NH Lake speed limit proposal

Lake Winnipesaukkee

If “The Broads” is roughly eight miles long, instead of 10.6 minutes to go from one end to the other it’ll take you only 7.4 minutes. At most, 13 miles long so, 12 minutes at 65 mph. I don’t get it but, that kind of boating doesn’t appeal much to me.

However, I wonder if it really matters. Is inattentive boating at 65 mph any different than inattentive boating at 45 mph? The sponsor was insulting saying paddlers shouldn’t be out in the middle of the lake anyway.

Curious for comparison, I looked at Cayuga and Seneca Lakes, both under 40 miles long, a few miles wide. Unlimited in the middle with decreasing speeds closer to shore at 1,500’, 500’ and 100’. But they are longer, pretty straight and not many islands.


Its unfortunate when boaters can’t be considerate. The Chesapeake Bay with many busy feeder rivers including the Susquehanna, Potomac, Potapsco, James, Rappahannock, Chester, Wye, Sassafras, Bohemian and the cowded wateways around Annapolis are the large bodied of water here. Except for no wake zones entering the many harbors and marinas, I’m unaware of any speed restrictions. The most common issue is negotiating the crab pots and fishing boats. We also share the waterways with large seagoing vessles, barges, dredges that constantly work to keep channels open, “cigar boats” (I wish they required mufflers because you csn hear them three miles before and after they pass, and there is an abundance of them), and the large 50 ft cabin cruiser (I was shocked when my 11 yr old granddaughter rode the wake of one passing close, and she said, “will any more come by, that was fun!”), sea scooters (present in abundance and as pesky as misquitos), and the many sailboats that call it home.

Hope they can sort it out so everybody can enjoy the water. Maybe the historic significance of the waterways here, used primarily as a work environment by so many, inbues a sense of respect for everyone using the crowded waterways. That respect is apparent by the response when there is a mayday or BOLO regarding a boater in distress. It’s perhaps the reason we call it “The Land of Pleasant Living.” If boaters can’t learn to coexist, pass a law!

Contrary to the fabulous North Central Rail to Trail bike Path that covers over 40 miles between Baltimore, MD and York, PA. That was my favorite trail until they posted a 15 mile speed limit on it. What’s the point of using a bike. I switched to kayaking. I have no problems it the no wake zones. It provides an opportunity to observe the scenery.

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While high speed inconsiderate boaters represent a danger, I’ve experienced inconsiderate boaters of all types anywhere along the east coast. I don’t think the phenomena is limited to any particular locale.

The most dangerous low speed inconsiderate boaters I have encountered have been kayakers loitering around the Mystic Bridge when larger boats are attempting go through. More than once I or a boat in front me has had to yell at them to get out of the way. So, no one is immune.


Reckless bothers me. I don’t worry about boat wake. I’m worried about the power boats that think I don’t belong out there in power boat country. Im worried, they’re going to ban little kayaks in open water because ships can’t see them. I see everything and stay out of their way. I hope they reconsile differences, because I hate laws and restrictions.


On a lake that size, the largest in NH, I really do not see a need for a speed limit, although it seems that NH has speed limits on many smaller lakes. Due to the expense, there are not that many boats that can go faster than 45mph anyway. The ones that do are petty noisy and I suppose I can see people objecting to that or operating at those speeds close to shore.

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Yeah! Get the town council involved. They make them stop.

I grew up in Baltimore, spent my summers around the Severn and Choptank, then later lived on the Patuxent near Benedict. We took boating seriously. My grandfather used to fish the open Bay in a wood rowboat, no motor, just oars. When I moved to Dallas I heard of more deaths and boating accidents on local lakes in one year than I ever recalled in my previous 35 years. Gigantic bay built boats on 10 mile long lakes, over powered speed boats, drunken boaters, and jet skis to boot. I made a decision to stick to rivers or motor restricted lakes a long time ago to avoid being made into chum. There is no lake worth your life.


I think maybe lakes have more predictable conditions than the Bay, which possibly contribute to higher speeds. A typical afternoon on the bay has wind driven waves that somewhat limits speed for power boats. You remind me of going with my father to crab on the Eastern Shore in a rented wood skiff with traditional cross planked flat bottom. Water at six feet was clear to the bottom. The only place I saw that in recent years was on the Flats up at the Head of the Bay. The seaweed is so thick boats avoid it. Consequently, the water remains clear to the bottom. I only know because I “tried” to paddle through it.

Danger from power boats is real. I admit that I purposely avoid weekends. The area where I launch is loaded with people renting kayaks, canoes and mostly paddle boards in recent years. Getting out to the open water you will encounter more boat traffic and pleasure boats skiing, but most boats go to hot spots to congregate with friends, grill, wax their boat or sunbathe and drink. The open water is the fomain of fishing and crabbing boats. Boaters always seem to give wide berth to other boats. Resource police have cracked down on drinking and driving, making reckless driving a patrol boat magnet. At least three or four jurisdictions patrol the water to enforce catch limits and monitor safe boating.

Another plus is that travelling power boats typically remain in the marked channels, because storms scour the deadwood from the beaches and whole trees and other obstacles can lodge in the shoals.

The key to safe navigation of the waterways is to knowing the habits of other boaters, understanding the cycles of the tide in combination with river currents. Know the shoals where wave action is compounded and how wind and tides compliment each other or increase the height of waves.

I worry more about the dynamics of the Bay than the boats using it, and going out in the middle is not a concern as long as you understand the signs of changing weather, which typically give about 2 1/2 hour notice.

If you know the changing signs in this area, you can anticipate storms well before any of the weather radars show a green speck. Stable low-height fair weather clouds on the fight form columns when fibrous upper level appears. Within two hours, it’ll form into a thunderhead right before your eyes, before the weather service announces the final phase. By then it’s too late. These localized cells are are harder to predict than fronts, but are equally dangerous. That one had hail and storm forcasts were near zero chance that day.

I know nothing about the open water below the Bay Bridge near Annapolis.

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@Paddlinpals do you miss the Bay? The Annapolis area is a beautiful place with access and plenty of places to explore

Off topic, but the loss of water clarity is tragic. When I grew up spending time on Barnegat Bay in NJ in the summers, you could clearly see the bottom at depths of over 20’. Now it’s just like the Chesapeake where you are lucky if you can see much further than a foot. I’ve done oyster and salvage diving in the Chesapeake and it’s pretty much mostly done by feel. There’s essentially no recreational diving on the Bay any more.

Every once in a while you get a freak day on the Chesapeake where the visibility might be 4-5’ in certain areas.


People swim in it. I don’t. Divers have told me they occasionally suffer ear infections.

I think waterway safety can be improved by going after reckless boat operation. Resource police have the opportunity to safety check and warn if they see boats getting out of control and encroaching on other boats.

What happened to the speed limit on Lake Winnipesaukee?

  • A bill proposed in the New Hampshire House of Representatives that would have raised the speed limit on Lake Winnipesaukee from 45 to 65 mph was defeated after a public hearing Wednesday. More than 300 people submitted online testimonies before to the hearing — 106 in support and 216 in opposition. I paddle along the shores of the mouth of Piscataqua River but I avoid getting in the way of oil tankers, cargo ships, lobster boats, motorboats, etc.

It was even better 50 years ago when a couple of 13 year olds with an 18hp outboard and a wood skiff go anywhere. Camping on beaches. Fishing on the old B&A railroad trestle. I miss those days. I visit every once and while, but its not the same. Too over developed and over populated. I enjoy the Texas coast just as well and there are plenty of places to safely paddle and no abundance of wildlife that you would never see on the Bay any longer.


We were all over the bay between Annapolis and the mouth of the Choptank, but we spent a lot of time blue fishing Eastern bay. Water wasn’t all that clear even back in the 70’s. Up the Patuxent though it was still very clear. We used to crab with hand lines and you could see down 5-6 feet if it wasn’t windy, Same in the StMary’s . Then again there was way less development to disturb things.

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Rock is still good.

@tlb, of the over 300 on line testimonies, I suspect the 2/3 in opposition were property owners concerned about the wake from high speed boats. It’s a valid concern on a lake speckled with islands. As pointed out above, probably not many boats are that fast anyway. I’m sure stand up paddlers will be happy. The down side of the decision is that some boaters will be forced to enjoy the lake longer than they otherwise intended.

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Agreed and the lake has had its share of fatal accidents also; our coastal back channels have “NO WAKE” areas for good reason. Other than days on my son’s slow boat, I only kayak and always try to stay out of the way. It was a surprise seeing this paddle boarder in the Piscataqua.

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On our local chain of lakes the biggest shoreline erosion issue has been the rise in popularity of wake boards. They don’t go particularly fast, but the boats have a 1000 lb water bag in the back to create a huge wake and need big i/o’s to overcome the displacement. People are armoring their shoreline with sea walls like crazy now.


In addition to shoreline erosion, they can very effectively spread invasive species from lake to lake in the water ballast. IMO, they are incompatible with the idea of responsible shared use on small and medium size lakes.