(WGGB/WSHM) – Frustrations are growing for boaters along the Connecticut River in Northampton, where partying and safety issues have them talking.
“It’s gross. The stuff that happens late at night, it’s just out of line,” said Mark Britton of Hadley.
Britton spoke with Western Mass News to discuss concerns about parties on the Connecticut River. He called it the worst thing he’s seen since he was a kid.
“Unruly environment, underage drinking, debauchery, fireworks, just a total party,” Britton added.
When we boarded their pontoon boat Monday afternoon to check it out, the coast was clear, but photos from the weekend revealed trash bags, tequila bottles found in the water and more.
“When we get here, the first thing we do is clean up the area where we put our boat because the last time we were here – a lot of bottle caps, a lot of trash,” said Carol Crowe of Springfield.
Britton told us that he has witnessed boats carrying people to the beach.
“They bring too many people here from 10 at night until two, three, four in the morning,” Britton explained.
We have brought the concerns to Hampden County Sheriff’s spokesman Robert Rizzuto. In a statement to Western Mass News, he said, in part:
“The big party at Rainbow Beach was the first weekend in August. Because of this, the Connecticut River Task Force, of which we are a member, was asked to patrol this past weekend. While on patrol this past weekend, there was some activity in the area, but nothing major and no citations were issued.”
Onlookers who contacted Western Mass News captured video of boats patrolling the water north of Rainbow Beach Friday night, but Britton is calling for more crackdowns on the party and boating safety.
“You’ve got people blowing through the no-wake zones. You’ve got thousands of dollars worth of boats sitting on docks in the no-wake zones that are being bumped back and forth,” Britton added. “We can’t have 9 to 5 patrols here … by the time law enforcement is off the water for the night, it’s the wild west. It’s ‘Let the party begin.'”
The Hampden County Sheriff’s Department told us they will be deploying a marine patrol unit as requested to ensure safe boating for the rest of the season.
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