Dive-Braun Bay

Swarms of boats surround the Dive in Braun Bay in this photo taken on July 4, 2019. The picture is an exhibit in a civil suit filed against the floating bar and restaurant by a Moultonborough couple who own shorefront property on the bay. (Courtesy photo)

MOULTONBOROUGH — A couple with shorefront property on Braun Bay in Lake Winnipesaukee are suing the owners of the Dive, alleging that the floating bar and restaurant is creating a safety hazard, as well as riling up the water in the sheltered and shallow cove, off the mainland of Moultonborough.

John D. Peters and Christine K. Consales, of Kims Alley in Moultonborough, have filed a civil suit against the Dive and its owners, Elizabeth Sullivan and Jamison Merriam. East Coast Flightcraft Inc. is also named as a defendant in the legal action, which was filed in Carroll Superior Court on May 20.

The suit asks the court to order the Dive to cease their activities in Braun Bay that are alleged to be violations of New Hampshire’s water management and protection laws.

The suit argues that since the Dive started coming to Braun Bay in 2018, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of pleasure boats coming to the bay on the north side of Lake Winnipesaukee where they congregate around a sandbar in clusters — a practice called rafting.

The plaintiffs say that because of this "raucous commercial activity" these boaters disobey the state’s rafting regulations which require individual boats to remain at least 25 feet apart and boats already in a raft formation to stay a minimum of 50 feet from other watercraft. The suit further alleges that the Dive has allowed pleasure boats to get closer to the two-level restaurant and cocktail lounge than the law allows.

In addition, the suit says that the manner in which the Dive anchors in the bay churns up the soil on the lake bed, causing the water to become thick with silt and other suspended matter.

In an interview, the Dive’s attorney denied the allegations made in the suit.

“(The suit), is deeply misleading, factually inaccurate, and legally unsupportable,” said William Woodbury, an attorney with the law firm of Normandin, Cheney & O’Neil.

Woodbury particularly took issue with the suit’s characterization of spudding, the method by which the Dive fixes its position in the Bay by extending steel shafts from its deck down to the lake bed.

He said the suit’s assertion that spudding is similar to dredging is inaccurate.

He also disputed the allegation that the Dive is responsible for the volume of boats that congregate in the bay.

“Anyone who knows the bay knows it has been extremely popular for a long time,” Woodbury said.

Attorney Timothy McLaughlin, who is representing Peters and Consales, said he had no comment beyond what is contained in the civil complaint.

In an entry on the real estate blog ActiveRain, local real estate agent Roy Sanborn wrote in 2018: “Braun Bay … has been the favorite for the party crowd for years, especially on the weekends. There is a shallow sandy bottom so you are likely to see dozens of boats there. Get ready for music, frisbees, and lots of beverages at this hot spot. It might not be the place to look for peace and quiet.”

Because of the activity around the Dive, Peters and Consales allege that their property has lost $64,000 in value, according to the suit.

Woodbury also said the inclusion of East Coast Flightcraft in the suit is unwarranted because the Dive is no longer in a business relationship with the owners of the Winnipesaukee Pier in Weirs Beach. The Dive used one side of the pier as its home base last summer, but that is no longer the case, he said.

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