The National Park Service (NPS) verifies these claims. During sound level testing conducted at Lake Powell's Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, maximum waterbike sound levels were found to be lower than the maximum sound levels of other motorized vessels. Judged against the NPS' standard, which is based on a reading of 82 dB-A at 82', it found that sound readings for the average waterbike ranged from 68 to 76 dB-A; other motorized vessels were found to average in the neighborhood of 64 to 86 dB-A. Just take note the next time a waterbike passes by. With the latest generation of craft, it's quite common to see them before you hear them.
Myth two blown out of the water.
Ask a Fish
Even with all this, waterbikes are still persona non grata in places where other boats roam free, such as the Everglades and its 100-mile-long Wilderness Waterway. Officials still hold on to the old image, even when marine biologists around them insist otherwise. For example, Florida's renowned Mote Marine Laboratory depends on waterbikes for its stranded animal investigations program. "They're quiet," explains Mote Senior Scientist Nelio Barros. "If the animal is still alive, then we need to assess whether the situation needs human interaction. These craft are so quiet, they allow us to get close enough to make a judgment."
Mote scientists also praise waterbikes for their ability to get into shallow water with little impact. "In our line of work, the sooner you get to the animal, the better," continues Barros. "But there's no way you can walk to, or get a big boat into, some of these shallow areas. A waterbike's maneuverability makes it the perfect vessel to use in a situation like ours. I can't say enough good things about them. They have come through for us in many different ways."
Still think waterbikes harass wildlife? Consider the numerous studies to the contrary. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that waterbikes have no greater impact on waterfowl than other motorized boats. There are also no marine mammal injuries or fatalities that have been attributed to waterbikes. In fact, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Protected Species Management reviewed 25 years of manatee mortality records and found no waterbike has ever been implicated in a manatee death or injury. And, despite ongoing contentions to the contrary, a test in the Florida Keys proved that when waterbikes are driven in line with manufacturer's recommended guidelines, they don't affect seagrass beds or water turbidity. Another myth down.
If you're not getting it by now, here's the buzz: Waterbikes are without a doubt Mother Nature's favorite.