LACONIA — State Rep. Charlie St. Clair has started the process to draft a bill that would change a boating law restricting the speed of travel in no-wake zones.
Current law requires boats to slow down to “headway speed” in these zones. Headway speed is defined as 6 mph or the slowest speed to travel and maintain an ability to steer the boat.
St. Clair, R-Laconia, said a Gilford resident who lives on Governors Island urged that the reference to 6 mph be removed from the law. The resident said boat wakes can cause erosion, and many boats can maintain steerage at less than 6 mph.
Capt. Tim Dunleavy of the New Hampshire Marine Patrol said he has no objection to the proposed change and agreed that a speed of 6 mph is not usually needed to maintain steerage.
“There is room to clean up that definition,” he said.
He said the reference to 6 mph in the law came from the conditions in the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, where such speed is needed because of strong current caused by tidal action.
Dunleavy said some homeowners along lakes assert that wakes erode land.
“People get impatient and travel too fast in no-wake zones,” he said. “I’m not sure if it rises to the level of causing erosions. There are places in no-wake zones where Mother Nature throws significantly more wave action than boat traffic.”
St. Clair filed a legislative service request for the bill. Such a request is the beginning of the drafting process to create a bill.