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Speed Limits Coming to New Hampshire’s Biggest Lake?

February 3, 2008

storyjohnlynch-2.jpg As can be read here, Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest lake, is now the latest target of the Democrats. A new bill that passed the house and is now on it’s way to the senate is calling for speed limits on the lake. So speeding must be a huge problem on the lake, right? Lets look at some numbers.

survey from July to September checked 3,852 boats, all but 62 of them during the day. A total of 36 boats were clocked at more than 45 mph. The survey found an average weekend speed of just under 29 mph, and an average weekday speed of 26 mph. The maximum speed, hit by three boats, was 62 mph.

Safety found that just under 1 percent of daytime boats exceeded 45 mph and 20 percent of boats at night exceeded 25 mph.

Only one percent of boats exceeded the proposed speed limit during the day, at night the percentage was quite a bit higher.

Here is a survey done on all boating accidents in New Hampshire over the last five years from

Boating accidents by the numbers

Speed not the top cause
Coast Guard boating records for 1999-2004 list up to three causes for each boating accident.

The causes cited in New Hampshire were operator inexperience, a cause of 61 accidents; operator inattention, 59; hazardous waters, 55; no proper lookout, 39; excessive speed, 35; weather, 28; careless/reckless operation, 24; machinery or equipment failure, 23.

Other causes were passenger/skier behavior, 16; sharp turn, 16; obstructed vision, 13; alcohol use, 8; congested waters, 6; improper loading, 6; wake, 5; improper anchoring, 3; improper boat lights, 3; overloading, 3; standing/sitting on bow, 3; rules-of-road infraction, 3; hull failure, 1; and unfamiliar waters, 1.

Fewer accidents
Boating accidents with injury or serious property damage declined by two-thirds from 1999 to 2004 in New Hampshire, the records show.

The number of reported accidents fell from 109 in 1999 to 94 in 2000, 74 in 2001, 68 in 2002 when mandatory boater education began, 49 in 2003, and 35 in 2004. That’s a decline of 68 percent over five years.

Across the nation, boating accidents fell by 38 percent during the same years, from 7,931 in 1999 to 4,904 in 2004.

Fewer fatalities

The fatalities in those years also generally declined: 6 boating deaths in 1999 in the state, then in the following years, 7, 6, 3, 6, and 2 in 1999.

Nationally, there was a slight decline: 734 boating deaths in 1999, then 701 in 2000, 681 in 2001, 750 in 2002, 703 in 2003, and 676 in 2004.

Federal regulations require reporting to the Coast Guard of accidents with death or injury requiring more than first aid, or property damage exceeding $500.

Where accidents happen
By far most of the accidents happen on Lake Winnipesaukee, according to the Coast Guard records for the five years: 222 boating accidents on Winnipesaukee, 28 on Lake Winnisquam, 15 on Ossipee Lake.

There were 14 accidents on state waters in the Atlantic Ocean, 14 on Lake Sunapee, 10 on Squam Lake, 8 in the Merrimack River, 6 in the Hampton River, and 112 on other waterways.

So while operator error of some kind is responsible for most accidents, speed is not an overwhelming problem. The number of accidents have also been coming sown over the last five years. So why now? Why the need for more regulations?

Because regulating and banning is all Democrats know how to do. That is their idea of governing. The more laws they pass that tell everyone else how to live their lives the more “work” they feel like they accomplished.

There is a continual, slow drumbeat out there. That drumbeat goes on in the background, and most people have heard it for so long that they no longer hear it. It is the drumbeat of government control. The goal is to get as many people as possible less self-reliant, and more reliant on government. As more and more personal choices and freedoms are removed “for our own good”, we become less and less independent. It starts off slowly and as more and more people fall into the mindset that the government is our mommy and will take care of us it breeds complacency and laziness. Laziness of the body and also of the mind. You no longer have to think for yourself as the government does it for you.

The government has started with the smokers, they are now going after obese people, and then they will move on to the next politically incorrect group of people and build up contempt and hatred towards that group in order to implement controls and regulations over them; Tim Ryan is a great motorcycle accident attorney in Los Angeles for those who have suffered injuries in California.

There is one other aspect to all of the nanny state laws that the government is imposing, and that is just as important if not more so. With regulations come fines and fees, in other words, more taxes. The more of your money the government has, and the less of it you have, the more control the government has over you. That is why this speed limit law comes into play. You can not even go out on a lake with your family and friends to enjoy a beautiful Summer day of fishing, without having to worry about whether you are doing anything wrong. These boaters are not out there hurting anyone, they are minding their own business, as if the state government isn’t already making enough money off these people they concoct this idea to help pay for Governor Lynch’s out of control spending spree.

This is nothing but a money grab, pure and simple. The governor is looking for more revenue to pay for his budget deficit and this is the next tax. Once implemented the fines will increase and the speed limit will decrease in order to bring more money into the now cash-strapped state of New Hampshire.

Personal freedoms and liberties, be damned.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Bea Smith permalink
    February 16, 2008 2:52 pm

    I am a die-hard Republican. Why do you have to make a speed limit sound like a democratic concept? In fact, random telephone polling shows that over 70% of NH’s Republican’s want this speed limit bill to pass so they can start using the lakes again. The dad who wants to take his son out fishing or take his family for an after dinner boat cruise to the ice cream store without risking his life is far more likely a Republican than the 35 year old well-tanned tattooed playboy with the $100K cigarette boat blasting rap music as it flies around the lake at 80MPH. Whose side are you guys on?


  2. February 16, 2008 8:25 pm

    From the article I linked to:

    “The bill drew most of its support from Democrats”

    That’s why I linked it to Democrats. As for your statement that boats are flying around at 80 mph, also from the article:

    Safety found that just under 1 percent of daytime boats exceeded 45 mph and 20 percent of boats at night exceeded 25 mph.

    Only 1% exceeded 45mph.
    The side I am on is not the over regulated, nanny state, the government knows what’s best for you side.
    I am on the side where people have individual freedoms and choices.
    If you want to be a “John Lynch Republican” go ahead, but as more of your individual rights are taken away and you look around wondering how it happened please remember you heard it here first.


  3. Bob permalink
    March 8, 2008 3:45 pm

    Overpowered missiles with a drunk likely at the wheel makes the law necessary for Winnipesaukee. The study was not conducted by a neutral party: worse, the Director of the Marine Patrol conducted the study, and included boats going less than 10-MPH as a Lake Winnipesaukee average!

    He has long been opposed to enforcing a law that will make him look even worse, when all the speed complaints start rolling in—in 2008.

    Governor Lynch says he will “not likely” sign the speed limit bill, and has urged that it fail.

    Is Lynch a DINO?

    And me a RINO?



  4. Bea Smith permalink
    March 11, 2008 6:07 pm

    You said: “Safety found that just under 1 percent of daytime boats exceeded 45 mph and 20 percent of boats at night exceeded 25 mph….Only 1% exceeded 45mph.”

    Your right, Last summer was simply wonderful…finally.

    But what should one expect when we had uniformed officers sitting out in wide open water flashing radar guns around from boats sporting a big “Marine Patrol” on the side? In some cases they actually had their blue lights flashing as they were measuring the speeds of oncoming boats! Were they trying to see how fast boats were typically going, or were they trying to slow boats down first, then record the reduced speeds to make the case they have been promoting all along…that speed is not really a problem? The fact that even one percent still raced around tells you the level of intelligence that we are dealing with here.

    All this “test” really did was prove that people slow down when they think their speed might be under observation, and hence, that a speed limit works and doesn’t cost anything.

    You also said: “I am on the side where people have individual freedoms and choices.”

    Using this Wild West approach, murderers and rapists would be free to choose how to behave too, so while (as a Republican) I agree that the best government is a small government, I also feel that government has a place, or why have any laws at all? If we are all so responsible, let us all have the freedom to choose how to behave in all facets…kind of like chimpanzees and coyotes do.

    We have one tiny but aggressive group ruining boating for all the rest. As a Republican, I believe that the minority shoudl compromise for the majority, not vice versa. Please don’t pretend you are speaking for Republicans.


  5. Euroman permalink
    June 12, 2009 9:36 am

    This is funny! Just googled for the speed limit on the “Big W” and found this… I now live in NH and have several boats of different sizes and speeds (kayak, canoe, sailing vessel, and yes, even a speed toy). I support the speed limit on lakes. In fact, why bothering a speed limit of 45mph on the water in a country with a speed limit of 55 mph on the highway? 45 mph is quite a nice speed on the water while 55/65 mph on the highway is (to my knowledge) the harshest limit in the free world (when I talk about the world I mean that globular thing we live on, not the world of the world series). The fines imposed on speeding in the US would cause an overthrow of the government in other western countries. THIS is something where true, freedom loving Americans could really do something to reduce government income from fees and fines. Fines for 1% of boats faster than 45mph will do nothing for the state budget (do the math: 38 fines in 3 months will not pay for law enforcement personnel and equipment, right?).

    Bea: The anticipatory obedience of the American citizen when he catches a glimpse of a uniform or only feels THE POLICE (!) around is amazing (something Europeans last had during fascism and now can only smile about). I merely can picture all the boaters going slowly and springing to attention in sight of a police vessel.

    So maybe the percentage of boats going faster than 45 mph (in absence of THE POLICE) is way higher than 1%? Then it would be a problem for those who have to endure the wakes, have to be afraid to be hit by a solid American made hull or to be plowed under by a nice set of propellers.

    Boats become more and more powerful and faster year after year. When I was a kid, more than 125 hp on a boat was quite a thing. Now? At a certain point the population or its culture can’t handle it anymore and then imposes regulations.

    America is the country of the slow – speed in a public location is treated in the US like guns in a public location in Europe. Different cultures impose different restrictions – if you don’t like them, emigrate. But respect the culture you live in.

    (free to have the third opinion besides the only two valid ones – “conservative” and “liberal”)


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