Newport Beach

Newport Boaters Blown Back by Water Jetpacks

No new flyboarding business permits will be issued in the next six months

You may have seen the fancy ads for a new kind of outdoor fun. Like something out of the "Jetsons," folks can propel themselves into the air, dive like a rocket through the water, all while wearing a jetpack.

The new rocket packs are making a splash for thrill seekers, but are becoming a nuisance for some residents in Newport Beach.

"They're noisy, really noisy," Newport resident Devon Kelly said at a Newport Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday. "They don’t understand to move when the small sabot sailors come down."

The outcry has prompted city officials in the upscale northern Orange County beach city to suspend issuing new licenses for new businesses peddling the new tech that can be seen hovering in the harbor. The council will spend the next six months deciding how to best incorporate the jetpacks in the bay.

Newport Beach City Councilman Michael F. Henn, who has used the jetpacks, said he voted for the ordinance because there are safety concerns. The jetpacks are operating in waters with other boats and create wake.

The backpack devices, which operate using a jet ski engine that shoots streams of water, allow people to hover in the air.

Kelly, a boater, said the jetpacks do raise safety concerns.

Dean O’Malley, president of Jetpack America, which provides lessons to use the machines in Newport Beach and other places across the country, said he'd work hard to be a friendly neighbor.

"We’ve adapted the best we can to accommodate the local residents," he said.

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