I am not formally a member but always try to stop by and say hi, after moving here and swimming all year round (even just those 5 minute dips in January and Feb!). You all are inspiring, especially when I see others who are non-wetsuit-wearing! ..We swim off-shore at Brighton 13, usually sunrise/dawn and sunset until just after dusk.
Since lifeguard season ended, there have been more jetskiiers and watermotorcycles etc. racing right past the end of the jetties and also, worse, coming close to shore — yesterday, the 25th, near sunset, they were coming so close to the shore and bathers, creating waves and spashes, that we had to get out of the water. The guys can seem bizarrely hostile — it’s as if they are perfectly aware that they are too close — and asking them to back up makes them come only closer. I tried to take some pictures, but could not find the license numbers when I zoomed in on the images. In the past, calling the NYPD has been inefficient — by the time they come, the skiiers are gone. I don’t know how to get the Parks Service to come these days without the lifeguards, and often the response is that they can’t do anything. The one Parks Service officer is very sympathetic, but he can’t do much from shore besides glower and blow a whistle.
I also wrote to a jetski rental agency in the Rockaways – a few of them – one of the guys was shocked to hear about this behavior and says he keeps a tight rein on his renters, but the other concessions did not respond.
What do you suggest, out of your years of experience here? What is the best number to call? Does CIBBOW have any clout with city agencies, or knowledge a contact person? Even a media person who is sympathetic (or who cares?)?
It’s scary and it’s been ruining those afternoon and sunset swims. Many of the casual bathers seem to afraid to do anything at all. No one has gotten hurt yet but it seems inevitable, especially as it seems alcohol is involved.
Sincerely, thank you,
Thanks for raising this question–unfortunately I don’t have an answer but have been wondering the same thing! We’ve been swimming off Brighton 14/15, late mornings and early afternoons. I guess my only thought it to shift more toward mornings when they’re not out.
Unfortunately this is a problem that we grapple with every year in the off season. The best we can do is try to get the number on the jet ski and report it to Harbor Patrol. We’ve been told that we should call 911 if they are putting people’s lives in danger. We have a resources page on our site with numbers to call.
The caveat is – we are not permitted to swim without lifeguards so anyone that does is also breaking the law.
I find it best to swim early morning. Later in the afternoon it gets dicey with boats and jet skis. And never head out alone – wear a bright cap and buoy.