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Old 08-18-2007, 01:50 PM
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Thumbs down Now it is our turn, In Seattle

"Attack of the Cigarette Boats": a noisy pack of trouble?

By Amy Roe

Seattle Times Eastside bureau


MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Matt Palmer, left, and Tom Hayes cruise Lake Washington in a 1996 Fountain Fever cigarette boat, which can exceed 80 mph. The noise of the speedboats has brought complaints from some Mercer Island residents and a proposal to ban them from King County lakes and shorelines.



MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Tom Hayes, left, and Matt Palmer travel Lake Washington in a cigarette boat. A Mercer Island councilman, Michael Grady, is pushing King County to pass an ordinance that would ban the boats.

They're skinny, pricey, flashy and fast.

Cigarette boats are so totally 1980s that it's as if they zoomed straight out of a "Miami Vice" episode and, improbably, onto Lake Washington.

Lucy Copass never saw them coming, but she's heard them, all right.

"There were a few last year and the year before, but this year is fierce," said Copass, a longtime Mercer Island resident.

"It's like, 'Attack of the Cigarette Boats.' "

A brand of racer originally named after a Prohibition-era smuggling vessel, "cigarette" has become the generic term for narrow powerboats with a V-shaped hull that lets the boat sit high in the water.

Though some can reach speeds of up to 100 mph and burn through many gallons of fuel in a single ride, critics say it's the din of the engines that makes cigarette boats such a drag.

From her Mercer Island home, Judy Schocken said the boats sound like the takeoff of a 747, as heard from the runway.

"By the time it is anywhere close to you, conversations are impossible," she said.

While there are likely no more than a handful of such high-performance boats on Lake Washington, King County Sheriff's Deputy Keith Bennett, who works in the marine-patrol unit, says they're the "hot topic this year. We're getting complaints from all over the lake."

Mercer Island Councilman Michael Grady is pushing King County to snuff out cigarette boats altogether by enacting an ordinance that would ban them from King County's lakes and areas near shore.

"They don't belong here," he said.


"I hate those things"

Favored by South Florida drug runners and vilified by environmentalists, the boats earned notoriety from Cigarette brand founder Don Aronow, who designed the original models, raced them and reportedly sold them to people like Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega.

In the opening credits of the television series "Miami Vice," a cigarette boat cruises across Biscayne Bay. When former President George H.W. Bush captained his cigarette boat, he riled environmentalists and his neighbors in Kennebunkport, Maine.

"I hate those things," said John Radovich, of Mercer Island. Radovich, a developer, owns 121 of the 400 slips at Newport Yacht Basin, but said he wouldn't lease one to a cigarette boat.

But Tom Hayes, a Redmond powerboat enthusiast and dealer who owns a 29-foot Fountain boat that can go 85 mph, said the driver, not the boat, is the issue. Many people find Jet Skis or seaplanes louder and more annoying.

"It's respect," he said, for noise laws, proper boat handling and the surrounding community.

Hayes' boat, like many in its class, can direct the exhaust through the boat's propeller, which muffles the sound but also, he adds, inhibits performance.

Also known as "go-fast" boats, the powerboats are designed to travel fast over big ocean swells and they compete in offshore-racing series held in places like the Florida Keys and Biloxi, Miss.

Locally, they're still a rare breed. Only two Cigarette-brand boats are currently registered in King County, according to the state Department of Licensing, while the registrations for two other Cigarette boats expired in June, meaning they could've been sold or have not yet been taken out on the water.

But a number of other boats registered fit the size, brand and price range, if not the brand name, including those made by Donzi, a company Aronow also founded. (A Donzi speedboat was featured in last year's "Miami Vice" movie.) The boats can range in price from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on size and make.

Greater affluence has contributed to the increasing popularity of powerboats in the Northwest.

But some are too loud and fast for urban freshwater environments, Grady said. Having local authorities police them is like having "a Volkswagen Bug for your police car, trying to chase down somebody in a Maserati," he said.

Most boats used by local law-enforcement agencies top out at around 70 mph, but local marine-patrol officers say they've never had to chase down a cigarette boat. There's no speed limit for boats traveling outside Lake Washington's no-wake zones, though boaters can be cited for reckless driving.

Background noise

Noise is the greater complaint.

According to state law, a boat built before July 25, 1993, must generate fewer than 90 decibels when it is not moving. A boat built after Jan. 1, 1994, must generate fewer than 88 decibels when stationary.

Any boat in motion on a plane on the water cannot exceed 75 decibels, which is often compared to the sound of city traffic as heard from inside a car.

Mercer Island Police Commander Dave Jokinen said it's tough to track boats that exceed the noise limit.

"Someone will call in and say there's a loud boat heading north on Lake Washington, and by the time the marine patrol will get in that area, the boat will be gone," he said.

He tells people to try to get the boat's registration number, the marine equivalent of a license plate, so police can follow up with the owner.

In order to get a better read on boat noise, the Mercer Island Police marine unit recently purchased a $1,000 noise meter, Jokinen said.

Not everyone thinks it's worth it.

Jan Sayers, who lives on Mercer Island and teaches high school there, said she's never been bothered by the sound of boats.

"It's just a part of living on the island," she said. "I'd rather listen to boats than to cars."

Amy Roe: 206-464-3347 or [email protected]
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:51 PM
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Feel free to send sound arguments supporting our sport to the writer's e-mail address.

Thanks for reading it. Heres the link to the story;

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...eboats18e.html

Last edited by 2112; 08-18-2007 at 01:59 PM. Reason: Added the link
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Old 08-18-2007, 01:58 PM
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There ya go. A bunch of tree huggin' commies. If they don't like something, god forbid someone else does.




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Old 08-18-2007, 03:57 PM
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There ya go. A bunch of tree huggin' commies. If they don't like something, god forbid someone else does.




Darrell.
By far the majority here. Note my location. The most unyielding, intolerant people you will ever come across are the liberals up here. It is their way or the highway...wait they hate highways. Their way or the mass transit or Prius way.

Many of the complainers are what many would call the super rich. Waterfront dwellers with enough $ to buy me and my father many times over. Internet and cellular wealth.

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Old 08-18-2007, 07:31 PM
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Good luck, maybe mufflers would help?
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Old 08-18-2007, 07:57 PM
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Well since they only want to ban cigarette boats I guess you guys will all have to buy cats.
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Old 08-18-2007, 08:55 PM
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Good luck, maybe mufflers would help?
Dean
I already put some on. Even with them, My neighbors are not happy although one has an open pipe Harley and we have aircraft running over us all day long.

It more about hating, intolerance and as you read in the report, those that have and those who don't.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:07 PM
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There ya go. A bunch of tree huggin' commies. If they don't like something, god forbid someone else does.




Darrell.

Not really a fair argument.......both sides try to ban things they don't like.

That said.......it's too bad they are trying to ban the boats all together......that's ignorant......it's more about noise which we all know is solvable.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:07 PM
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All I know is for the good of the industry someone better develop a muffler that gets our boats way below their current level or in 10 years we're all going to be relegated to the ocean or great lakes.
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Old 08-19-2007, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 2112 View Post
"Attack of the Cigarette Boats": a noisy pack of trouble?

By Amy Roe

Seattle Times Eastside bureau

MARK HARRISON / THE SEATTLE TIMES

From her Mercer Island home, Judy Schocken said the boats sound like the takeoff of a 747, as heard from the runway.

"By the time it is anywhere close to you, conversations are impossible," she said.

[/email]
Maybe someone should put her on the runway to see where she would rather be!

Table 7-1
Common Sound Levels

Decibels Common Aircraft sound level common sound level

110 B-747 takeoff at 2 miles Rock band
100 DC-10 takeoff at 2 miles Gas lawn mower at 3 feet
90 B-727 takeoff at 2 miles Garbage disposal at 3 feet
80 Lear Jet takeoff at 2 miles Shouting at 3 feet
70 DASH-8 takeoff at 2 miles Normal speech at 3 feet
60 DASH-6 takeoff at 2 miles Large business office
50 Piper Twin Comanche takeoff at 2 miles Dishwasher in next room
40 Conference room
30 Bedroom at night
20 Recording studio
10 Threshold of hearing
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