Motor violation costly |

Motor violation costly

Andy Bourelle

KINGS BEACH – Ten thousand bucks would have bought him a new boat engine.

Instead, Kevin Kramer, owner of North Shore Parasail in Kings Beach, probably will pay that amount to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency – and still have to buy a new motor for his boat.

“We think it’s a fair resolution,” said John Marshall, TRPA attorney. “I think the message was sent: It makes no economic sense to violate the two-stroke ordinance. He could have purchased a motor for that amount of money, and now he’s suffering the consequences.”

TRPA’s board is scheduled to discuss the issue at a meeting Wednesday and decide whether to agree to the proposed settlement. TRPA likely will settle the first lawsuit related to its watercraft ban.

A long-awaited ban on certain types of boat motors went into effect June 1, 1999. Last summer the bistate regulatory agency issued 525 written warnings for violations of the rules.

Kramer was allegedly the only person to repeatedly ignore written warnings, of which he was given four. He allegedly used an inflatable raft powered by non-compliant motor to shuttle customers from the beach to his larger boat used for parasailing.

TRPA filed a lawsuit against Kramer in October 1999. As part of the settlement, Kramer likely will pay TRPA $2,500 within 30 days and then another $2,500 every month thereafter until the total amount is paid. If he misses the deadline, the fine would jump to $20,000.

TRPA and research officials claim two-stroke engines cause more pollution than other engine types, releasing as much as a quarter of their fuel into the water unburned. The ban eliminated many of the engines powering Jet Skis and personal watercraft as well as some outboard motors used to power small boats.

Officials from the University of Nevada, Reno and University of California – Davis have said that the ban helped tremendously to reduce gasoline compounds from Tahoe’s water.

The levels of MTBE and toluene, a compound often used as an indicator for other gasoline contaminants, had been reduced 50 percent in many places and sometimes as much as 90 percent.

TRPA crews patrolled Tahoe’s waters and marinas last summer to make sure boaters were complying with the new carbureted two-stroke engine ban and the two-summer-old, 600-foot no-wake zone rule.

To enforce the ban, TRPA last summer was focusing on education. The agency this summer plans to issue fewer warnings before penalizing violators.

“We don’t think there are a lot of bad apples out there,” Marshall said. “There’s just a couple guys who need conked over the head. This was just one of the guys who needed a conk over the head.”