Governor to sign boat-speed bill
By TOM FAHEY
State House Bureau Chief
Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2008
CONCORD – Gov. John Lynch said today he will sign a bill that sets up speed limits for two years on Lake Winnipesaukee, beginning next year.
“The lake is a place where everybody who uses the lake should be able to enjoy it. I think speed is an issue on the lake and I think going forward with a pilot program makes sense,” Lynch said.
A June 15 boating accident on the lake that claimed one woman’s life, and is suspected to have involved alcohol, was not the deciding factor for him, Lynch said.
The speed limits under the two-year pilot program will be 45 mph in the daytime and 25 mph at night. The law will expire on Dec. 31, 2010 unless the Legislature acts to extend it.
A project in which the Department of Safety’s Marine Patrol checked speeds on a small area of the lake last year found that speeding in late summer was not a major issue. Speed limit backers said the data was flawed, collected over too short a period of time.
Lynch said he has had preliminary discussions with the department about the kinds of preparation and equipment they will need to begin enforcement.
Lynch said he feels badly about the fatal boating accident, “and for the families and victims involved.”
Stephanie Beaudoin, 36, of Meredith, was killed when the boat in which she was a passenger crashed against Diamond Island in Gilford. The operator of the 37-foot Formula boat, Erica Blizzard, 34, of Laconia, suffered serious injuries. Blizzard is president of the New Hampshire Recreational Boaters Association, organized in 2004 to fight boating speed limits.
HB 847, which establishes the limits, passed the House 236-111 and the Senate 14-10.