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Old 08-10-2009, 08:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by partsman View Post
I am dead in the water in the middle of the travel lane. Boats zoom by to the north toward the end of Bear Island and 3 mile island and beyond, all within 100 -150 feet of me...The Marine Patrol boat in question did not move an inch.
I was on a friend's dock just north of Shep Browns and watched this whole event. We thought you were fishing until they hooked up to tow you in. Another perfect example of why the safe passage law is such a waste of ink. Imagine the patrolman ticketing one of these guys and bringing you into court to have you testify that the "violator" zoomed by you "within 100-150 feet". Do you think the judge is going to uphold the citation? The fact that boaters did violate the law (assuming they did, which your assessment leaves questionable) in plain view of a patrol boat tells you how impossible the law is to obey and enforce. As I've been told, the number of contested and court-upheld citations of the safe passage law since its inception can be counted on two fingers.
That patrol boat might have looked closer to you, but from our vantage he was at least 1000 feet, maybe 1100, down lake. I make that estimate now in view of the Bizer chart and my memory of the landmarks behind you and the patrol boat. Guessing that your estimate of 100-150 feet for the other boats was proportional to your assessment that the patrol boat was 400 feet away, it suggests that the boats passing you might have been more like 200 to 300 feet away, but it can be so hard to judge in that situation...and having a boat pass you going 25-30 (pretty darn fast in a boat) at 200 feet is still pretty close and can still be scary when you are sitting helpless. Even if your "100-150 feet" was accurate, there is not a MP officer in the state that can accurately gauge whether a boat traveling 25 is 160 feet versus 140 feet from another from 1000 feet away.
Luckily, none of these boats were going 90 like a few (who all seem to have gathered on this forum) believe is "prudent", or you would have been recognizing the terror that many of us have felt on this lake in past years. Do you know what it is like to have a boat doing 70-80 pass within 100 feet when you are sitting on a sailfish on a windless day?

Glad you got in safe. Just a bit after you got in we witnessed the event I describe in the "supporters thread" in just about the same spot, and we were glad that patrol boat was on the watch instead of writing useless safe passage tickets or playing Sea Tow. Aside from that silly spectacle, we never saw a boat going more than maybe 50 MPH in the three or four hours we were there. I have to say that this is the best summer for enjoying our wonderful lake since the 80's, and I just hope we don't do anything stupid to go back to the mayhem of the 90's. You'd have really faced an hour of terror if this had happened to you three years ago in the peak of the go-fast be-loud era.