To the Editor:
Beachgoers at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester should have their public safety guaranteed by the laws of the City of Gloucester and the laws of Massachusetts.
People standing in the water should be protected by laws from being hit by surfers. The surfers, like operators of motor vehicles, should be in control of their vehicles at all times.
Just as it is the responsibility of a operator of a motor vehicle to avoid hitting pedestrians, the surfboard operator should be held to a similar law. The person standing in the water might have a greater legal right to be where they are because they are standing on land, beneath the surface of the water.
Just the other day, I was standing in the water waiting to body-surf a wave, and was threatened with bodily harm by surfboarders who chose to surf waves extremely close to me. When I confronted the surfboarders, I was told that I should watch where I was swimming.
First of all I was not swimming, I was standing on the beach in about 2
feet of water. The surfers chose to surf so close to me that I was in danger of being seriously hurt.
The surfers were the operators of moving vehicles that chose to surf a path too close to me. I didn’t see even one of the surfers so much as attempt to steer away from me so to avoid a collision. In a collision, their chances of being hurt are miniscule, whereas my chance of being hurt by a sharp, pointed, heavy object moving at 10 or more miles per hour is actually quite high.
As far as I can tell, no enforcement or control of surfboarders’ behavior with regard to the public safety of swimmers or waders is evident.
City ordinances should protect the walkers and or waders from being injured by boats or surfboarders.
However, incidents of violations of these bylaws will only continue if these ordinances are not enforced.