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I live 100 yards from the World Financial Center terminal. I complained to my Community Board about ferries at the terminal blasting their horns, and the Board forwarded to me your email of May 31 to New York Waterway.
I respect that you have a duty to enforce Inland Navigation Rule 34. On behalf of myself and my neighbors, I sincerely ask that you do so judiciously. Lower Manhattan is different from other places. Hundreds of hard-working families live within just a few blocks of the terminal, many of us with young children. Dozens of ferry boats visit the terminal every hour, starting at 6 a.m. sharp every weekday. When every one of those boats blasts their foghorn, four times each on every visit, the situation becomes ridiculous.
Perhaps you could get comfortable that the WFC terminal slips are not a "dock or berth," as that phrase is used in Rule 34, because the boats are not tied or secured in any way. Instead, they stay in place solely by continuously gunning their engines (which itself is a lively topic of conversation in the community, by the way). That is a real distinction.
Nobody is surprised when those ferries pull out. They are in their respective slips for just a minute or two each. That traffic pattern is clear for all to see. On top of that, just from the way they keep their engines gunning, it would be obvious even to a total novice that something big has to change very soon.
We have a lot of everything in lower Manhattan, but early on a weekday morning, even in mid-summer, it is extremely rare to see a single kayaker or sailboat under way anywhere near the terminal. Frankly the ferries are, without any horns, already so noisy and smoky that they are incapable of surprising anybody. In any case a person who takes it upon himself to get into a kayak at 6 in the morning and paddle around lower Manhattan knows exactly what he is doing. He is seeking fun and excitement in an inherently dangerous sport, and the thrill and glory of being among the "big fish" is a big part of that. The theoretical risk of somehow surprising this non-existent, thrill-seeking novice insomniac kayaker someday -- that is not nearly worth waking up hundreds of hard-working families every single morning.
Please throttle back.
Respectfully, (Name withheld, lives on River Terrace)
Reply from Captain Kinnear. Note his references to fears of lawsuit.
I feel your pain. When I was growing up. I lived in an apartment in Brooklyn over a Chinese laundry a block away from the overhead trains. I would love to help you, but the ferry captains are following the Rules of the Road. The Rules of the Road is the international law of all navigational waters. If the captains do not sound the proper signals as required, they are putting their livelihood and Merchant Mariners License in serious jeopardy as well as for the safety of the people using the waterways. Just like there are driving rules for driving cars, either you follow them, and if you don't, your license can be taken away.
God forbid that a ferry ever hit a kayaker, a sailboat, swimmers, another ferry, and someone dies and it is found out through investigation that this person was killed because the ferry failed to sound the proper signals as required by law. Guess what happens to the captain. I don't think theres a court in the world that would not try and hang the captain, because the captain failed to sound his sound signal which is no more than 6 seconds.
I'm sorry again to say this, but until the International Maritime Organization and the US Congress change the rules, there is nothing I can do.