and an unnecessary expense (at least $30,000) especially for such a shallow waterway. In the past, I have taught our own officers to operate PWC and would have welcomed being able to do so in such a well-designed and pleasant area.

At this time, we will not be making any major changes to our boat access in Goldsboro.

Best wishes,

Daniel G. Martin
Director
Bureau of Boating & Access
PA Fish & Boat Commission
P.O. Box 67000
Harrisburg, PA 17106
(717) 705-7849
FAX (717) 705-7831
 

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Discussion Starter #4
2nd letter

Greetings Daniel Martin;

I read your response to my inquiry regarding the Goldsboro access. However, I have to disagree with you. I further reviewed the location and while you are correct that the launch uses concrete blocks, the launch is woefully inadequate. The ramp is substandard in the fact that every other launch uses a paved slope, while the PWC launch uses concrete blocks. The standard would be a sloping paved or concrete structure, not blocks. Also, by having docks available for use when entering or exiting a boat at the other launch areas the PWC launch lacking such, is again, substandard.

I personally have used both launches; did you launch at or just view the area when you inspected it? When launching a PWC at the specified location, there is a large drop off that occurs when the trailer enters the water, placing the trailer at much too steep of an angle to properly load or unload the watercraft. This is then followed by the trailer wheels hitting each block on the ramp, causing an impact to the hull. This is simply unacceptable, not to mention unsafe as it is difficult to maneuver both trailer and PWC. In addition, having no dock available for passenger use increases the probability of injury as people are forced to walk on a slope covered by murky water, where the only traction is the cement blocks which become covered in algae and cause a slippery, dangerous situation especially to those young, elderly or handicapped. You are correct; a child’s slip on a launch area can happen anywhere, any location that is, where dry floating docks are not available. Were the water is not so murky, block traction would serve well; however, when one cannot see their next step, a safer option would be a gentle slope with traction grading.

I understand the desire to separate “boat” and “PWC” users however according to the Fish Commission’s own boating hand book “Personal watercraft are boats”, yet clearly PWC owners are forced to use a launch substandard to the launches you provide for other boat craft. I will continue my efforts, involving people from the community, as well as several publications. This situation of the steep ramp, combined with the lack of a dock needs to be corrected.



Thank you,

Josh Thomas
 

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Discussion Starter #5
there final response

basically 'go away'... I am not impressed with this man, this issue is not resolved, who can help me?



"

Thank you for your comments.



Daniel G. Martin

Director

Bureau of Boating & Access

PA Fish & Boat Commission

P.O. Box 67000

Harrisburg, PA 17106

(717) 705-7849

FAX (717) 705-7831

Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
 
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