Author Topic: RI HP Limits  (Read 113 times)

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Offline Curt - RI

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RI HP Limits
« on: May 13, 2018, 11:50:47 AM »
For more than 20 years now I have adamantly stated that the HP restrictions on many RI lakes are a joke. The reason that I say this is that the law creates a double standard.


Bass anglers are being discriminated against, and here's why I say that.


You and I are watched and monitored on all of the 10 HP lakes. If we run our outboard, even at idle speed, we can be written up, fined and taken to court for it.


However, a vast majority of the lakeside property owners who own boats with outboards over the 10 HP limit do, in fact, launch their boats at the very same ramp that you and I launch from. Once they have launched, they promptly start their outboard and (illegally) drive their boat to their dock, where the boat stays for the summer months.


They run their outboard (illegally) all summer long, as they cruise up and down the lake in their pontoon boats, water ski with their ski boats and just generally enjoy boating and fishing recreationally.


Then, in the fall, they use their outboard (illegally) to drive their boat back to the very same ramp which has the HP limit very conspicuously posted, and they load their boat onto the trailer and store it for the winter months.


And this process gets repeated year after year by property owners, many of whom would report us in a heartbeat if we were to run our outboard, even only at idle speed.


I have known this for years, despite not being there to witness it happening.


This past week I was at Echo Lake twice. Once on Tuesday and again on Saturday.


On Tuesday my wife and I saw at least two large pontoon boats back down the ramp, start their oversized outboard and illegally drive to their docks.


On Saturday I witnessed it again, as my bass club was finishing up our tournament weigh-in. Two very large pontoon boats showed up on trailers and began launching them, while also blocking a sizable area of the parking lot while they shot the breeze and prepped boat #1 to launch.


I actually considered calling D.E.M. enforcement, but I didn't bother because I knew nothing would become of it.


D.E.M. is well aware of this double standard, but they continue to turn a blind eye to it.


Echo Lake is one of the rare lakes where the HP restriction can be bypassed for bass tournaments if we get a permit, which we are required to do by law anyway.


I also vaguely remember that, in the past, Echo Lake was only subject to this HP restriction from Memorial Day until Labor day, which may or may not still be in effect. I will investigate this further.


I'm not putting this out here to whine about it. I want to bring this to light (again) and get some feedback from others, and see if there may be some kind of action that can be taken to prevent lakeside property owners from using these ramps illegally every year, while we (bass boat owners) are held to a higher standard and being discriminated against.


More to come...

Offline Curt - RI

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Re: RI HP Limits
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 11:59:57 AM »
Well, I just did a bit of homework and found that the HP limits on Echo Lake are still seasonal. Outboards over 10 HP can be used before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. See the attached image.


This still doesn't make what the property owners are doing legal, since they are running their boats with large outboards between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Offline Brazzy

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Re: RI HP Limits
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 02:16:42 PM »
Agreed. It is a double standard. However, I get it. If I'm living on the lake I don't want tournaments every weekend and pleasure boaters zipping around on a constant basis. The DEM does so little in terms of conservation and oddly enough this really limits the number of boats on a lot of fisheries. Its not surprising that these are some of the better fisheries. I don't mind puttering around with my trolling motor from time to time.

I agree on the double standard though. I do appreciate the people who abide by the law and you see on a number of lakes people have created private launches. For a while it was my understanding that Stafford had a guy who had a private launch that you could pay to use.
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Offline One more!

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Re: RI HP Limits
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 06:15:47 PM »
Interesting post. I have to admit, I don't love the HP limit on the places with a state ramp. If the goal is to keep fishermen away from those places, it has certainly done the job in my case. I rarely fish in RI anymore unless a tournament forces me to. I live a stone's throw from Sand Dam, Keech, and Echo yet I've fished those places maybe a handful of times over the past decade. I simply want to be able to run my outboard. I realize that the people who live on these bodies of water don't want boats buzzing around at all hours of the night and I respect that; however, there are things that can be done to curtail such actions. Congamond, for example, has a host of rules, one of which I believe limits boats to headway speed until 10:00 am. There can be a "sun up to sun down" rule restricting the use of gas motors during the night. Other lakes in MA have speed limits and other rules so it can definitely be done. I'm not sure RI can handle change of any sort so I won't hold my breath on this one. If there isn't $$ to be made, RI can't be bothered. Keep up the good fight though.

Offline Curt - RI

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Re: RI HP Limits
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2018, 10:20:07 PM »
@Brazzy I agree that the HP limits have curtailed the fishing to some degree on some lakes. But that's just an accidental effect of the restriction.

I was told by DEM many years ago that the 10 HP restriction was originally created as a compromise that allowed the state to get landowners to approve of the rmaps being built. So the state promised them that if the land was purchased and a ramp was built, it would be done with the HP restriction in place to prevent the lake from getting overrun with high speed boats buzzing around to catch fish.

So once that was done, it's been hard to even talk to them about making any changes. And in the meantime, lakefront property owners are free to buzz around said lakes with their own high powered boats. This is the double standard of which I speak.

As for some lakefront property owners having their own boat ramps, you're right. I do occasionally see that. But they are a minority for sure. And the vast majority of them are using the state launch twice per year. Once in the spring and again in the fall.

I have spoken with DEM about replacing the HP limits with speed limits, as CT does on many of their lakes. But they claim that it can't be done because speed limits are hard to enforce. That might be the case if we're talking about a 20 or 30 MPH speed limit. But if a lake has a headway speed limit, it's pretty obvious if someone is breaking it. And putting a speed limit into affect would require everyone across the boar to abide by it, whether they're running a bass boat of a jon boat, which keeps it fair for everyone.

RI doesn't like change. @One more! is absolutely right about that. But nothing will ever change if people don't speak out.

It may be that none of us will ever be able to get this changed. But it surely can't hurt to try.  :nope: