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Wildlife
Jet Skis Spark Controversy in Samara
Nicoya Mayor Asks Business to Stop Running Jet Skis Until Reviewed

By Arianna McKinney


Janet Park-Brogan, owner of Zona de Confort, says many tourists have told her they like the jet ski rentals because it’s nice to have something different to do in Samara.
 

A new business has many Samara residents concerned about safety and the environment. On November 23, Zona de Confort, owned by Canadian Janet Park-Brogan, began renting, among other things, jet skis. The new activity may be fun for some, but for others it is viewed as a danger. Some Samara residents began a petition to get rid of the jet skis. As of Friday, December 10, they had collected 287 signatures of which 132 are from Ticos.

Nicoya Mayor Eduardo Gutierrez came to Samara on Friday, December 10 for a meeting in which the controversy was addressed. Park-Brogan and jet ski guide Alejandro Lopez Hernandez were at the meeting to defend the business. “Everything is in order,” affirmed Lopez Hernandez. However, Park-Brogan didn’t have the business permit with her at the meeting.

The mayor explained to the public that certain regulations must be followed with the jet skis and that the business must demonstrate that the watercraft aren’t contaminating the ocean. “By law every recreational activity has to have a permit,” he said. He also explained the legal procedures for those concerned about the jet skis to assert their claims that the jet skis are polluting or are not following regulations. He asked that the jet ski rental stop until it could be demonstrated that everything is in order. The mayor promised that he would visit the following week to inspect the beach.

Zona de Confort Says It Always Puts Safety First
“I am not going anywhere,” stated Park-Brogan, who moved to Samara in August. She said she thinks people have received a lot of misinformation about the jet skis. With four-stroke engines and zero emissions, she says they are one of the cleanest watercrafts in the ocean. “This is my ocean as well,” she said, “I would never pollute it.”

Rodrigo Acuña Odando, assistant with the municipality’s Maritime Land Zone department, has visited the business to discuss regulations for the jet skis. “It isn’t prohibited,” he said, however, there are regulations to follow. For example, the jet skis must be kept at a certain distance offshore and (guides) must have first aid certification.

“Everything he mentioned, we had already done,” Park-Brogan said, but the visits reinforced important safety issues. Park-Brogan said she is insured and that safety is her first concern. Renters must be at least 18 and complete a 15-minute orientation. A guide is always with the renter on the water and has a remote control device that can shut off a jet ski if the user does not abide by the safety rules. Park-Brogan also said she plans to build a concrete boat ramp to facilitate safe, efficient access to the water not only for the jet skis but for others who have boats that they currently must carry into the ocean.

Neighbors Say Jet Skis Are Not for Samara
About 30 businesses in Samara have been collecting signatures on a petition against the jet skis. Among reasons sighted are safety, pollution, the smell and the noise.

“I think the main reason is it’s just not Samara style,” said Charlie Foerster of C+C Surf School. “We’re a quiet town with surfing and a few fishing boats. It’s just not Miami Beach style.” He said he personally loves jet skis and has been on them in places like Miami or Daytona Beach, but he doesn’t want them here. Along with participating in the petition, he’s helping distribute signs that say “Keep our sunsets peaceful. Don’t rent a jet ski.” He explained that there was a moment one night when he was at the Vela Latina bar and just as a perfect sunset was beginning, the jet skis started up and everyone at the bar sighed.

Another concern, according to Foerster, is safety. “This beach is advertised as one of the safest beaches in Costa Rica, and with these guys here, that’s going to change drastically.”

   

Paola Provato of Pato Surf School shows the petition against the jet skis. She says that on Lago Di Garda in her native Italy, craft like jet skis are prohibited now because they saw the destruction to the environment.
 
   

One concern is the proximity of the jet skis to surfers and swimmers. Photo by Charlie Foerster.
 
   

Jet skis are moored off-shore throughout the day, but they must be taken in and out of the water at times. Photo by Charlie Foerster.
 
   
 

Kenneth “Pato” Suarez Rodriguez, of Pato surf School, is also concerned about safety. He said one day he was giving classes and someone passed by too close jumping on the jet skis. “People, even though they receive instructions, don’t use their heads,” he explained. “To wait until an accident happens is going to be too late.

Pato also is concerned about what the jet skis will do to the environment. “The sound of these motors scares the fish,” he said. “As modern as they are, they always pollute.”

Foerster promises that they will be monitoring the jet skis carefully to be certain they are operated in compliance with regulations to the letter. If not, opponents will file complaints.

 

More Regional News

Town Must Organize to Keep Police in Samara

The problem of the location of the Samara Police Force came to a head this week when the Ministry of Health presented the delegation with five working days notice to close the police station. More >

Mother Drowns While Attempting to Save Daughters in the Ocean

A woman identified as 35-year-old Kattia María Umaña Chaverri drowned on Tuesday, January 25th while on vacation with her husband and daughters at Playa Guiones.

The unfortunate incident took place a few minutes after 1:00 p.m., while the victim and her daughters where playing at a place known as the "Los Piletones" when, without realizing it, the rising tide prevented them from touching the sandy bottom with their feet. More >

Coordination of Private Security and Tourist Police Thwart Robbery

Two men were arrested by Tourist Police on the morning of Saturday, January 22 on suspicion of theft. The joint response of the police along with a private security company, managed to break a string of robberies that had occurred in the “K Section” neighborhood over several weeks. More >

Fishing Tournament Benefits Garza School

• 3-day activity won great local support and participation
• Respect for sustainable fisheries a condition for participating teams

"Anyone could participate", says Gabriel Coronado Guardia, member of the organizing committee for the Second Annual Surfcasting Tournament held at Playa Garza. Because it required only fishing line, the activity brought together twenty-three teams of all ages, children, youth and seniors, who shared and competed on equal terms. More >

Red Cross Will Not Cover the Nosara Fiesta
• Health emergencies will be the responsibility of private enterprise
• Red Cross says it has no responsibility for problems arising from this decision

The Nosara Development Association (DNA), the organizing body of the January Fiesta, decided not to hire the Nosara Red Cross (NRC) for the fiesta which begins January 27. Instead, they have contracted with a private ambulance to provide emergency services during the 5 days of the event. More >

“I Am Eager to See the Results of My Work” Marco Ávila, Nosara’s Next Representative

At 39, Marco Ávila, owner of “Viveros Tropicales Nosara” and with a short political career in his favor, won a place as representative during the municipal elections held on December 5th, 2010. More >

Elections Results Samara
New Syndic Bonifacio Diaz Cares for Mom and Community

Bonifacio Diaz Zuñiga, the new Samara Syndic for the Liberacion Nacional party, considers himself a simple person, humble, but he also considers himself a community leader. He says that he intends to carry out the challenge of community leadership in the best way possible. More >

Interview with Marcos Jimenez, Mayor elect of Nicoya
“I promise not to betray the trust of the people who elected me”

After being favored by the support of the majority of Nicoyanos to be mayor for the next five years, for the Liberacion Nacional Party, the current Secretary of the Municipal Council, Marcos Jiménez Muñoz, initiated immediately negotiations with his future collaborators to plan productive projects for the canton. These consist for the most part in two projects: the environment and solid waste management. More >

Total Lunar eclipse viewed from Nosara

On December 21st, from 1:30 to 3:30 am, photographer Rolf Sommer stayed up to see and photograph this unique event. More >

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