Lakes Legislation Update

Concord — February 27, 2007 — With the 2007 legislative session under way, bills affecting the state’s lakes are making their way through the committee process.

Out of State Boaters
HB 815, sponsored by the N.H. Lakes Association, was approved 16-4 by the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee. The bill would address boating safety by requiring that a boater education decal be displayed on all boats in state waters.

Boats registered in New Hampshire would be issued a decal at no charge as part of the annual registration process, while out of state boaters would be required to purchase a decal in order to operate in state waters. Fees from out of state boaters would be apportioned between state funds supporting lake restoration and preservation, dam maintenance, public boat access and navigation safety.

Boat Rental Businesses
HB 714, another bill sponsored by the N.H. Lakes Association, would enable the state to hold motorized watercraft rental businesses responsible for renting to unlicensed or irresponsible boat operators. The bill would also ensure that responsible watercraft rental businesses are shielded from liability for the unlawful use of their vessels.

The House Transportation Committee passed the bill unanimously by a vote of 12-0. If it becomes law, HB-714 would require individuals and businesses renting motorized watercraft to obtain a license through the Department of Safety. A set of educational materials would be provided to the rental business to be read and understood by each renter before they may enter NH’s lakes and ponds.

Additional Appropriations
HB 665, which would appropriate $750,000 to the Department of Environmental Services to fund shoreland enforcement and outreach positions, was passed by the House Resources, Recreation and Development Committee by a vote of 13-4. The same committee passed HB 505 which would appropriate $100,000 to expand the state’s water quality monitoring efforts.

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