Posted by: noadventure | July 15, 2011

Jetski the Flooded Spillway

So weeks ago, a NOadventure reader contacted me on a Monday about doing a guest post. He had incredible video footage of him jetskiing from the lake INTO the flooded Bonnet Carre spillway. I immediately watched the videos(on youtube) and told him I’d post his footage for that weekend’s post.

That Thursday, he sent me an apologetic email about why he had pulled the videos from youtube. Here’s the complete email conversation from between the two of us(with some chit-chat edited out for brevity).

HIM:

So, I’d like to submit my first NOAdventure… of some videos that I
took today while JetSkiing into the Bonnet Carre Spillway from the
lake.  It was a bit scary at times, but fun as hell.  I’d really like
to take a kayak from the river through the spillway and into the lake!

ME(after watching videos):

Dude you’re nuts! I love it!

Who was holding the camera? It looked like you have to steer with two hands on that adventure?
Definitely posting this this weekend.
HIM:

I was steering with my right hand and holding a little waterproof flip
camera with my left hand.  (I’m sure that contributed to my falling
in!)

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I’m a pretty experienced
JetSkier… I played for years in and around New York Harbor and in
the surf of the Atlantic.  The East River has some very scary
currents.

I considered going all the way through the spillway to the river, but
I figured the Corps wouldn’t appreciate it and they’d arrest me.

HIM(again):

Update:

I took the YouTube videos down.  Here’s why…

On Thursday afternoon, I had two Wildlife and Fisheries agents
knocking at my door.  Friday morning, I voluntarily met with two
police from the Army Corps of Engineers, the head of the spillway
project office, and a sheriff from St. Charles Parish.  I received a
warning violation for entering the closed spillway and a $200 federal
ticket for “reckless operation of a watercraft” (which I plan to
contest!)  Friday afternoon, the Coast Guard started enforcing a
security zone near the spillway. 🙂

http://www.abc26.com/news/local/wgno-jet-skiers-spotted-in-spillway-tyler-wing-reports-20110527,0,4027345.story

ME:

That’s bullshit! I’m glad you’re contesting it. I was planning on releasing the post today.

How can they give you a fine when the spillway has been a public park and recreation spot for decades? There were no signs or postings right?

HIM:

They did tell me how often they had talked about it on the news…
and, just 3 days before, I visited the spillway with friends and
casually asked the rangers if I could launch a kayak in at the river
and whitewater kayak through.  They didn’t outright tell me it was
illegal, but they did discourage me.

The closed spillway trespassing was just a warning ticket.  The $200 ticket’s
offense is listed as:

“No person shall operate any vessel or other watercraft (jetski) in a
careless, negligent, or reckless manner so be to endanger any person
or property.”

I maintain that I was not operating in any dangerous manner.  I used
extreme caution when near any fixed structures and in fact was
comfortable enough to be able to ride with only one hand while using
the other hand to video the whole thing.

Do you think my defense will stand up?

ME:

Absolutely.

We have to stop having the government put diapers on the public.

If they “discourage” people using the spillway for recreation, CLOSE IT. Don’t ticket people for obeying the law.

I stand by you and I will modify my post. What’s your phone number? Mind if I call tomorrow?

So what are the chances of you emailing me just one of those video files so I can upload them to my youtube channel?

I of course understand if you don’t want them up, but I think the post could be about your plight with the bullshit ticket and how there were no signs or warnings. It really bugs me that we’re being told how to use public recreation areas when anyone in Tennessee can hop in a kayak and do far more dangerous class IV rapids in a kayak on the Ocoee.
HIM:
Sorry I missed your call yesterday… I was out JetSkiing in the
Rigolets and the Pearl River.  Feel free to try me again today some
time.  (I may go out to Bayou Bienievue and MRGO to see the “Great
Wall of Chalmette.”)

I’d like to keep the videos under wraps until after I contest my
ticket.  I want to be as ‘cooperative’ as I can… that is, until I
get what I want.  Then, I’m all for having them on your web site and
everywhere else.

I totally agree with your comment about rapids in the Ocoee.  Fast
moving water does not necessarily mean danger.  I have been JetSkiing
for 20 years and boating for over 30 years.  I know how to be safe.

This is the end of our email conversation. Good luck with the fight!
All these pics and videos were taken from my moving truck on I-10.


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