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Old 07-06-2010, 03:44 PM   #1
Glove
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Default Clarification on "No Wake" rules

I am posting an email sent to Marine Patrol seeking clarification on rules governing speed in "No Wake" zones, followed by the reply from Lieutenant Timothy Dunleavy. (He has provided his consent to reproduction of the email trail in this forum.) I found Lt. Dunleavy's reply to be both interesting and informative.

Glove

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Thu, June 17, 2010 9:19:47 AM
Subject: Clarification on "no wake rules"
From: Lake Citizen
To: marinepatrol@dos.nh.gov


Dear Marine Patrol:

I am writing seeking clarification of the New Hampshire laws pertaining to No Wake zones. I first started by researching the question, "what is a wake -- 4 inches, 6 inches, 8 inches?" But I then determined that New Hampshire law makes very clear that the speed allowed in a "No Wake" zone is headway speed...in other words headway speed and "no wake speed" are synonomous.

TITLE XXII
NAVIGATION; HARBORS; COAST SURVEY
CHAPTER 270-D
BOATING AND WATER SAFETY ON NEW HAMPSHIRE PUBLIC WATERS
Section 270-D:1
270-D:1 Definitions. – In this chapter:


VI. "Headway speed" means 6 miles per hour or the slowest speed that a boat can be operated and maintain steerage way.

VIII. "No wake area" means an area where a boat is to be operated only at headway speed.



But believe it or not, I am seeking information on interpretation of the word "or" in the headway speed definition.

I can understand that for very large boats that cannot maintain steerage at less than 6 mph, they may have to travel at 7 or 8 mph to maintain steerage...but they should operate at the slowest speed above 6 mph that allows for steerage. (In other words, they select the second option: "slowest speed that a boat can be operated and maintain steerage way.")

But the real question is what about tiny boats that can easily maintain steerage at extremely slow speeds? For example, a 12 foot jon boat with a motor on the back can maintain steerage at 1 mph. So in this case, is headway speed considered 1 mph (i.e. slowest speed that a boat can be operated and maintain steerage"), or is headway speed considered any speed less than 6 mph? Based on the NH law, it appears that in the case of the jon boat, law abiding citizens may choose between the two options of :

6 miles per hour
OR
the slowest speed that a boat can be operated and maintain steerage way

In other words, the jon boat can choose to travel at 6 mph (even if it creates a 4 inch "wake"). Is this correct?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to address this question.

Sincerely,
Lake_Citizen


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Sat, June 19, 2010 9:52:43 AM
Subject: Headway Speed/No Wake
From: "Dunleavy, Timothy"
To: lake_citizen


Lake Citizen,

Thank you for your inquiry.

Your research is accurate as to the definitions you cite. To clarify your question, I’ll offer you some history behind the law change that took effect in 1995. The “old” language stated, headway speed was the slowest speed that the boat could be operated and maintain steerage way, “but which does not exceed 6 miles per hour.”

In the early 1990’s Marine Patrol began patrolling our seacoast. It was recognized by our officers that the tidal currents in the state’s coastal rivers often exceeded 6 mph and therefore safe steerage for a vessel fighting the current would need to exceed the limits of the law.

As a result the law was changed to its current language. Local Judges have accepted and recognize the intent of the law and therefore the application of the “slowest speed necessary…” is the portion of the definition that our officers most often use in their application of the law.

To try and answer your question specifically as it applies to a 12’ jon boat (your example). The officer would look at several things when considering a boat stop for a violation. They would include the existing water conditions, the boat’s wake, how much faster than necessary they are travelling, is the attitude of the bow “lifting” vs. flat, speed and size of other vessels in the immediate area, etc. I believe that a common sense application of these concepts by any boat operator will keep them safe and legal.

If you have any other questions, feel free to contact me at Marine Patrol Headquarters or by phone at the number listed below.

Safe Boating!!

Tim

Timothy C. Dunleavy
Lieutenant,
New Hampshire Marine Patrol
31 Dock Rd.
Gilford, NH 03249
Ph. 603-293-2037
Fax 603-293-0096
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:52 PM   #2
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When are they going to pass a law that says no more laws are to be passed?
Can't sleep in a boat, can't sleep on the beach, boy have things changed since I was in my 20's.
Can't have a fire at the beach. Slow down you go to fast, speed up your going to slow. When does this stupedity end?
Glad I only have a few more years to go.
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Old 07-06-2010, 06:50 PM   #3
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Default "common sense application"

The title says it all. Fortunately the Lt.'s reply included this.

As long as we have LEO's that understand they must interpret AND enforce the laws, because the laws aren't perfect we will have safe boating and motoring. It's not their job to interpret, but thank God they do in this age of imperfect, unnecessary, feel good laws.

Eventually, we will get back to an America that makes sense.
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Old 07-06-2010, 08:32 PM   #4
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Default No wake

It amazes me how many people have no idea what "No Wake" means..
Regardless of what the actual law is or one anyone may think it implies, many just don't get it. We live in a no wake zone.. should I have to look both ways before I dive in the water I've been swimming in for 40+ years because people would rather run me over than pull the throttle back a bit? Isn't that common courtesy to not run someone over? Oh by the way when your ten feet off the end of someones dock there are several other rules that come into affect other than just those pesky No Wake signs.. I find the camera is usually all it takes to get people to slow down a bit.. A website is in the works so make sure you smile and hold that finger high.
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:35 PM   #5
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Default Will never happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineedles View Post
Eventually, we will get back to an America that makes sense.

An America that makes sense will only happens when everyone uses common sense.
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RailroadJoe View Post
When are they going to pass a law that says no more laws are to be passed?
Can't sleep in a boat, can't sleep on the beach, boy have things changed since I was in my 20's.
Can't have a fire at the beach. Slow down you go to fast, speed up your going to slow. When does this stupedity end?
Glad I only have a few more years to go.
Too much oversimplification here. For example, the present crisis in the Gulf of Mexico could have been prevented/mitigated by a few more laws. The "liberties" of a few here caused unprecedented hardships for countless others. Ditto housing crisis/economic meltdown.
I doubt there were laws 100 years ago that made it illegal to dump human waste into the lake and it probably wouldn't have made much difference; now there are far more people sharing a limited resource. Some people wish we could return to the Golden Pond era from decades earlier. We can't....many more people are sharing this precious resource.
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Old 07-07-2010, 06:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HUH View Post
It amazes me how many people have no idea what "No Wake" means..
Regardless of what the actual law is or one anyone may think it implies, many just don't get it. We live in a no wake zone.. should I have to look both ways before I dive in the water I've been swimming in for 40+ years because people would rather run me over than pull the throttle back a bit? Isn't that common courtesy to not run someone over? Oh by the way when your ten feet off the end of someones dock there are several other rules that come into affect other than just those pesky No Wake signs.. I find the camera is usually all it takes to get people to slow down a bit.. A website is in the works so make sure you smile and hold that finger high.
I am so totally with you on this! What is so hard about understanding what a wake is? You just look back and if you see little waves in back of your boat you are making a wake!!
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:05 AM   #8
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineedles View Post
The title says it all. Fortunately the Lt.'s reply included this.

As long as we have LEO's that understand they must interpret AND enforce the laws, because the laws aren't perfect we will have safe boating and motoring. It's not their job to interpret, but thank God they do in this age of imperfect, unnecessary, feel good laws.

Eventually, we will get back to an America that makes sense.
Regarding "common sense";
Unfortunately there is no legal definition of common sense. So when asking officers (as well as boaters) to apply some common sense to a particular situation, you are likely to get different interpretations.
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:42 AM   #9
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Default 5 MPH Weirs Channel!

I am posting this because for years I have been traversing the Weirs Channel and it can be soo frustrating at times because people are confused about the rules regarding No Wake.... and as you can see above it is definitely room for "interpretation"

NO WAKE does not mean "DEAD SLOW"!! The No Wake Zone rules do not require a boat to not make a ripple! No wake speed by law requires you to maintain steerage! On peak weekends during the summer, especially in the late morning you have 100+ boats an hour of all shapes & sizes trying to get out of Paugus Bay and through the Weirs Channel against a 2-3 knot current... sometimes a much higher current depending on lake level and dam activity. The problem is different boats have different minimum speeds to maintain steerage. If one guy goes dead slow through the channel... it causes chaos behind him. Much like a traffic jam but with the current pushing the boats around...

A 5 MPH limit in the Weirs Channel is a better solution... its not ambiguous, it allows for boats to travel at a speed that ALL boats can maintain steerage both going against and with the current. It should allow for a smoother, easier exit from Paugus Bay.

Woodsy
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Old 07-07-2010, 09:28 AM   #10
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Default Weirs Channel

The biggest challenge in the Weirs channel is when you are going with the current. When the dam is dumping 1500 cps or more, not common during the summer, but common in the spring, the current in the channel is 3.5 knots or higher. Controlling a boat with a wide beam and keeping your speed relative to the land below 5 mph is completely impossible when the dam is dumping water to reduce the level of the lake.

There are reasons for the current language and one hard rule with a specific speed will not work in all areas, all the time.

R2B
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Old 07-07-2010, 11:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodsy View Post
I am posting this because for years I have been traversing the Weirs Channel and it can be soo frustrating at times because people are confused about the rules regarding No Wake.... and as you can see above it is definitely room for "interpretation"

NO WAKE does not mean "DEAD SLOW"!! The No Wake Zone rules do not require a boat to not make a ripple! No wake speed by law requires you to maintain steerage! On peak weekends during the summer, especially in the late morning you have 100+ boats an hour of all shapes & sizes trying to get out of Paugus Bay and through the Weirs Channel against a 2-3 knot current... sometimes a much higher current depending on lake level and dam activity. The problem is different boats have different minimum speeds to maintain steerage. If one guy goes dead slow through the channel... it causes chaos behind him. Much like a traffic jam but with the current pushing the boats around...

A 5 MPH limit in the Weirs Channel is a better solution... its not ambiguous, it allows for boats to travel at a speed that ALL boats can maintain steerage both going against and with the current. It should allow for a smoother, easier exit from Paugus Bay.

Woodsy
While I agree whole heartily with the point of your concern, the results of such a limit would actually cause for a slower exit from the channel leaving paugus bay. Unless I am missing something from current boat speedo setups, they gauge the rate of speed that water passes through a pick-up to determine speed. So going against the current would deduct the speed of the current from your total speed resulting in slower "land" speed. Heading into the bay it would add speed. Not everyone has a Geo spec GPS that is accurate under an inch thus giving a very accurate speed reading, all civilian GPS models are accurate to within the width of an average house (30ft), leaving a lot of variation in actual speed verses speed reading. If you are ever given the opportunity to test your GPS against a radar devise, take it, you will be amazed at how far off the speed actually is against a calibrated gun.


And to SOTD, whatever you need to tell yourself to allow you to sleep at night. But comparing regulation to prevent global economic and environmental disaster to the issues being faced on Lake Winni, come on!
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:06 PM   #12
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Default People Just Don't Get It!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HUH View Post
It amazes me how many people have no idea what "No Wake" means..
Regardless of what the actual law is or one anyone may think it implies, many just don't get it. We live in a no wake zone.. should I have to look both ways before I dive in the water I've been swimming in for 40+ years because people would rather run me over than pull the throttle back a bit? Isn't that common courtesy to not run someone over? Oh by the way when your ten feet off the end of someones dock there are several other rules that come into affect other than just those pesky No Wake signs.. I find the camera is usually all it takes to get people to slow down a bit.. A website is in the works so make sure you smile and hold that finger high.
What is it that boaters just don't understand about no wake zones? If you are less than 150' from someone's boat, dock, swim raft, shore, rocks, or most any other object (nav aids excluded) then you should be at headway speed, whether a No Wake sign is present or not. When you are between my dock and a nav aid 75 feet off the dock you must slow to headway speed. There is no sign to remind you, but that is the law, and it's common sense. Well, there is a definite lack of the latter when it comes to some boaters.
HUH, I'm with you and will have my camera ready to contribute to your web site.
And for the boater who choose to ignore the nav aids off my dock, I have the bottom of your motor skeg on my dock. Those rocks are unforgiving!
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