Jetpacks Grounded at Newport Harbor for Six Months

The Newport Beach City Council places a moratorium on the activity so city staffers can study its safety and appropriateness.

Jetpacking in Newport Harbor. Patch file photo.
Jetpacking in Newport Harbor. Patch file photo.
The Newport Beach City Council has pulled the ... tube? ... on jetpacks on its waterways.

The council voted this week to temporarily ground the activity while officials make sure it's safe.

Here's how a jetpack, also called Jetlev, Aquaflyer, Aquaboard, work, according to a city staff report:

Typically, the user wears a shoulder pack which is connected to a personal watercraft type vessel.  This modified vessel sucks in water up to the user via a long tube where the water is then forced down at a high velocity, therefore creating lift to raise the user above the water surface.

With that out of the way, officials say they have to "ensure the health, safety and welfare of the residents and visitors of Newport Harbor" by studying the fairly new phenomenon. 

Santa Ana attorney Eric Traut he settled a lawsuit for $100,000 on behalf of a client who was injured while jetpacking in Newport Harbor in March, CBS News reports

Residents and boaters have also complained to city staff about noise, exhaust, wake and speed violations, according to a staff report.  

All this has city staffers concerned.

"The proliferation of new water propulsion vessel businesses within Newport Harbor presents a current and immediate threat to the public peace, health and safety in that such operations are out of character with the design and residential character of Newport Harbor," the report says.

Space is also at a premium at the harbor, staff said. Jetpacking requires three separate vessels just for one participant. That could be a recipe for disaster. 

The moratorium is good for at least six months. One company, Jetpack America, was allowed to continue operations because it has a permit from the city, according to the Daily Pilot.

Kevin McManus June 27, 2014 at 09:22 AM
Safe, as long as you pay.....got it...
Marc Cobb June 27, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Newport wants nothing in the area that draws non-residents, first the fire pits now water jet packs, fence the whole city off why don't you!
Sew Good June 28, 2014 at 12:33 AM
This is a trend across the entire state. "You can't freely play with that until we find a way to regulate control of it."


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