Mooring Owners Scrambling After Compliance Sweep

Freedom — July 19, 2006 — A Marine Patrol crackdown on unregistered individual moorings this week has some Ossipee Lake boaters scrambling to comply with the state’s mooring law.

Starting on Monday, large yellow stickers began appearing on moorings around the lake stating that owners have seven days to register with the Department of Safety Services or risk having the mooring and boat confiscated.

Six lakes in the state are subject to the law, RSA 270:61, which was established in 1989 and modified in 1997 to include Ossipee Lake. Its provisions require that the applicant establish why the mooring is necessary and why it will be safe. Only one mooring is permitted per shorefront property, regardless of the number of owners, and the mooring cannot be rented or sold.

While there is no cost to apply for an individual mooring permit, once one is approved an annual $25 decal is required.

Some of those caught in this week’s compliance sweep had moorings that were registered but lacked the annual decal, prompting a hasty trip to the Department of Safety Services headquarters in Belmont.

Unluckier were those whose moorings have never been registered. While the application can be downloaded from the Internet, approval can take much longer than the seven day courtesy period the Marine Patrol is offering, especially if a site inspection is required or if the applicant is requesting a special exception for more than one mooring.

For some, the possibility of having their boat towed by the state and having to retrieve it later at considerable expense wasn’t worth the risk. Around the lake, residents reported seeing boats and yellow-tagged moorings being removed from the water by their owners at mid-week.

A state source declined to say how many warnings have been issued on Ossipee Lake, but added that her office has been busier than usual fielding calls and answering questions. About 75% of the lake has been canvassed for violations to date in the ongoing effort.

Information on the mooring law, including the required application, can be found on the Department of Safety Services website (www.state.nh.us\safety\ss) or can be obtained by calling 603-267-6453.

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