Thread: Rethink Watercraft Ban
11-14-2007, 04:26 AM #1
Rethink Watercraft Ban
I think we should get rid of all cars, the evil of the World....I love how people justify hatred by attacking something as being so vile it cannot exist anymore. Definetly there are problems, but there are also answers.
Rethink Watercraft Ban
By BDN Staff
Tuesday, November 13, 2007 - Bangor Daily News
A recent ruling in Waldo County Superior Court in Belfast effectively overturned a ban on the use of personal watercraft - which are sold under brands like Jet Ski and Sea-Doo - on Liberty’s Lake St. George. The decision undermines similar bans adopted several years ago for fresh water bodies throughout Maine. Though the case ultimately may be decided by the state supreme court, it should move the Legislature toward adopting some statewide standards for all motorized devices on Maine lakes and ponds.
The law was flawed from the outset. In 1999, the Legislature created a mechanism through which municipalities could vote at town meetings to recommend bans on personal watercraft on great ponds within their borders. The Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife would then forward its recommendations, based on the local votes, to the Legislature for adoption. An immediate problem emerged when bans were considered for lakes which lay within several towns — what would happen if two towns approved the ban, but a third did not?
Mark Haskell, the Camden man who challenged the ban by using a personal watercraft at his camp on Lake St. George and insisting that a warden issue him a summons, argued that he was being arbitrarily and improperly denied use of the lake — a statewide resource — by Liberty voters. Prosecutors responded that town votes were only advisory, and not binding, because the Legislature was finally responsible for the ban. But the town votes in favor of the bans were de facto law because each town that voted in favor of it got the Legislature’s backing.
Mr. Haskell also correctly argued that large motor boats, sea planes and trucks on the ice in winter all were louder than his water-cooled personal watercraft. And the device threw up a smaller wake than most boats, thereby deflecting the argument that they threatened loon nests.
Justice Donald Marden noted in his ruling that existing state laws prohibit operating watercraft — of any kind — in a reckless manner, to endanger others, at imprudent speeds and at high speeds near the shore. A new state law that would more clearly define objectionable behaviors of lakes and ponds would be more sensible than an outright ban on a particular kind of watercraft.
At the same time, strict horsepower limits tailored to specific lakes and ponds ought to be adopted, along with speed limits. The tragic death in August of two boaters on Long Lake in Harrison, run over in their boat by a 32-foot vessel with twin 435-hp engines operated by a man under the influence of alcohol, highlights this need.
Lakes are primarily used for recreation and fun, but those on the water expect a certain level of safety to be enforced.
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Bob of Montville, ME - 11/13/07
You've got to be kidding. Sure there are laws governing behavior but there aren't nearly enough wardens to enforce them and most jet skiers are completely out of control. There needs to be a way to get rid of them. On ponds and lakes where planes can't land anyway, it is a flawed argument. Many loon nests have been destroyed by jet skis speeding near them and many loons have been killed or injured by them as well. What about the noise pollution problem caused by jet skis?
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