LEE COUNTY, Fla. - Jet skis could soon inhabit areas where the watercraft has been banned for years. This week, the Port Sanibel Marina is asking Lee County Commissioners to consider allowing jet ski rentals in the back bay of Estero.
"I don't think jet skis create anymore wake or noise more than a boat, if anything a boat creates more," said Fort Myers resident Emily Bumsted.
Jet skis are a common sight near open waters and sandy beaches and since 1995, that's the only place rental operators have been allowed. But now, the Port Sanibel Marina is making waves and asking the county to make an exception.
The manager of Port Sanibel Marina is requesting a special license, which would allow guided eco-tours through the shallow waters.
"We went out a few weeks ago and it was really fun and we didn't do any of the jetski stuff until we got out to the big areas anyway," said Bumsted.
The county says they don't like the idea of Port Sanibel Marina being the only exception to the rule and others say the engine noise and the wake created by the machines could shatter the silence for nature lovers and disrupt the wildlife.
"A lot of the people, the reason they go out on a kayak, they like the peaceful experience of paddling through the mangroves and just hearing the wildlife. If there's constantly customers riding wave runners all over the place, that could ruin their experience," said Jakob Gradey with Holiday Water Sports.
If the board does approve the marina's proposal, the guided eco-tours would be limited to six guests and a guide.