Preventing noise on our public lakes and waterways is a high priority of the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse. Of particular concern is noise from personal watercraft or jet skis. In older, stand-up models, the exhaust was vented above the water line, resulting in a very load noise. Newer models are somewhat quieter due to underwater venting of the exhaust but still produce an annoying whine. Furthermore, for the muffling from the underwater venting to work, the exhaust pipe must remain below water level. Crossing or jumping larger waves or boat wakes frequently results in the exhaust being vented above the water, negating the improvement due to the newer design.
Since personal watercraft are new (they were introduced in 1987), it is important that strong controls are instituted quickly. As the numbers and use of personal watercraft grow, there are more people with a vested interest in their unrestricted use and greater economic and political consequences to their control. Each year we delay, an additional 200,000 personal watercraft are sold. They are the fastest selling watercraft, accounting for one-third of all motor boats sold, with an estimated 750,000 currently in use. With each additional sale, the noise on our lakes and waters increases, and our ability to control that noise and prevent problems from occurring decreases.
Therefore, the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse has established a Watercraft Network of national organizations and local activists working to reduce the impact of personal watercraft on lakes and waters. This network links individuals and groups, often working in relative isolation on specific efforts to control noise on our public waters, so that they can share ideas and tactics, and so that they can combine their efforts to more effectively fight noise on the water.