From the very moment that Americans decided that it was time to send the Redcoats packing back in the 1770’s, one of our greatest sources of national pride has been in telling our federal government when they’ve crossed a line. This is a part of the American ethos, very literally, and it continues well into the 21st century.
The latest example of our federal overlords’ unnecessary overreach comes to us from the Atlantic Coast, where boaters and fisherman believe a dangerous situation is unfolding.
“This would be the greatest regulatory overreach in American maritime law” — that’s how Frank Hugelmeyer describes a proposal by the Biden administration to limit the speed of all motorboats over 35 feet from Florida to Massachusetts. “Not only are they creating a serious safety issue, they are creating a massive negative economic impact.”
Hugelmeyer is president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), and he is just one of a growing number of voices expressing outrage over the proposal put forward by the U.S. Commerce Department under the auspices of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
“It’s stupid,” said Jeff Angers, the president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “It’s not what government is supposed to do.”
The far-reaching regulation would restrict speed to 10 knots or 11.5 miles per hour for all boats over 35 feet — for up to seven months out of the year and up to 100 miles out at sea for most of the East Coast.
Besides the fact that there is exactly zero evidence of any right whale having ever been struck by a boat in federal waters, there are concerns about the danger that the new regulation would pose for humans as well.
It’s also dangerous, according to Chris Edmonston, the president of the Boat Owners Association of the United States, or Boat U.S.
Edmonston said most boats can’t get on a “plane” if they are going under 10 knots. A plane is the speed at which the bow of the boat lowers in order to cut through oncoming waves.
“The boats are designed to ride on top of the waves,” he said. “This is going to make them wallow in the waves — up and down, side to side, pitching,” he explained. “It’s going to be hard to maintain control. You can take waves over the side.”
He said larger boats are especially at risk going through channels near shore.
“They can’t maintain steerage [at 10 knots,]” he added. “If you’re going that speed you’re going to [run] aground.”
The move comes just weeks after Maine Lobster fisherman blasted the Biden administration for their unwillingness to help diffuse a situation in which a local environmental group arbitrarily issued a statement against the industry for their potential impact on the right whale population. Similarly, there is no evidence to suggest that lobster fishing has cause any harm whatsoever to any right whales.