Mandatory Speed Restrictions Offshore Will Severely Limit Your Boating | SI Yachts

Mandatory Speed Restrictions Offshore Will Severely Limit Your Boating

"We must come together to stop this misguided proposal," said Rich Lucas, Sales Professional & Viking Yachts brand manager. "Just imagine yourself trying to run out to Hudson Canyon to fish and you can only go 8 knots. It's unbelievable what they're trying to do without any guidance, or even conversation with the marine industry."

At the end of July, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), proposed a change to the North Atlantic Right Whale vessel speed rule which currently limits boats over 65-feet to a maximum speed of 10 knots, in certain areas, during certain times of the year.

The new proposal will greatly expand those speed limit areas, but it will also now include vessels between 35 and 65 feet. "Many of our customers head south to Florida after November 1st for the winter boating season, and then head back up North in May," continued Rich. "The new speed rule will impact everyone who makes that trip going down and coming back."

SI Yachts, and the entire marine industry, is asking for your support. Simply go to the Federal Register Website before October 31st and submit a comment. The IGFA (International Game Fish Association) has created a sample comment you can simply copy and paste into the Federal Register Form. You can find that pre-written comment here.

(Below: An image showing the proposed areas where boats over 35-feet can only go 10 knots.)

proposed boat speed changes

Viking Yachts President Patrick Healey, along with John DePersenaire, Director of Government Affairs & Sustainability, released a joint statement regarding the proposed changes by the NOAA.

“The proposed rule, as written, would be the most consequential maritime regulation that we have ever seen imposed on the recreational boating and fishing sector,” says John DePersenaire. “It will affect not only boat owners but marinas, tackle shops, charter boat operators – basically all maritime-related businesses on the Atlantic Coast.”

Adds Pat Healey: “This would be a devastating regulatory mandate. Right whale vessel strikes have just not been an issue for our industry. This is a classic example of government overreach.”

"In our 58-year history, with more than 5,000 boats delivered, we have never had a report of our boats having an encounter with a right whale,” he continued. “And we would know because it would cause significant damage that would be repairable only by us.”

“The bottom line is this is far too consequential of an issue for it to be developed and implemented unilaterally with no meaningful input from our industry or the public,” adds DePersenaire. “Many of these impacts could have been eliminated or significantly reduced – while still reducing risks of vessel strikes – by working with fishermen and boaters.”

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