Letter to Rep. Nadler about ferry boat horn problem

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To: Celine Mizrahi, Staffer for Rep. Jerrold Naddler

Ms. Mizrahi,

I received your email as a possible contact in Rep. Nadler’s office. If you are the incorrect contact, would you please forward my note to the correct person.

I read that Rep. Nadler was at the CB1 meeting yesterday and discussed the ferry boat horns at the BPC ferry terminal with a reporter. Please thank him for helping the community with this issue.

The unnecessary horns have a very negative impact on the quality of life here in Battery park City. Four horns every time a ferry departs! I do not live near the horns but still hear them and know what a problem they are for closer residents.

The ferries have been operating here for 20-plus years without blowing horns. Why start now when we all know the horns ruin the community? NYC would never let buses honk four times at every intersection.

The horns do not increase safety. Every boater knows the ferries pull in and out of the terminal. They only dock for a few minutes. You do not need to hear a horn to know the ferry will be pulling out. And if there is a kayaker in the way, horns will not change them being in the way. What is needed is for the ferries “to maintain a proper lookout” and look before backing up.

Rep. Nadler may have mentioned trying to change the waterway regulations. This is wrong path. The way to solve this local issue is to get the United States Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Capt Loebl gordon.a.loebl@uscg.mil, to issue a special Local Regulation for the WFC ferry terminal. This regulation could state that if a ferry maintains a proper lookout and visually monitors the water behind them to ensure no kayakers are in the way, then they could back up without blowing the horns.

If Capt. Loebl feels he is unable to do this, then have him issue a security zone around the ferry terminal excluding human powered vessels. The safety issue would then go away and we could go back to how the terminal has been operating for 20+ years.

Michael Fortenbaugh
Commodore, North Cove Marina

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