Biden administration boating proposal would be ‘greatest regulatory overreach’ of its kind, critics warn – Fox News

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“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 associated with 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 particular 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 in order to 10 knots or 11. 5 miles per hour for all boats over thirty-five feet — for up to seven months out of the year and up to 100 miles away at sea for most from the East Coast.

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The purpose: to prevent the boats from hitting an endangered right whale.

In an email to Fox News, an NOAA spokesman pointed out there are only 350 right whales left in the ocean.

“This rule is designed to reduce the risk of mortalities from vessel strikes and afford the species a greater opportunity to recover, ” the statement read.

A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod Bay off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts, on March 28, 2018.

A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface associated with Cape Cod Bay off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts, on March 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

The statement admitted, however, there have only been five deadly whale attacks by boats between 35 to 65 feet in length over the last 15 years. (Boats over 65 feet are already subject to a speed restriction. )

“It’s ridiculous, ” added Angers, who pointed out there’s less than an one in a million chance of a fishing boat hitting a whale, according to NOAA’s own numbers.

“Based on actual interactions between recreational boats and right whales, the proposed restrictions are unjustifiable, ineffective and unnecessary, ” he says.

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IMPACT ON BOAT SAFETY

  It’s also dangerous, based on Chris Edmonston, the chief executive of the Boat Owners Association of the United States, or Boat U. S.

Edmonston stated most boats can’t get on a “plane” if they are going under 10 knots.   A plane is the speed at which the bow associated with the boat lowers in order to cut through oncoming waves.

An endangered North Atlantic right whale gets entangled in fishing rope with a newborn calf in waters near Cumberland Island, Georgia, on Dec. 2, 2021.

An endangered North Atlantic right whale gets entangled in fishing rope with a newborn calf in waters near Cumberland Island, Georgia, upon Dec. 2, 2021. (Georgia Department of Natural Resources/NOAA Permit #20556 via AP)

“The boats are designed in order to ride on top associated with 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 become hard to maintain control. You can take dunes over the side. ”

He mentioned larger boats are especially in risk going through channels near shore.

“They can’t maintain steerage [at 10 knots,]” this individual added. “If you’re going that speed you’re heading to [run] aground. ” 

Safety is also a huge concern for pilot boat captain Trey Thompson.

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“The crew will be thrown around, tossed around, injured, ” he said from the stern of 1 of his pilot boats speeding at 35 knots out of the port at Savannah, Georgia.   “If we run at slow speeds, any side swell is going to make these boats roll. ”

His job is to help commercial vessels navigate from 20 miles out with sea to Savannah’s inland shipping channels.  

In the past year, Thompson purchased two new 64-feet pilot boats.

“This boat we’re standing on is purpose-built with regard to this job” he described. “[It was] just delivered eight months ago. I have a second one under construction now. ”

He said neither can operate safely at 10 knot: “[That’s] $13 million worth of pilot boats that will be unusable. inch

IMPACT ON PORTS

Thompson also predicts the rule will cripple port traffic.

“The port will be closed any day it’s rough [or] windy. [And] not really just this port. All the ports on the Eastern Coast, ” he said.

He pointed out there has never been a confirmed whale strike in a federal channel. “This is the government just getting involved where they don’t need to end up being, ” he said.

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And, Thompson isn’t the only one fearing economic catastrophe.

IMPACT ON FISHING

“This overreach is going to basically all but halt fishing off the particular East Coast of the United States, ” stated Glenn Hughes, the leader of the American Sportfishing Association. “It will just keep people from fishing. inches

He points out you will find 9 million anglers who fish the particular Eastern coastline.

“Instead of getting to the [fishing] destination in an hour, you’re talking about something that’s going to take three to four hours both ways, ” he mentioned.

A day trip, he added, would become “impossible. ”

Crew members aboard a boat sailing in coastal Maine waters.

Crew members aboard a boat sailing in coastal Maine waters. (Mailee Osten-Tan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, File)

“If it takes that long, they’re just not going to go, ” he said. “If these people don’t go, then they will don’t buy product. They don’t buy boats. They don’t buy fuel. They don’t buy anything that goes with that. And it hurts the economy. ”

EFFECT ON AMERICAN BOAT BUILDERS

It’s something that Pat Healey understands all too well.

“It’s heading to devastate [our] industry, ” he or she said, standing next to a half-finished 55-foot motorboat inside a boat factory on the Jersey shore.

Healey has run Viking Yachts, a third-generation boat building company in New Gretna. Boat-building is a single of the few industries that are still dominated by American companies with American factories.

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All but one of the boats Viking makes today are over thirty-five feet, and most fall between 35 and 65 feet. Healey says no one is going to want in order to buy a boat that size that they can only drive 11 mph regarding half the year.

“It’s likely to have a tremendous impact on our employment here at the Viking Yacht Company, inch he said, motioning around to his employees. “All these boat builders…1, 600 boat builders. It’s going to wipe them out there. ”

Hugelmeyer pointed out that the particular figures NOAA used to calculate the risk of whale strike incorrectly assumed that all boats over 35 feet have a draft associated with 30 feet: “This is a great example of the massive errors that are within this proposed rule. inches

He said there are simply better ways to protect whales than what he calls this “horribly thought out and misinformed rule. ”

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Hugelmeyer suggested tagging, geolocation techniques and other forms of tracking so boaters and fishermen can avoid areas where the right whales are. He also said he wanted the NOAA to consult boaters and fishermen, and others, who are usually going to be affected by the rule. “They didn’t consult any of us, ” he additional.

“There is not a single boater who wants to see the right whale go extinct, inch he said. “We simply want a collaborative discussion about the best way to [save them]. inches

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