PROVINCETOWN — A proposal to bring a personal watercraft (PWC), or Jet Ski, rental business to MacMillan Pier will be considered by the Public Pier Corp. board at its next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, July 14.
Marcello Subashi, who owns and operates Provincetown Parasail, proposes to lease Noah Santos’s float space 1E on MacMillan Pier to rent personal watercraft to the public. Subashi intends to have a chaperone take the customers out for 45-minute rides. They would proceed slowly until they are beyond Long Point, where they would then be able to go full throttle, according to a presentation provided to the Pier Corp. by Marianna Kennedy, Santos’s fiancée. The watercraft riders would have to comply with the no-wake speed zones and would be directed to avoid the shipping lanes until they get beyond Long Point, Kennedy said.
Don German, the Provincetown harbormaster, said he gets phone calls every time people see the motorized PWCs zipping through the harbor. They are legal in Provincetown. But because there has not been a business providing them in town for several years, they are not often seen, and many people believe they are illegal.
Due to the controversy that follows in their wake, Pier Corp. Board Chair Jamie Staniscia asked the select board to hear the proposal.
“I have received a lot of comments and concerns about this,” Staniscia said. “I do think there is a public process that could benefit. I want the public input and the select board to weigh in.”
But decisions on dockage and related uses are within the jurisdiction of the Pier Corp. and outside the select board’s authority, said Town Manager Alex Morse.
And so, the Pier Corp. board plans to take up the question on July 14, Staniscia said on July 4. The meeting time and place had not been posted on the town website by the Independent’s deadline this week.
Marine excursions that take the public out on the water are a permitted use of float space, said Pier Corp. trustee Scott Fraser.
But members of the Pier Corp. board want an opinion from legal counsel because of complicating factors, such as the fact that the harbor regulations posted on the town website have not been updated for years and do not reflect a 2016 change related to PWCs. According to the current regulations, PWCs can be launched from public boat ramps and the pier. But until this most recent application from Subashi, the regulations on the website stated they could be launched only from Good Templar Landing, otherwise known as Flyer’s Boatyard.
Staniscia said the public may not be properly informed, given that the town had failed to update the regulations on the website. The Pier Corp. board expects to get word from its legal counsel before the next meeting.
Meanwhile it is nearly mid-July, and Subashi’s proposal has been before the Pier Corp. for months, Santos said.
“The town regulations were approved five years ago, and just because people are not aware of the law doesn’t mean that it’s not a law,” Santos said.
Kennedy said Flyer’s Boat Rentals gets about 20 calls a week from people asking if they rent PWCs.
“There is a demand for it,” Kennedy said. “It would be good for the town.”