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Kayak applications now being reviewed

Nine kayak operators’ applications are under review to see which will qualify for the lottery-like selection for launching timeslots that will be held before the busy summer 2009 tourist season.

April McCusker of the city’s Real Estate Division said timelines have not been set yet on the selection of eligible kayak operators or when the timeslot lottery will be held. “The bottom line is they’re trying to be inclusive, not cutting down to just three or four the number of kayak operators,” she said.

The new system has been proposed to ease weekend congestion among kayakers at La Jolla Shores boat launch area by placing limitations on the number of kayak operators during the mid-June to Labor Day peak season.

San Diego Lifeguards have noted a marked increase in the number of kayaks in recent years as well as the number of incidents involving collisions with swimmers.

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McCusker said the total number of operators chosen would depend upon “what they want and have asked for as compared to what can actually work out. Everybody’s intent is to get this moving along. We know everybody’s nervous about getting chosen and moving on with their business plans.”

Meanwhile, Lifeguard Lt. John Greenhalgh said last week the city has approved verbiage for a new sign to be put up soon near the Marine Room at La Jolla Shores.

The sign will reinforce an existing kayak ban in a swim area from the foot of Roseland Drive north past the main lifeguard tower where a swimmer was injured in a collision with a kayak.

“It will be pretty small,” he said, “just show the municipal code and indicate the area is off limits to launching and beaching of vessels.”

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Greenhalgh noted the new sign would likely be placed on an existing pole that has a couple of other small signs on it.