Curbing the floating party

Boaters blaring music, dropping anchor and tethering together near Smith's Bridge in Ferrysburg is causing headaches for some who live on Smith's Bayou.
Krystle Wagner
Jun 26, 2012

Spring Lake resident Terry Grotemat said it's often a challenge to maneuver between other boaters and swimmers near Smith’s Bridge.

“Patrols would be fine if they told them to move,” he said at last week’s Ferrysburg City Council meeting.

Grotemat said he would like to see a buoyed channel established for boats to remain out of the way.

Ferrysburg Councilwoman Rebecca Hopp said “unspeakable things” happen on the boats.

Although the area is congested, there’s nothing illegal about it, said Lt. Lee Hoeksema of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Hoeksema said the most common complaints from that area are about the noise, but that’s something the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department enforces. The Sheriff's Department marine patrol monitors the area to enforce marine laws — such as operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, underage drinking, and reckless boating — Hoeksema explained.

Another area patrolled for noise complaints off Spring Lake is Stahl’s Bayou, commonly known as Hanky Pank Bayou, Hoeksema said. As music blares, some boaters walk boat to boat, which presents the danger of falling over and potential drowning.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

 

Comments

truthhurts

'unspeakable things"?? really? common. There are just as many families tied up out there as there are party goers doing unspeakable things....get a clue council women. It is part of the lake and the boats have a right to tie up together like that. The property owners over there do not own the lake. A small channel might be a good idea though, although i don't think it is necessary because it is slow no wake through there and you have to go slow any how...DEAL WITH IT!! Furthermore, I see the cops there every weekend making sure everything is under control, if there was a problem with boat not being able to get through, they would handle it.

truthhurts

'unspeakable things"?? really? common. There are just as many families tied up out there as there are party goers doing unspeakable things....get a clue council women. It is part of the lake and the boats have a right to tie up together like that. The property owners over there do not own the lake. A small channel might be a good idea, although i don't think it is necessary because it is slow no wake through there and you have to go slow any how...DEAL WITH IT!! Furthermore, I see the cops there every weekend making sure everything is under control, if there was a problem with boat not being able to get through, they would handle it.

theQuin

What an overstatement, Rebecca Hopp! "Unspeakable things"? Really. Of course, she lives on the bayou, as well. I see people having fun, families swimming, and there was even talk once of a rock star appearance.
Truthhurts is right. The people who live around the bayou do not own the lake.
The sheriff patrols the area, and rightly helps catch underaged drinkers, etc. As for rafting off - it is just good, clean fun!

Grand Haven Happy

Total BS! Been there so many times and and so have the many law officers (nearly constantly)and there has never been ANY unspeakable things as to off-color or illegal activities. Lots of family activities and fun? YES, you bet! I'd suggest the complainer set her big powerful binoculars down, stop fantasizing for her own personal kicks and grow UP!!! She doesn't own the lake or the bayous...

timetogrowup

Quin and truthhurts nail it on the head! Rebecca Hopp needs to spend a little more time out on the water then assuming we are all out doing "Unspeakable things"!!!! I wonder if she is talking about my 2 young boys jumping off the boat and having fun with their friends while we enjoy the wonderful lake that WE ALL GET TO SHARE, not just the property owners. I have spent several days out floating here and can say I haven't seen anything that I feel is "Unspeakable things". The sheriff patrols do a great job keeping things in check.

Justthefacts

This woman needs to be removed from her job. It is disgraceful to state FALSE TRUTHS in order to push a political agenda. Frankly, us boaters are SICK AND TIRED of the harassment from the Tri-Cities, when all we are doing is BRINGING MONEY INTO THESE CITIES.

I am in Smith's Bayou nearly every weekend. Most of us with families started going there to avoid the twenty-something-year-olds @ HankyPank (Stahls' Bayou) Cove. RARELY is there any loud music and rarely does anything even remotely silly happen. The police officers do a FINE JOB of ensuring that the channel is clear for passage and the whole thing is one very calm area.

In fact, the main issue that goes on in Smith's is the local teens that ride their bikes down to the bridge to jump off it - which is illegal. Since they are mostly coming down on bicycles, can one assume that they are from Ferrysburg? Maybe Miss Hoop ought to patrol her own city before she goes on making FALSE allegations as to what goes on in the bayou. Just another NIMBY (not in my backyard) politician, using their little bit of power to try to consolidate all resources for who she's deems worthy and who is not.

Business owners of the Tri-City area need to start standing up to these local politician who are CONSTANTLY kicking boat owners in the teeth. We may not have a vote in the city, but we do bring in a lot of revenue - and if these city leaders aren't going after us in Spring Lake, they are kicking us off the sea wall in Grand Haven ON THE BUSIEST DAYS OF THE YEAR (fireworks on the 4th and during CGF) at noon and not allowing us back on the wall until the next morning - thus forcing us back to the marinas, where we spend ZERO dollars on the bars, restaurants and nightlife downtown.

Hopefully, Miss Hoop comes down to Smith's Cove and visits and I can introduce her to my family and my little kids and all their under age 14 friends and she can ask them what goes on back there. Swimming, grilling, unwinding and chatting. ALL UNSPEAKABLE ACTS!

[One has to wonder who lives on that cove and who, possibly, may be "influencing" her mouth.]

kmkball

Just because you have a house or dock on the bayou does not mean you own it! We have spent many summer weekends out there and it is a clean, safe and family friendly area. Boaters come and go all day long and can very easily get to their homes. This area survives because of the summer crowds and espeically the boaters so why keep making it harder and harder for families to go out and anchor and spend the day with other boaters. We have made great friends by rafting with other boaters and spending the day with the kids in the water and grilling out on the back of the boat. The big lake can be too ruff for some boats and definately too ruff to just anchor and swim. I agree with everyone else that the sheriff's department patrols pretty heavily in that area and if it was out of control in any way they would be right on it. Embrace what an awesome community we have and all the natural resources surounding our area. Don't judge people you don't know!

Justthefacts

For the record, her name is Rebecca Hopp, not HOOP.

http://www.ferrysburg.org/city-c...

truthhurts

sorry, you must have posted this as I was looking it up. Thanks!

Mark Brooky

Thanks. Duly noted and corrected above. Our apologies to Rebecca Hopp.

truthhurts

for anyone that is upset about the 'unspeakable acts' that happen on the lake, please feel free to contact the councilwomen herself at Rebecca Hopp - rhopp@ferrysburg.org I would recommend adding the other Ferrysburg council members to your email.

NoWay

I haven't seen anything too outrageous, the music is a little loud.............

Signed,
A dock owner in the immediate area

truthhurts

i agree that the music could be turned down a little bit, but that is up to the police to enforce.

Justthefacts

NoWay, thanks for your comment. As a boater who spends a lot of time tied up in Smith's Bayou with my family, I can honestly tell you that we do our best to make sure the music is kept to a minimum. Also, the sheriff comes back in the bayou often, asking people to turn down their music, but mostly to stop the teenagers who jump off the bridge.

Thanks and see you out there sometime soon!

WTF

In the picture accompanying the article, I see nothing but insane craziness, unspeakable acts being committed everywhere, nowhere for boats to get through, and general lewd behavior as a few groups of about 4 boats raft off of each other.

We need to stop this now before it gets out of hand. Soon more people might here about these concepts of fun and relaxation on weekends, and we CAN NOT HAVE THAT!!!

How dare people enjoy themselves. Thank God for counsel member Hopp and her crusade. And since the act of walking between boats that are tied together presents a clear danger of falling off and drowning, I think we should start working on banning docks on all of the Ferrysburg lake properties. These docks *clearly* present a hazard in which someone might unknowingly walk off the end of the dock and fall into the water and drown. I certainly hope Rebecca Hopp does not have a dock in front of her house.

ghmomma

Please list all the unspeakable things that are going on. What are these horrible acts that the boating heathens are committing?? I've never seen anything remotely unspeakable.....true, I am only fortunate enough to be a part of these really fun social events once, maybe twice a summer, but all I've ever witnessed is a lot of people having a lot of fun. How unhappy must one be to want to ruin the happiness of others? I dunno!

newspaperlawyer

Just think when you had very few slow no wake zones in the Tri-Cities area. Quote: Although the area is congested, there’s nothing illegal about it, said Lt. Lee Hoeksema of the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department.

Hoeksema said the most common complaints from that area are about the noise, but that’s something the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department enforces. The Sheriff's Department marine patrol monitors the area to enforce marine laws — such as operating a boat under the influence of alcohol or drugs, underage drinking, and reckless boating — Hoeksema explained.

The Sheriff Department does have the state authority under state law to enforce city ordinances. The issue maybe that the marine deputies are like reserve sheriff deputies. They are not fully qualified law enforcement officers.

DespisesUninformed

"The issue maybe that the marine deputies are like reserve sheriff deputies. They are not fully qualified law enforcement officers."



What exactly is your point? They enforce State Law on the water, correct?

Soupy

This is nonsense. Let's start with the locals. Newsflash - you live on a body of water so it will likely attract actual boats. And what exactly are those unspeakable things? I've been taking my children to Smith's for 10 years and we've seen nothing inappropriate. As to misinformed Councilwoman Hopp, I hope the voters take this into consideration during the next election. She has no business holding political office. Smith's is not Hanky Pank. It's a family friendly environment and a great way to enjoy a summer day. The boaters I know are respectful of the property owners and the other boaters. Let's be careful of these sweeping generalizations that negatively color entire groups of people.

Float My Boat

As someone who lives on Smith's Bayou, I am always encouraged to see people out enjoying the water that we all love and want to be near. I love to see the activity on the water in front of my home I just wish the bigger boats could get under the bridge as well
Does the music get loud at times on the water? Yea it does, but so does the weed whackers we use on our yards---SO WHAT!!! It happens twice a week for about 12 weekends then it is over.
Ferrysburg politicians have very little to do but manage road and fence heights, (There is no real downtown Ferrysburg)so this just gives them something to latch on to with there miniscule power.
A marked lane to get in and out of Smiths would be a good idea, and would stop the obstacle course run you have to take to get in or out of the bayou.
Those that are hanging out on the lake are NOT infringing on lake shore home owners docks or boats, and in the absence of that type of intrusion, the homeowners have very little to say about what is going on out on the water. I for one love to see that the activity has grown at Smiths bridge and that it is much more family friendly than hanky panky
It is a tourist town people!!!! Take a chill pill, and do something important like vote Obama out of office LOL

Justthefacts

Great Post! Good to see that even the fine folks (who we respect, immensely) loving on the Bayou are against Ms. Hopp and what appears to be her thirst for power.

goodshepard

Newspaperlawyer, thanks for quoting the article and explaining why the marine deputies can not enforce the local ordinances. You are so intelligent....lol

poop

Ha Ha. Saying "unspeakable acts" sounds real intelligent and probably shouldn't be used to describe anything if you want people to take you seriously. My family and I frequent Smith's on a regular basis and I can honestly say that there are rarely any issues that need to be resolved by more than the patrols that are there now, The marine patrols and coast guard do a fine job making things safe and pleasant for all. My family did witness a very "speakable" act a couple of Sunday mornings ago. A resident of Smiths (a fisherman) plowed through the anchorage of what was only a dozen boats in the whole bayou at the time. While motoring through with the biggest wake possible, he hit another boater's anchor line with his prop. The fisherman then proceeded to blame the whole thing on the anchored boat and was screaming that he needed to have room to get to the bayou. (He had more than enough room). The fisherman was irate and was threatening the innocent captain. Nearby boaters screamed they we calling 911. The fisherman heard that and cut the innocent boater's line and sped off at full speed back to his house on Smith's. The marine sheriff caught up with him at his house and put him in handcuffs, because he was drunk at 11:30 in the morning operating a vessel, property damage, and leaving the scene. Most boaters are responsible and courteous and are never afraid to police themselves if needed. We'll see this "ex boater" fishing on the pier from now on, and we'll give him a friendly "boater wave".

theQuin

I agree with Soupy. People should remember Hopp's reactionary stance at election time. She has big time political aspirations, but she might have "sunk her boat" with this comment!

theQuin

I agree with Soupy. People should remember Hopp's reactionary stance at election time. She has big time political aspirations, but she might have "sunk her boat" with this comment!

Boater

We've been boating for over a decade, I haven't seen anything wild at Smiths bayou, we feel its a place that we can bring the kids and be okay. We've seen "unspeakable things" as people cruise down the channel... should we not allow boats down the channel? We've heard all kinds of comments on the marine radio, should we eliminate the marine radio? Some people are just idiots. What worries us more than anything is how some idiots don't know the rules of boating and when they are in the channel they need to stay to the right. Just last week we were coming back to GH and some guy with a boat full of people was on the left dodging all of the boats weaving in and out of traffic. Larger boats aren't as maneuverable as some of the smaller boats and someday one of those fools are going to get hit and they will regret it.

tednugent4pres

The city of ferrysburg is a joke. it would be awesome if it was still ruled by spring lake.

theQuin

What does that have to do with Hopp's comment about "unspeakable" acts?

tednugent4pres

what does it not have to do with Hopp? She is apart of the city of ferrysburg

smithsboater

More importantly why would this reporter choose to fabricate this entire story? The public notes from the town hall meeting show Mr Groetmat requesting bouys for a safe channel for boats to pass. No one mentioned noise, parties or unspeakable acts. Additionally, Mrs. Hopp didn't even comment on the topic. As a resident, I have almost killed many a child swimming near Smiths' Bridge as I manuvered in between anchor row lines. No one cares if you're anchored at the bridge, but at least have enough boat savvy to let others through. Shame on you Trib for making POLITICAL DRAMA when its about the safety of boaters in local waters. Quin, stay in tune with your local politics by attending meetings before you speak about untruthful things.

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