Contact: Senator Bob Clegg

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March 16, 2006

SenateRepublicans Rally to Support Boaters’ Rights

Concord , NH Senate Republicans declared victory today in defeating the controversial boating speed limit bill. House Bill 162 drew an abnormal amount of public scrutiny. The bill was killed by a vote of 15-9.

Senate Transportation Chairman Bob Letourneau (R–Derry) commented, “Both the House and the Senate have spent a tremendous amount of time deliberating this issue. The bill was not sensible. It had the potential to hurt the tourism industry in New Hampshire.”

The proponents of HB 162 argued that speed is the biggest safety problem on New Hampshire lakes. The statistics show that since 2001, there has been one accident involving a boat traveling at a speed greater than 45 mph out of 227 accidents. This figure translates into less than 1% all boating accidents listed speed over 45 mph as a factor.

Implementation of this legislation would be difficult given the state’s available personnel resources. Opponents noted that there was not enough patrolmen to effectively enforce the speed limit. Currently, New Hampshire has 100 Marine Patrol Officers, of which only 15 are full-time.

At our current level of spending, motor boat accidents and fatalities have been declining. Lakes-related spending is $1.1 billion to $1.5 billion annually. In 2004 there were only 33 accidents and no deaths down from 81 in2001, which is a year that saw 2 fatalities.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Clegg (R–Hudson) remarked, “This piece of legislation lost control in the House. I would classify this as ‘feel good’ legislation that had no chance of ever being enforced nor adhered to. It is not unusual for the House to pass ‘feel good’ legislation expecting the Senate to do the right thing. Regulating all of New Hampshire’s bodies of water, because of problems encountered just on Lake Winnipesaukee, is completely unacceptable.”