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Old 04-11-2021, 08:52 AM   #1
Marine Patrol
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Default Headway Speed- "No Wake" Definition


In 2019, the NH Legislature changed NH's Headway Speed definition. The change simply removed the language allowing speeds up to 6 mph.
Headway Speed, also known as "No Wake" is currently defined by RSA 270-D:1 VI as "the slowest speed that a boat can be operated and maintain steerage way".

Aside from certain times of the year, only the Weirs Channel has enough current to warrant using varying amounts of throttle to maintain safe steerage. What does this mean? When fighting a current, sometimes more throttle is required to overcome a head-on current. While this may create whitewash as your boat displaces the current, the wake behind you should be minimized by the current. When travelling with the current, throttle will likely be necessary in order for you to control your vessel rather than the current controlling you.

While travelling in a "No Wake" zone where little or no current exists (Governor's Island, Alton Bay, Bear Island, etc.), the overall majority of boats only need to be in forward gear with their throttle set at the lowest position to have safe steerage.

Finally, many straight inboard boats require the operator to shift in and out of forward gear in order to slow down in "No Wake" areas. Steerage can still be maintained as long as there is water flow at the rudder.

Thanks for your attention to this change.

Safe Boating!!

Tim Dunleavy
NHMP Captain
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