HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

The sound of fun on the water: pretty loud

Written July 19th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

Operators of personal watercraft have fun Sunday on the Willamette at Bowman Park.

On a ride Sunday afternoon, I stopped at Bowman Park, got off the bike, climbed a little hill for a better view, and watched a few minutes of the activity on the river below.

Pretty impressive, what one of those personal watercraft drivers was showing, including complete somersaults. That’s not something I would have thought a motorboat could do.

The reach of the Willamette River near this Albany park is popular with owners of these craft, a cross between a dirt bike and a speedboat. Mostly, I would guess, the water there is suitable because it’s deep enough to accommodate tricks. No gravel bars or other shallows to bring you up short.

I was wondering about the noise, which you can hear on the video below.

As it happens, the Oregon State Marine Board has a rule on that point. It says the engine noise from boat motors made after 1993 must not exceed 88 dBA or decibels. The noise reaching the shoreline must not exceed 84 dBA.

I didn’t have a decibel meter to check. But if I had to guess, based on experience with other situations where noise was an issue, I’d say that what I heard was well below what the Marine Board says. (hh)


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