What is the no wake law in NJ for proximity to an anchored boat, a dock, or shore? I believe Michigan is 75" but will check for sure. 150' for a personal watercraft also I think.
Digital Photography & Video one BYTE at a time !
September 11, 2008
Boaters say enforcement is needed
Recent death calls for a re-evaluation
By KIRK MOORE
Speedboat enthusiasts told the state Boat Regulation Commission that more State Police enforcement, not a boat speed limit, is the answer to traffic dangers on Barnegat Bay, while speed limit advocates contended that it's become a quality of life issue.
"There's the sheer fear factor. . . . Thousands of people are denied the opportunity to use our waters because they're terrified," said Willie deCamp of Save Barnegat Bay, an environmental group that has called for a 30 or 35 mph speed limit.
The Aug. 2 death of Robert Post of Essex Fells in a boat collision in Brick led to renewed calls for speed limits, and an announcement from state Sen. Paul A. Sarlo, D-Bergen, that he will propose legislation to establish a 10 mph night-time speed limit. But Dave Patnaude of the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club said advocates are demanding speed limits before State Police complete their investigation into Post's death.
Five weeks after the crash, "we know nothing more than was initially reported," Patnaude said. "But yet three days later . . . Sen. Sarlo came out and said it was necessary to have a 10 mph speed limit at night."
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and State Police are investigating that crash to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.
Since speed limits last were discussed — and rejected — in 2003, New Jersey has seen 48 boating fatalities, none of them at night prior to Post's death, Patnaude said. The last fatal collision at night on Barnegat Bay happened Aug. 10, 1991, Patnaude noted; three died in that crash of a 31-foot powerboat and a 16-foot Boston Whaler.
Imposing a speed limit on the bay "will not work because there is not enough law enforcement to enforce the (boating) laws now on the books," said Patnaude, whose club members favor high-performance monohull and catamaran powerboats used for cruising as well as racing.
On the other hand, Patnaude said, the state's annual boating accident toll has declined since the last overhaul of state laws in 2003, and "according to Coast Guard statistics, New Jersey has one of the lowest death rates" in the nation.
Harold Vliet, a retired State Police officer and former commander of the Point Pleasant marine station, recounted difficulties he encountered using radar and laser detection gear to measure boat speeds.
"It's so difficult to do," Vliet said. "It would be very difficult to present evidence in court to get a conviction."
In his second career as a boating safety trainer and yacht delivery captain, Vliet said the only speed limits he encounters along the East Coast are no-wake zones and the speed restrictions in the Florida manatee habitat.
"No one else has done it, because the need is not there," he told the commissioners.
Boat Regulation Commission Chairman Roger K. Brown said it is unlikely that a broad speed limit can be imposed on Barnegat Bay. The commission did not take any action Wednesday and will discuss the speed issue again at its Nov. 12 meeting at the Raritan Yacht Club in Perth Amboy, he said.
Brown said it's more likely that the commission may recommend expanding no-wake zones, as it did in 2003 when powerboat enthusiasts and critics last grappled over speed, noise and traffic on the bay.
"Maybe we need to look at that again . . . but to put a speed limit on the whole of Barnegat Bay doesn't make sense," Brown said, after a crowd of about 25 boaters spent the morning making their views known to the advisory panel.
Speed limit supporters, most of them from northern Barnegat Bay towns, said a speed limit is needed for safety and to reduce the intimidation felt by small-boat sailors and parents.
Reckless boating in the northern bay is "at a crisis level," said Jim Cadranell of Point Pleasant. "On the Metedeconk River . . . many powerboats weave their way through small boats at 40 to 50 mph."
Several powerboat owners said, though, they are being stigmatized as a group for the behavior of a few individuals.
"Most boaters are reasonable," said Rolf Papke, a longtime high-performance boat driver from Brick.
Imposing a speed limit would be another loss of freedom on Barnegat Bay, Papke said. He evoked a bygone image from his teenage days, when no one thought twice about seeing a 13-year-old walking along the road with a shotgun to go duck hunting. "Those are the freedoms we've lost."
"I would like to feel free to feel safe. . . . I don't enjoy that freedom now," said D'Arcy Green of Bay Head, who presented the commission with a resolution from the Borough Council of that town calling for a speed limit.
Even if enforcement is problematic, Green suggested, an official speed limit on the water would be a psychological factor for self-restraint among boaters. But captain and safety trainer Russ Cohen of Boatboy Marine Training cautioned that many boaters can't measure their speed with precision.
"Most boats under 25 feet don't have speedometers. Those that do don't work below 20 mph," Cohen said.
Many operators only estimate their speed based on engine revolutions per minute, he noted.
The most important thing for boaters is to "realize that we're operating a piece of machinery that can kill people," Cohen added.
"We really can't eliminate stupidity through legislation," said boater Jim Hutchinson of Brick. "I mean, sailboaters who drop anchor in the middle of a channel and expect us to do something about it. . . . I've seen people run up the back of another boat at a gas dock. Most of the accidents we've had, and the near accidents I've seen, didn't happen because of speed."
Good news report!
Tom I hope this battle is the short version not long and draged out version. njsp are on our side and it seems roger brown might be on our side or should i say doesnt think speed limits are the answer, would be a better way of saying it.
Shore Dreams for Kids "President"
I am sure it will keep rearing its ugly head but the facts and statistics (along with Sharkey's pictures!) really support our side and I am sure that they made quite an impression on the comittee. It is blatently obvious that certain people are on a witch hunt and when faced with the facts are at a loss and start back tracking.
I would have loved to have seen the looks on their faces when they saw the pictures!
The attitude of some of the Bay Head people is really disgusting.Not sure if its still that way but in the past the beaches (ocean) of Bay head were private.Is it still like that?.I guess they want the bay too
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