Local News

Demo shows dangers of eased boat-towing restrictions

Posted August 21, 2008

— State troopers staged a demonstration Thursday for the media to illustrate their concerns about a proposed bill that would ease boat-towing restrictions for North Carolina motorists.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mike Easley vetoed legislation that would have allowed drivers to pull boats up to 10 feet wide on any day of the week without first obtaining a special permit. Motorists also would have been allowed to tow watercraft up to 9.5 feet wide at night.

State law allows boats up to 8 1/2 feet wide to be towed only during daylight hours on weekdays.

Troopers say has 60,000 miles of two-lane roads which are too narrow to accommodate 9.5-foot-wide boats safely. (Watch video of the demonstration.)

"If this bill becomes law, allowing these overwidth boats to travel on our highways and roads at night, someone's husband, someone's wife, someone's child will be killed, and the governor and I don't want to be a part of that," Bryan Beatty, secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, said.

Approximately 26,000 miles of the state's roads are two-lanes with each lane 9.5 feet or less wide. Another 29,000 miles have 10.5 feet or less.

The bill now returns to the General Assembly, where legislative leaders will decide whether to accept Easley's veto or try to override it.

To revive the measure, three-fifths of the House and Senate members present in each chamber would need to vote for the measure.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously. The House approved it 108-5.

Bill sponsor Rep. Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort, has challenged Easley's claims that the measure is unsafe, saying that the wider boats would be resting on the same sized trailers and that an extra five or six inches on each side would not jeopardize motorists' safety.

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  • hotspot Aug 27, 2008

    FACT:

    They are just doing their jobs as elected officials. They have received thousands upon thousands of letters, emails and phone calls from boaters in NC. This is how the system is SUPPOSED to work.

    The boating community in NC has united to solve this issue.

    Let's hope democracy still lives.

  • Jeff_W Aug 22, 2008

    It is nice to know that with all the issues plaguing our society today, the NC General Assembly feels that BOAT TOWING is one of the most important issues requiring immediate address.

  • hotspot Aug 21, 2008

    FACTS:

    Bill sponsor Rep. Arthur Williams, D-Beaufort, has challenged Easley's claims that the measure is unsafe, saying that the wider boats would be resting on the same sized trailers and that an extra five or six inches on each side would not jeopardize motorists' safety.

  • hotspot Aug 21, 2008

    HP277,

    WE DON'T TRAVEL THE NARROW UNDER-MAINTAINED HIGHWAYS IN NC, WE TRAVEL THE INTERSTATES AND MAJOR HIGHWAYS AND HAVE DONE SO IN A SAFE MANNER FOR MANY YEARS. THAT IS A FACT, NOT HEARSAY AND I DON'T HAVE A LAME VIDEO TO SHOW.

  • urbizn Aug 21, 2008

    jbyrd, those statistics "conveniently" became unavailable shortly after it became obvious that H2167 was well supported by the General Assembly.

    I have seen the statistics (have a copy of them somewhere) - and during a three year period (2005-2007 if I recall correctly), there were FOUR nighttime accidents involving boats wider than 102". Of those four accidents, three of them occurred on Interstate highways or major US routes. During daylight hours, if I recall correctly the total number of wide boat accidents was less than 50.
    There were over 300,000 accidents overall in North Carolina in that same time period.

    Keep in mind that the accident data only indicated that the large boats were INVOLVED in the accident and it is entirely possible that the accidents were not caused by the large boats or contributed to by their size.

  • hp277 Aug 21, 2008

    The governor is right on this. If you meet someone pulling one of these big boat on a narrow road at night, you could easily have an accident or run off the road trying to avoid one.

  • beachboater Aug 21, 2008

    This is a non-issue. These boats have been on the highways since they were first built. I've never seen an accident with a boat. The owners are more careful than most drivers because we love out boats and take care of them.

    Easley (sleazley) is trying to get another fee for the permit so he can throw out another rhyming program. Maybe he can form a potty training program and call it "Wee Wee at Three."

    Good bye, so long, farewell Mr. Sleazley. Go anywhere, just go!!! Please.

  • hotspot Aug 21, 2008

    AND AGAIN, THEY SHELTER THE PUBLIC FROM THE TRUTH. THE TRUTH IS, I CAN GET A PERMIT AND PULL THAT SAME BOAT ALL I WANT.

    ALSO, IN THEIR TEST, THEY PLACE THE STICK AT THE LOWEST PART OF THE LOAD TO CREATE MORE DRAMATIC STUFF FOR THE PUBLIC TO SEE.

    THE TRUTH IS THE TRUTH, DON;T BELIEVE THE CLOUDED MINDS.

  • hotspot Aug 21, 2008

    THEY MAKE IT SOUND LIKE WE PULL OUR BOATS THROUGH BUSY CITY DISTRICTS AND ON ONE-WAY ROADS OR DIRT ROADS. FUNNY!!!

    WE USE THE BEST ROADS FOR OUR PRIZED POSSESSIONS, YOU KNOW, INTERSTATES!

    I CAN PUT A 9.5 WIDE BOAT ANY WHERE YOU WOULD LIKE IT, BUT HEY, I'VE BEEN DOING IT FOR 30 YEARS.

  • hotspot Aug 21, 2008

    FACT 1. These same boats have been on NC highways for MANY years and have a great safety record. Look at some REAL DATA instead of fabricated information. FACT 2. Recent enforcement of antiquated laws by the NCHP have caused an uproar in the boating community. FACT 3. Many who use to travel to NC for vacations and tournaments with their boats no longer do so because of FACT number 2. FACT 4. The State is loosing revenue.

    FACT 5. Coastal towns and the boating industry in NC are feeling the effects of FACT number 2.

    FACT 6. I have personally towed my boat 30k miles all over NC, SC and VA for the last 5 years with no issues. Now it sits at home.

    FACT 7. This is a boating access issue, not a POLITICAL issue. I hope democracy prevails or many of us will just have move our boats to BOATER FRIENDLY states such as SC or VA.

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