Waterskiers out of inner harbor

Council also confirms new judge and approves police boat purchase.

Expect calmer waters on Eagle Harbor this summer.

The City Council on Wednesday approved a ban on water skiing in the inner portion of the harbor to improve the safety of other boaters and reduce wakes blamed for shore erosion. The ban takes effect June 26.

“Waterskiing is a great activity, but dangerous for people who are kayaking or rowing,” said Councilwoman Debbie Vancil. “The city has a responsibility to ensure the safety of all citizens who use the harbor.”

Eagle Harbor Drive resident Steve Eckholm called the ban “a wonderful idea” that he hopes will reduce wakes causing damage to property his family has inhabited for three generations.

“Motorized water sports is an enormous danger to my property,” he said.

The council also amended city code to allow emergency vessels and human-powered watercraft to exceed the harbor’s 5-knot speed limit under certain circumstances. Motorized vessels supporting rowers that are outfitted to produce low wakes will also be permitted to exceed the speed limit.

Waterskiing in the outer harbor off Pritchard Park is undergoing a review to determine the sport’s impact on salmon habitat and the protective sediment capping industrial contaminants in the Bill Point area.

Carruthers confirmed: Kate Carruthers received a warm welcome from the council after her confirmation as the new Bainbridge Municipal Court judge.

Carruthers succeeds Judge Steve Holman, who was appointed to the Kitsap County District Court in March after nearly two decades presiding over the island’s municipal court.

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy listed Carruthers’ many achievements as an attorney, municipal court judge pro-tem, community activist and a few off-beat accomplishments in the fields of drama and extreme sports.

“I’m impressed with the actor part,” said Councilman Kjell Stoknes, alluding to her involvement in local plays.

“I’m impressed with the triathlete part,” said Councilman Jim Llewellyn.

“I’m impressed with the grandmother part,” countered Vancil.

“They’re all schmoozing you up for a future parking ticket,” said Councilman Bill Knobloch.”

Too late for Councilman Nezam Tooloee.

“When I talked with Kate I realized she’s the same lady I appeared before when I had a speeding ticket,” he said.

“I’m honored by the trust and confidence you’ve placed in me,” said Carruthers after her confirmation. “I hope to live up to the high standard Judge Holman set over the last 16 years.”

Police boat funded: Bain­bridge police on Wednesday received final approval from the council to obtain a grant-sponsored patrol boat.

The $563,000 vessel is covered by a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant, but required additional approval from the council.

Police expect the boat will arrive within two months.

Outfitted with a thermal imaging system, duel outboard engines and a drop bow for front loading, the 33-foot vessel is a substantial improvement from the department’s current patrol boat, according to Bainbridge Police Lt. Bob Day.

“It’s a quantum leap over what we have now,” he said. “It definitely benefits the folks on the island.”

Despite their approval, some councilors expressed concerns that the vessel would also benefit others at the island’s expense.

Day said the vessel will only be used in emergencies to assist other jurisdictions.

“We’re not going to be patrolling the (Seattle) waterfront,” he said. “We have a fair amount of coastline to keep an eye on and water we have to patrol.”

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