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Photo courtesy of Jim Henderson
Photo courtesy of Jim Henderson

Assemblymember Steven Cymbrowitz is rocking the boat by introducing legislation that would ban certain “party boats” from docking and anchoring in Sheepshead Bay.

The boats, deemed a “longtime community nuisance associated with drunken patrons and noise” by Cymbrowitz’s office, have allegedly been “intruding” on the quality of life of surrounding neighbors.

“Look at the problem from a resident’s perspective,” said Cymbrowitz. “People drink and get rowdy even before they board the party boats. It’s one big party – but nobody who lives in this community is celebrating.”

The legislation, specific to Sheepshead Bay only, defines a “party boat” as a “vessel at least 14 feet long, operated by an owner or employee, and rented for a group recreational event of more than six passengers.”

“Everyone deserves a decent quality of life and the party boats have been depriving people of that basic right,” said Cymbrowitz. “Party boats in Sheepshead Bay operate without regard to the community they exist in and absolve themselves of the negative actions of their patrons once they dock.”

Theresa Scavo, chair of Community Board 15, said that she can see “both sides of the story.”

“You’re talking the quality of life issue, but I can also see the economic side of putting all those people out of business in the bay,” said Scavo. “I truly believe that we have to sit down and talk and decide what’s going to be the best thing for everyone.”

The bill would allow the boats to come no closer than 750 feet of the shore or 100 feet of the Sheepshead Bay dock, according to Cymbrowitz’s office.

The legislation also limits the volume of music or any other sounds coming from the boats except for emergency horns or sirens. Fishing boats, “a historic staple of Sheepshead Bay,” will be exempt from the bill.

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