Archived Story

Lake reps discuss proximity regulation

Published 2:13pm Monday, February 27, 2012

Representatives from lakes across the state met with state officials Wednesday to discuss the possibility of issuing a proximity regulation for Alabama lakes.

The meeting, hosted by the Lake Martin Resource Association and held at the Shoppes of Queen’s Attic in downtown Alexander City, was attended by members of the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (including Deputy Commissioner Curtis Jones), the Alabama Marine Police (including Col. Steve Thompson, director) and representatives from seven lakes across Alabama.

“It was 2008 when the DCNR – the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – commissioner originally considered a ruling dealing with the harm that was done to safety and property from a boat wake,” LMRA President Charles Borden said. “For various reasons, that ruling was not issued.

“The Lake Martin Resource Association has initiated revisiting the issue with the commissioner. We met with representatives from lakes around the state, the marine police, DCNR and considered how we might make this a win-win situation for all concerned. We fully intend to include all the fishing interests in any ruling that is eventually decided on. We’ll get all parties involved when we get to that point in the process.”

Those attending the meeting discussed the state’s previously proposed regulation, which stated that “no person shall operate any vessel or tow a person or persons on water skis, an aquaplane, a surfboard, or any similar device on the waters of this state at a speed greater than idle speed within 100 feet of any vessel which is moored, anchored or adrift outside normal traffic channels, or any wharf, dock, pier, piling, bridge structure or abutment, person in the water, or shoreline adjacent to a full-time or part-time residence, public park, public beach, public swimming area, marina, restaurant or other public use area.”

The attendees also discussed a similar regulation currently in effect in Georgia, and discussed varying ideas for proposing a new proximity regulation in Alabama.

All parties involved are planning to send a letter to LMRA within the next two weeks to share their ideas for the proposal.

“The next step after that is, I will summarize all that and put it in an email, send it to Curtis Jones, DCNR assistant commissioner and he will then get it to David Dean who is the legal representative for DCNR,” Borden said. “At that point we will get some type of draft and all parties will have an opportunity to consider it, have input before any further action.

“We just want to make this a win-win for all parties.”