In the dock: Pol takes aim at party boats after seaside brawl

Lights and sirens: Party boat passengers broke out into a fight late at night on Aug. 6.
Brooklyn Daily
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Talk about troubled waters.

After a brawl that broke out in the street after hundreds of passengers disembarked from one of Sheepshead Bay’s party boats late at night on Aug. 6, Councilman Chaim Deutsch (D–Sheepshead Bay) is drafting legislation to crack down on the notoriously noxious nautical nuisances.

Locals have been complaining for years about the loud noise, excessive traffic, public urination, and piles of trash left behind by passengers on the weekends, but little has been done to address the quality-of-life issues — and now enough is enough, said Deutsch, whose bill would require the so-called booze cruise skippers to provide parking for their passengers. Because parking is so scarce in the area, the effect would be a de facto cap on the number of party boats.

“It would require a sufficient amount of parking, and they would have to come up with that amount of parking for the party boats,” said Deutsch. “In Sheepshead Bay, you’re already strapped with parking, so if someone can come up some parking lot and some place where they could put cars, things could work out.”

Police say they have no report of last Sunday’s 4 am fight, but video and photos show a group of about 10 men breaking into a fight and running down Emmons Avenue, while police cars with flashing lights and officers attempted to stop it.

Several social media users left behind racially-charged comments on the video that was posted to Facebook — which speaks to a larger concern brought up repeatedly before that those fighting against the boats are only doing so because most of the passengers are black. But Deutsch says it has nothing to do with that, it’s simply an issue of keeping everyone safe, including all of the party-boat goers.

“This is not about people coming in, this is strictly about safety issues and quality of life issues,” he said.

Deutsch isn’t the first Sheepshead Bay pol to attempt legal action for a calmer bayside — Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz floated legislation in Albany back in June to completely ban the booze cruises from the Parks Department-owned piers, but the bill is dead until the Assembly reconvenes next year.

Deutsch said he supports Cymbrowitz’s bill, but doubts he could propose a similar measure in the city to completely nix the boats. Instead, requiring parking would hopefully reduce the problems plaguing the neighborhood and ensure everyone’s safety, he said.

“I don’t know if I can make a bill to ban them completely. People are entitled to have a good time, but having something in this magnitude is unacceptab­le,” said Deutsch. “And something this large, I will not tolerate it. I will do everything I can to make sure people are safe and people’s quality of life doesn’t get affected.”

Deutsch also held a meeting with several city agencies on Aug. 8 — including the Parks Department, Fire Department, and Police Department — along with community residents, local business owners, and boat captains to discuss the issue. He suggested that the Parks Department look into the legality of cutting back on the number of permits it gives out, both this season and the next, if people’s safety is at risk — similar to a nuisance abatement, he said.

“Everyone at the meeting agreed that it needs to be reduced. We need to have less people at the bay at the same given time. No one should be at risk,” Deutsch said. “If it’s a safety risk, I asked them to legally look into reducing the amount of permits.”

The Parks Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Deutsch said department officials agreed to look into it.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 8:18 am, September 15, 2017
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