Keep the Speed Limit

[The following is an editorial from the February 17, 2011 edition of the Carroll County Independent]

Among other non-job creating measures the legislature is considering is SB 27, which replaces the current 45 mph daytime speed limit and 30 mph nighttime speed limit with a general standard that calls for boats to “proceed at a safe speed that is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions and with regard for the actual and potential hazards then existing” at all times.

The proposed law then cites six factors all boaters need to take into account in setting a speed, plus another six factors that boats equipped with radar need to consider. In other words, the bill proposes to replace a single objective standard with at least six subjective ones. Why? To allow those who wish to run their boats at speeds higher than 45 mph during the day and 30 mph at night.

Are we the only one whose first thought on reading this proposed law was of Erica Blizzard and her June 2008 nighttime crash into Diamond Island? We would hope that anyone would conclude she was not proceeding “at a safe speed that is reasonable and prudent under the existing conditions,” but that may be open to argument under SB 27.

We think opponents of SB 27 have good arguments against getting rid of speed limits. The most significant of them for us is the simple fact that more boats are on Lake Winnipesaukee and most of them are smaller and more vulnerable than those that can crank it up to 70 mph or more.

Speed limits make boating on the lake safer. Removing them makes the lake less safe. What benefit could possibly make that trade-off worthwhile?

9 Comments

  1. Jim Shuff 11 years ago February 21, 2011

    I do not believe that their should be a 45 mph speed limit on the lakes that is not reasonable. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. The Blizzard example is one of a very unfortunate event which she will have to live with, as have others. I had a good friend whose son had driven over his best friend, who had fallen off of the bow of the boat, and the friend died from the resulting injury. He still has issues with this today. Of course, there will be some who do not have a conscience, like any accident, and will not be bothered by something like this. Speed limits will not change that. Speed limits would not have avoided this, it was an accident. What should be done, is more operator training. Very few of the folks that I grew up had a really fast boat with their first boat. We are progressed from small engines as our expertise grew. Just because someone can afford to buy a very fast boat the first time, does not mean that they are capable of operating it. Just watch some of these folks try and dock it!! It is embarassing!!!!

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  2. Lupa Gunt 11 years ago February 21, 2011

    Speed limits on land and water are for the law-abiding and sensible operators and have no impact of those bent on speeding regardless of circumstances. The only reasonable tact is to impose heavy fines and/or prison terms on the offenders who caused “accidents” in particular death resulting.

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  3. atony 11 years ago February 21, 2011

    Well said Lupa!
    What the Independent failed to comment on is that Blizzard had also been drinking. So it’s very likely that a speed limit would have not prevented the incident. The only result that speed limits will produce is to restrict law abiding citizens. The only real benefit would be to the local governement because the marine patrol would be able to ticket “speeders” and help generate some additional revenue for our cash strapped towns and cities.
    When will it sink in that the governement will never be able to legislate common sense.
    “Speed limits make boating on the lake safer” NO, intelligent responsible boaters make boating safe!!!!

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  4. Reed Malloy 11 years ago February 23, 2011

    Never thought much about speed limits until a couple of fools over at Westward Shores Campground showed up a couple of years ago with their 25 Baja Outlaws. Friends at the campground tell me that these fools get liquored up and then we all get to enjoy them driving in circles at ridiculous speeds on the weekends. Of course when I see them they are always as close to shore as possible to show off. A speed limit gives the Marine Patrol & Fish and Game a reason to pull these punks over and hopefully nab them for drunk boating as well. When Shawtown closed up years ago, we thought it would rid the Lake of a lot of scum. Unfortunately the present management at Westward Shores has turned it into Shawtown II, and speed limits are but a tool we need to be protected from such!

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  5. dmax 11 years ago February 26, 2011

    Reed Malloy are all campers scum? I don’t camp at Westward Shores and I don’t know the owners of the Baja Outlaws. I do see them running around the lake at about 7:00 p.m. when the lake is calm. I’ve never seen them running at speed close to shore. I’ve been camping on Ossipee Lake for over 45 years and own a boat that goes over 50. The Marine Patrol does a good job grabbing dangerous boaters without the speed limit. If gas prices hit $5.00 or more no one is going to be going over 50 m.p.h. in a boat!

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  6. Reed Malloy 11 years ago February 26, 2011

    No, not all campers are scum…but Westward Shores seems to be the the hub of a lot of problems the Lake suffers, whether boating in the summer or snowmobile issues in the winter. As for the Bajas, they’ve been terrorizing the Lake on Saturdays & Sundays for several years now. Hopefully the implementation and expansion of the spped limit law will discourage this type of boat from migrating here, and these cowboys can easily trailer these boats down to the seacoast where they belong! No one needs to br going 50+ on this family Lake.

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  7. atony 11 years ago March 2, 2011

    Reed,
    How do you expect speed laws to slow down a “liquored up” boater???? If they are irresponsible to the point of drinking and driving no speed law will protect us. I too, see a lot of drinking and boating around the sand bar near Cassie cove but I have NEVER seen the Marine Patrol approach any individual with a beer can in hand.

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  8. Reed Malloy 11 years ago March 2, 2011

    Excellent question atony. One of the results of intoxication is lack of inhibition. This trait reesults in the operator failing to follow established rules & regulations. A speed limit gives Marine Patrol and fish & game another tool to stop a potentially inebriated boater and arrest them for DWI. As for the beer in hand at Cassie’s Cove, currently it is legal to boat and openly drink as an operator as long as the operator is not intoxicated. Crazy, isn’t it?

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  9. atony 11 years ago March 2, 2011

    I was trying to make a subtle point that the Marine Patrol seems to avoid the “crazy’s”. They seem to focus on the “easy” citations. The folks that pose little risk and are more apt to respect the Marine Patrol. The liquored up warriors pose too much potential resistance. If things get dicey for the Marine Patrol back-up is limited and most likely not immediate.
    At any point during a crowded summer day the Marine Patrol could easily witness the behavior of an inebriated boater and take steps to address. In my opinion the Marine Patrol already has sufficient tools to address careless boaters. Speed limits will just restrict the law abiding citizens. But I do agree that open containers being legal is crazy and is just asking for trouble.

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