Moorings Update

30
May

Moorings Update

As a resident of Pleasant Lake and/or the Town of New London, the Pleasant Lake
Protective Association encourages you to become better informed about lake moorings.

This last summer a boater who does not live on Pleasant Lake placed a mooring and
subsequently his boat, in a way that obstructed the view from a neighboring property
owners home. The boater had access to this mooring through a grandfathered right of
way on nearby land. After doing some research, the home owner discovered that at the
present time moorings are totally unregulated on Pleasant Lake, as they are on most of
the state’s lakes and that this action by the boater, however unpleasant to them, was
legal. However, there is a provision in the current NH Moorings Law for a lake to
petition for a hearing to be considered becoming a Designated Mooring Lake, where
moorings are regulated by the State. Additionally, a number of people have become
more and more concerned about the growing number of unregulated moorings on
Pleasant Lake. Many of these moorings are off the Town Beach in Elkins. The home
owner was already concerned about the growing number of unregulated moorings
appearing on the lake and decided to take action. The first step in the process is to
collect 25 signatures on a petition, requesting that Pleasant Lake enroll in the State of
NH Moorings Program. The home owner collected the required signatures and filed the
petition in early April. You can follow the link below to see the actual petition that was
filed.
https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/hearings/documents/pleasant-lake-petition.pdf

What is the NH Moorings Law?
In 1987 the 6 largest lakes (Winnipesaukee, Squam, Newfound, Winnisquam, Sunapee
and Ossipee) in the state were having significant problems with unregulated moorings
and unregulated mooring fields. A law was passed that put boat moorings and mooring
fields on these lakes under the control of Marine Patrol, which is part of the Department
of Safety.
Under the Mooring Law all moorings would become regulated moorings and subject to
The Mooring Law. Individual moorings would be registered with the State and an initial
fee of $125 would be paid. There would be an annual $25 registration fee each
subsequent year unless the moorings were part of a congregate mooring field, in which
case the annual fee would be $50. A mooring could only be placed directly in front of the
property of the person who owned the mooring. The mooring would have to be
contained within the imaginary extended boundaries of the property. The law would
only affect boat moorings and not docks and swim raft anchors, nor boats secured to a
dock. Mooring fields would have to adhere to regulations that controlled where they were placed,                                                                  the land that accessed them and the design of the mooring field. Much more information on the                                                                    Mooring Law can be found at the following sites:

The Mooring Law can be found at
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/NHTOC/NHTOC-XXII-270.htm
specifically in Chapter 270, Section RSA 270:59 through Section RSA 270:72-a

The Rules pertaining to The Mooring Law can be found at
http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rules/state_agencies/saf-c400.html
Saf-C 408 MOORINGS begins the section on the Rules relating to The Mooring Law.

Frequently asked questions about The Mooring Law are answered at
https://www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/nhsp/fob/marine-patrol/moorings/faq.html

Originally, these regulations only applied to New Hampshire’s six largest lakes.
However, there is a provision in the law for additional lakes to petition for a hearing to
also be considered under this law. Bow Lake in Northwood and Strafford (1000 acres)
and Pleasant Lake in Deerfield (450 acres) both petitioned and are now also designated
mooring lakes. Pleasant Lake, New London, is 606 acres.

How are moorings currently regulated on Pleasant Lake?
Lakes that are not under the Moorings Law, including Pleasant Lake in New London,
can have unregulated moorings placed anywhere they can be legally accessed and not be
a navigational hazard. That is also the case for unregulated mooring fields. For
example, at the present time any boat owner could be given legal access to the lake by a
lake property owner over the property owner’s land. The boat owner could then legally
place a mooring for their boat in front of any property on the lake. A mooring could also
be legally accessed from the public boat launch or across public property. A number of
boaters could do this so that an unregulated mooring field could form. Unregulated
moorings and unregulated mooring fields could occur anywhere on the lake.
Pleasant Lake currently has two mooring fields. One is privately managed at Slope ‘N
Shore and the other, next to the Town Beach in Elkins, is not managed at all. The Slope
‘N Shore site has been in existence for many years. It is well managed, with secure
moorings. Usage is controlled by Slope ‘N Shore. Access is gained over Slope ‘N Shore
property. Parking and restrooms are provided. The boaters at the site off the Town
Beach gain access to their boats over Town property but the site is not a Town Mooring
Field. The Town of New London has no legal control over this unregulated mooring field
beside their Town Beach or the access to it. The Town has no legal control over any of
the lakes contained within the Town. The State has sole control over the lakes in the
State of New Hampshire. The unregulated mooring field site off the Town Beach has
problems with moorings breaking, boats dragging their moorings, lack of owner
identification, swimmers at risk in the water and safe boating violations. This unregulated                                                                                    mooring field is contiguous to the Town Beach and subsequently presents potential safety                                                                    problems to the Town beach swimmers as well as problems with parking
and use of toilet facilities. The number of unregulated moorings in this area continues
to grow each year and now numbers about 22.

What has PLPA done?
The Pleasant Lake Protective Association Executive Board invited Captain Tim Dunleavy
of New Hampshire Marine Patrol to be present at an informational meeting. The
President of Slope ‘n Shore was also invited and attended the meeting. After making
observations of both mooring fields on the lake, Captain Dunleavy informed us that the
unregulated mooring field next to the Town Beach would not be permissible under the
Moorings Law. The Slope ‘N Shore privately managed mooring field could apply to
become a Congregate Mooring Field under the Moorings Law. Congregate Mooring
Fields require a separate hearing and if approved, an initial fee of $125 for each mooring
and a $50 annual fee. The Captain assured the Slope ‘N Shore president that Marine
Patrol would help work out details so that Slope ‘N Shore could maintain their mooring
field but specifics have not been worked out at this point.

What happens next?
The petitioner has filed a properly signed petition, which must include at least 25
accompanying signatures of residents of the lake or of the Town, and that results in a
Hearing by the Department of Safety that will be held here in New London. The date
has been set for Friday, June 22 nd at 2:00 PM at Whipple Hall in New
London. During this Hearing all interested residents of the Town and/or the lake will
be able to express their opinions verbally regarding adopting the Moorings Law; it is not
a question and answer period. Written opinions will be accepted up to one week after
the hearing (June 29 th , 2018 at 4:15PM) and can be mailed to: Christopher Casko,
Administrator, Bureau of Hearings, 33 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03305. Email can be
sent to safety-hearings@dos.nh.gov. Based on the testimonies and other presented
evidence, the Department of Safety will make a decision whether to designate Pleasant
Lake as a Mooring Lake and adopt rules pursuant to the authority granted by RSA
270:61-a.

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