After meeting these people from the Bay Head sailing club I could not get these two sentences out of my head today
"Spaulding get your foot off the boat" and
"You scratched my anchor"
The latest story from the Ocean Star Newspaper:
Push is on for tougher boating laws
Boaters on inland waterways, including Barnegat Bay and the Metedeconk River, may be required to obey a 10 mph nighttime speed limit if Sen. Paul Sarlo’s bill, which is being supported by several local governing bodies, becomes law. Photo by JOSEPH J. DELCONZO, STAR NEWS GROUP
By Melissa Peace
JERSEY SHORE — Following a boating accident this summer that left one man dead and several other people injured, a state legislator and several local municipalities have thrown their support behind a plan that would impose a speed limit on inland waterways during the evening hours.
The proposed plan to create a speed limit — which has drawn mixed reactions from both the boating community and local municipalities — comes after Robert Post, 49, of Essex Fells, was killed after his boat was struck by another vessel in the early morning hours of Aug. 3.
According to an official from the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau, the 27-foot Imperial powerboat owned by 29-year-old Brick Township resident Anthony Digilio, 29, is believed to be the boat which struck Mr. Post’s 17-foot Boston Whaler, which was cruising in the Metedeconk River at the time.
Also on board Mr. Post’s boat was his wife, Bonnie, 52, along with Cliff and Joan Farren, 45 and 46, respectively, of St. Davids, Pa., and Karen Kelly, 46, of Norcross, Ga. All of the passengers were treated for injuries and released from Jersey Shore University Medical Center, in Neptune.
The investigation is continuing, and no charges had been filed against Mr. Digilio as of press time.
Along with the proposed legislation, a meeting was held this week by the New Jersey State Boat Regulation Commission where both sides of the situation was addressed, although no definitive decision was made on the issue.
Proposed Legislation Imposes Speed Limits
Following the fatal accident, Sen. Paul Sarlo, a Democrat whose district covers portions of Bergen, Passaic and Essex counties, proposed a speed limit be placed on the inland waterways in the evening hours.
Just days after the incident that took Mr. Post’s life, Sen. Sarlo announced that he would be calling for a speed limit as low as 10 mph to be placed on Barnegat Bay and all inland waterways during the night hours in New Jersey.
“I will sponsor legislation to be drafted in conjunction with the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Division and the Boat Regulation Commission designed to slow boats down when visibility is limited and danger is heightened,” said Sen. Sarlo, a frequent visitor to the Jersey Shore.
Currently, there are no speed limits on Barnegat Bay or any inland waterways, but boaters are required to operate their crafts in a safe manner, according to Lt. Frank Ofner, assistant bureau chief of the State Police Marine Services Division.
Sen. Sarlo said his staff last month contacted Roger K. Brown, Chairman of the Boat Regulation Commission, as well as state police officials, to inform them of his interest in helping to curb speeding boats on Barnegat Bay, especially at night.
“I realize efforts to impose speed limits in the past have been controversial and unsuccessful, but I believe there will be sufficient public support now,” said Sen. Sarlo. “Speeding boats at night on Barnegat Bay, combined with the all-too frequent floating cocktail parties and unskilled boaters, are recipes for disaster,” Sen. Sarlo said.
In 2003, a push to impose speed limits resulted in a compromise effort to put up buoys marked “slow speed, no wake,” which authorities say are supposed to restrict boats to speeds not to exceed 5 mph.
Sen. Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate Labor Committee, Vice Chair of the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee and a veteran member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will press for prompt legislative action when his draft bill is completed.
“The issues of speed limits for boaters have been discussed for years,” Sen. Sarlo said. “Now I believe is the time to act.”
Sen. Sarlo is expected to present the drafted legislation to state legislators this fall.
Support Of Local Municipalities Sought
As part of the effort to gain support of his plan to propose legislation that would place a speed limit on the inland waterways at night, Sen. Sarlo has reached out to local municipalities to garner their endorsement.
On Aug. 15, Sen. Sarlo sent a letter to the mayors and councils of several Shore communities, asking them to pass a resolution urging “the New Jersey Boat Regulatory Commission, and the New Jersey State Police in an effort to draft legislation to restrict boat speeds in all inland New Jersey Waterways to 10 miles per hour from the time of dawn to dusk.”
Repeated calls to Sen. Sarlo for comment on his legislation were not returned by press time.
2nd Half of the story..
To date, both Mantoloking and Bay Head have unanimously passed resolutions supporting the proposed legislation creating the speed limits.
In Mantoloking, the council also passed a resolution that would increase the number of police boat patrols in the water, extending to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday nights year-round.
The resolution passed unanimously by the Mantoloking council also petitions the New Jersey Boat Regulation Commission to immediately adopt slower speeds in the bay, along with implementing more no-wake areas and a “realistic motor boat speed limit.”
“We ought to focus on night operations especially,” Mantoloking Councilman Stanley Witkowski said.
The resolution also specifically says that no-wake areas should exist from Curtis Point and the northern end of the bay.
Although both Mantoloking and Bay Head were on board with the legislation, the Lavallette Mayor and Council this week stated their opposition to the speed limits.
Mayor Walter LaCicero stated that he believed the senator’s proposal was a “knee-jerk reaction to one accident,” stipulating that the accident was, however, a tragic one.
The Lavallette Council plans to draft a resolution denying the senator’s request for support during a future council meeting
Currently, the laws in place governing the waterways are enforced by both local enforcement agencies, as well as the New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau.
Jurisdiction and patrol areas consist of New Jersey’s territorial seas, extending 3 nautical miles offshore, along the 127 miles of the Atlantic Ocean coastline with an interior tidal shoreline of approximately 1,750 miles, composed of the Delaware River and approximately 100 inland bays, rivers, creeks and coves. In addition, there are more than 800 lakes and ponds within the state with a total of 700 square miles of surface area.
Response From Powerboating Community
Although several municipalities and officials have been backing Sen. Sarlo’s proposal, not everyone in the boating community feels imposing speed limits is the correct course of action.
The president of the New Jersey Performance Powerboat Club said last week that state officials are moving prematurely in imposing speed limits, especially since the investigation surrounding the fatal boating accident is not yet complete.
“It’s only been a month since the accident and no one has the facts in place yet,” said David Patnaude, president of the powerboat organization.
Mr. Patnaude also said that, based on statistics, the kind of accident the area experienced last month is a rarity.
“The last time a similar accident occurred was in the early 1990s,” said Mr. Patnaude. “To go ahead with a speed limit when the last time this happened was in the 1990s is ridiculous.”
The club’s president said that instead of a speed limit being imposed in the evening — when boat traffic is lessened significantly — state officials should increase enforcement efforts during daylight hours.
Mr. Patnaude said there would be a greater safety impact on the water if there was more enforcement of the no-wake zones during the day.
“There is a lack of presence during the day,” said Mr. Patnaude. There needs to be a push on the daytime enforcement, but because of budgetary cuts, all towns can’t do that,” he said.
With many individuals hoping to increase safety on the water in the evening through new speed limitations, Mr. Patnaude said he would like to see the laws currently on the books better enforced.
“Under maritime law, the captain of a vessel is restricted to his immediate environment and visibility,” said Mr. Patnaude. “If the water is congested and he wants to do 60 mph, than he would be breaking the law.”
Although he agreed the current maritime laws are slightly vague and not specific, Mr. Patnaude said that today anyone operating a vessel must undergo classes in order to obtain a license for the water.
Mr. Patnaude also questioned Sen. Sarlo’s own boating experience in the state’s waters.
“I would love to know how much boating experience Sen. Sarlo has in New Jersey. Does he even own a boat,” asked Mr. Patnaude.
“My whole position is that they need to look at the facts and the statistics for the past 20 years,” he said.
NJ Boat Regulation Commission Meeting
On Wednesday afternoon, a public meeting was held by the state Boat Regulation Commission in Margate to discuss the different options available to better protect the inland waterway’s boaters.
Chaired by Roger K. Brown, the meeting did not provide any definitive answers on a solution, though some who attended the meeting feel the commission may be leaning to recommending more no-wake zones.
According to Bay Head Councilwoman D’arcy Rohan Green, who attended the meeting, the commission seemed to be in favor of not imposing a speed limit, but, rather, increasing enforcement and no-wake areas. Despite their initial sentiments, the councilwoman, who is in favor of speed limits, said this is not the end of the issue.
“We are not dropping the ball on this,” said Councilwoman Green. “We will continue to lobby the commission for speed limits.”
Along with speed limitations, the councilwoman said there was a unified call for better enforcement on the water, something supported by both those who want speed limits and those who do not.
“Everyone at the meeting agreed that enforcement is critical. There has to be more effort made to increase manpower and funding to enforce the waters,” said Councilwoman Green. “Right now the Marine Police are doing the best they can with what they have, but the efforts to enforce must be fortified.”
Bay Head resident Ed King, who also attended the meeting in Margate, wondered why anyone would resist setting speed limits.
“In my decision making, I always use a simple ‘formula,’ asking myself as to what do I have to gain and what do I have to lose,” Mr. King said. “What on earth do we have to lose by enacting an nighttime 10 mph limit? I can’t imagine what that answer would be.
“Passing speed limit laws would also give the marine police something concrete to use for enforcement which has proven very effective in the Naples, Fla. area,” Mr. King continued. “And in case of accidents, it would also give the marine police another charge against the person causing the accident if eyewitness accounts proved obviously excessive speeds.”
Mr. Patnaude, who was also at the meeting, said he agreed that law enforcement must be increased.
“There has to be better enforcement. Right now, there are a lot of people who do not obey the no-wake zones we already have, and that is a problem,” said Mr. Patnaude.
Mr. Patnaude said he was satisfied with the results of the meeting, hoping the commission would continue to support the addition of no-wake zones instead of speed limits.
“The commission listened to all sides of the issue, and I think they realized that imposing a statewide speed limit is not the solution.”
Calls to Chairman Brown were not returned by press time.
Sen. Sarlo did not attend the meeting with the commission.
So were does this go now.Can they still enact this law even though the commision and the State Police are against it?
This used to really bother me when I lived in Brick and could not go to Bay Heads Ocean beaches.The following is a quote from our friend in Bay Head wanting to know were her STATE and Federal funded (our tax dollars) beach money is coming
In Bay Head, "the recovery has been very slow" at the beaches, said D'Arcy Rehan Green, a former borough dune inspector who is now a councilwoman.
"You hold your breath a little bit because any slight hurricane activity out there is worrying because it was in such a bad state through May," she said.In Bay Head, "the recovery has been very slow" at the beaches, said D'Arcy Rehan Green, a former borough dune inspector who is now a councilwoman.
So when is the first annual Bay Head Raft Up
The State Police will say OFF THE RECORD that the speed limit does not make sense or is not enforceable but unfortunately their public position has to be that they will enforce any law that is put onthe books "to the best of their ability."
Stay tuned...I have a few more FACT based strategies up my sleeve
I might even take up sailing and show them how I can have the right of way !
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