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New Hampshire Legislation to Study Impact of Wakeboats on lakes

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  • New Hampshire Legislation to Study Impact of Wakeboats on lakes

    New England and New Hampshire specifically wakeboat owners, wakeboarders, wakesurfers- If you aren't already, please be aware of House Bill 137 that has started a commission to study the affects of wakeboats on our New Hampshire lakes (looking at erosion, safety for fellow water-users, spread of invasive species through ballast etc.)

    This is no doubt the first step towards wakeboat, wakesurfing & wakeboarding restrictions or an outright ban through inane laws. Links below to get educated on this bill and the committee. Please get involved ASAP. I plan on attending committee meetings which are open to the public. I've already been in touch with committee members and the President of NH LAKES that ordered this commission, gathering information. Please consider doing the same, reaching out to your local rep, local senator and if anything gets to his desk, the governor.

    Please help raise awareness on this bill even if you are not from this region. This type of legislation is detrimental to our sport and the wakeboat industry as a whole. If anything passes this stage other states will use NH as a template. Common sense and etiquette go a long way. When operating your wakeboat be smart, be courteous, surf 200+ ft from shore, minimize repetitive passes, keep music at reasonable levels, keep extra distance from other boats, kayaks, swimmers etc. Let's all do these things before the lawman steps in. has a great wake responsibility campaign going that we all should help distribute. Link:


    NHDES Letter:

    Committee Members / Meeting Details:

    Bill Actions:

    *I politely ask NautiqueJeff to leave this post on the main forum page as I truly believe this needs as many eyes as possible.

  • #2
    I exchanged emails with the president of the NH LAKES organization and he explained why they pushed for this bill/commission study.

    Thanks for reaching out. Although the primary mission of NH LAKES is to ensure the long-term health of our lakes, boater safety is clearly an important issue for everyone. With both lake health and boater safety in mind, we reached out a few years ago to the Watersports Industry Association and have since been in contact with industry representatives and their lobbyist. We understand that the industry prefers strictly an educational route. NH LAKES only advocates for rules and prohibitions when we believe that a voluntary approach will not work. In the case of wake (ballast) boats, we are not predisposed to one course of action over another we are still listening and learning. We do think that a conversation between people representing various sides of the issue is the best next step and we will keep an open mind as to what might come from that.


    • #3
      I agree that this is something to keep an eye on. At least the makeup of the commission is pretty diverse, including Pete MacCallum (the local Nautique dealer), someone from WSIA, and someone from USA Water Ski, among others. It's definitely something to watch, but at this point there is no proposed legislation beyond that to create a study commission, which will then produce a report next year, which may or may not recommend legislation.

      Do you know which lakes the property owners are on?

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      • #4
        functionoverfashion yes National Marine Association lobbied for that representation as the original bill does not require any of them.

        The property owners were only added in the last 12 hours. I hadn't noticed. Will do some research!!


        • #5
          Winston Sims - Skautakee Lake in Harrisville NH, quick google search shows he's had involvement with waterfront disagreements in the courts before. He donates to NH LAKES conservation, and has served on a conservation commission in years past.

          Maggie Sims- Lake Sunapee. Has involvement on a number of conservation/protective and historic associations. She is quite elderly.

          I think it can be safely assumed these two people do not like wakeboats.


          • #6
            Also looks like they need a representative from a lake association, which I don't see in there yet.


            • #7
              Here's the most up to date version of the bill:

              The commission will also include 2 representative from the wakesports community. I know of a well connected person from the Sunapee region who will likely fill one spot. She's worked in local politics for many years so she'll be a good fit.


              • #8
                If anyone is interested in keeping tabs on this commission please join this facebook group:


                • #9
                  "Inane laws?" Well, maybe, maybe not. If so, you brought it on yourselves. Well, maybe not you, and maybe not 70-80-90% percent of surfers, who knows the numbers. But the truth is, there are enough irresponsible, inconsiderate surfers out there for it to be a problem, obviously, as this issue and associated restrictions have been around for a while now, and there will only be more. I personally dont get surfing, and I do have a problem with the knuckleheads, but I am putting that bias aside for now. Huge lake, down the main channel, go for it. Not my cup of tea, but enjoy. But you guys arent the problem. Its the near shore, quiet cove, loud music, no regard for others or others' property that are the problem.

                  Timely discussion. Just last week a few of us were skiing, slalom course, back in a quite cove on a zillion acre lake. Week night, not saturday afternoon. We're having a good old time. Stop to switch skiers. Two monster wake boats are coming right at us, next to each other. Two wannabe (i.e. holding on to ropes) surfers following, playing in the double up wake. We kind of wave them aside. One keeps going. One stops. "Hey, we're skiing in here." Driver was polite enough. Oh, you have a course set up, you are skiing, sorry. Meanwhile, the guy being pulled says F--k em, keep going. No, we dont own the lake, but hey, they had a million acres of open water to surf on, why did they need to come down into this cove.

                  More typical, our early weekend morning barefoot sessions, different lake, but same deal. Back at the end of a quiet cove. Sure enough, almost every time, here come the surfers. See us, see what we're doing, keep coming. I dont get it.

                  I realize this inconsiderate behavior is not at the heart of regulations and restrictions, I am sure they are geared more toward property damage, but its pretty likely its the same people creating the two different problems.
                  Last edited by 75Tique; 1 day ago.


                  • #10
                    Yep, I hate to be a killjoy, but there has to be an end to the "We have as much right to use the water as you do" attitude of so many. It is hard to say if the desire for legislation/regulation is due to a "few bad apples" causing too much angst or the larger heavier boats in general.


                    • #11
                      75Tique & scottb7 totally agree! It's an educational issue and I'm primarily a wakeboarder, not wakesurfer. I also slalom and barefoot. I understand the common courtesy of small coves, morning glass, shoreline etiquette etc. But not everyone does (or cares) and generally being a jerk like you've described, while annoying and selfish is not illegal.

                      Not to get too political here but the Govenor of NH just recently veto'd 3 "common sense" guns laws. The voting public and the elected officials in NH have decided that law-abiding residents will be safe and smart with guns and they should be regulated as little as possible (Live Free or Die). Can't say I agree but if you're going to say more gun laws won't "prevent evil individuals from doing harm" then don't regulate wakeboats thinking that will stop the bad apples. Wakeboat restrictions won't stop the jerks from ruining your cove and morning glass. But education could certainly be effective.

                      Perhaps you guys can help in spreading the message: