[kag] snowmobile skimming
- From: Graeme Watson <Graeme.Watson@xxxxxx>
- To: kag@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 14:35:18 -0500
Further to our last, I just got this in an email:
The practice of operating a snowmobile over open water at high rates of speed.
Some jurisdictions in the U.S. have made the practice illegal.
Is it time for Ontario to consider restrictions on this potentially dangerous "sport" which is being practiced right here in South Frontenac Township?
Here is some information on the topic from the NEW HAMPSHIRE FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT.
MOULTONBORO, N.H. -- State safety officials are trying to warn residents against skimming -- an illegal practice they say is dangerous not only to snowmobilers, but also to rescuers.
Since Sunday, there have been two reports of snowmobiles attempting to skim over the surface of open water on Lake Winnipesaukee. In one of the cases, a Massachusetts man died. The other was a false report.
Moultonboro rescue crews said that they receive calls every season to pull snowmobilers out of the freezing water after a failed skimming attempt. Crews were called to the water Sunday night for a report that a snowmobile fell in.
"With fire, police and ambulance people, we probably had right around 20 people involved in the search or getting ready to go into the water and establishing an area to work from," fire Capt. Ed Maheux said.
Searching the icy waters involved at least eight rescuers putting on cold-water rescue suits to go out on the ice. They spent two hours at the scene, but by 1 a.m., they determined that no one had gone in.
"You're tying up resources that if we got another call, we would not be able to respond because we're on a call looking for a possible missing person, and it's tying up resources that could be used somewhere else in emergency," Maheux said.
Fish and Game officials said that skimming can be deadly, which is why it was outlawed last year.
"If you own a snowmobile and skim over an open body of water, there's the potential to lose momentum," said Brad Morse, of Fish and Game. "If the snowmobile stalls out, if that snowmobile goes down, the only thing you can do is to try to swim to shore."
Anyone caught and convicted of skimming can receive a $500 fine. Those convicted also face fines associated with getting the snowmobiles out of the water and for any environmental damage they might have caused.
SNOWMOBILE SKIMMERS FINED
CONCORD, N.H. - Four snowmobilers apprehended for illegal "skimming" over open water pled guilty and were fined in Southern Carroll County District Court.
Three men were arrested for an incident involving skimming over open water on Mirror Lake in Tuftonboro on March 20. Steve Smart, age 21, of Wolfeboro, had gone through the ice and sunk his snow machine. The incident was his second skimming offence this year, and he was assessed a $900 fine. Chris Pelletier, age 33, of Wolfeboro; and John Goodrich, age 22, of Tuftonboro; were also convicted of operating snow machines over open water in the same incident. This was the first offence for Pelletier and Goodrich, and they were each fined $600.
In a separate incident that took place on March 27, John Carvalho, age 34, of Gilford, was convicted of skimming in front of the docks in Wolfeboro. His snow machine sank during the skimming episode, and had to be retrieved by divers at Carvalho's expense. The District Court fined Carvalho $600 for the skimming violation.
"Skimming across open water is illegal and will not be tolerated," said Conservation Officer Chip Joseph of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "The court system is taking this offence very seriously, in part because they don't want to see conservation officers or firefighters lose their lives while rescuing people involved in this illegal activity."
Fish and Game's District 2 Conservation Officers have been diligent about prosecuting skimming violations this winter, according to Joseph. Among other places, they have kept a close watch on the Weirs Channel in Laconia, Governor's Island Bridge in Gilford, the docks in Wolfeboro and locations in Mountonborough. More than a dozen skimmers have been apprehended this year.
As of January 1, 2005, the dangerous practice of operating snowmobiles on open water, also known as skimming, has been illegal in New Hampshire. "Open water" refers to any area of an inland water body that is free of ice and snow. The only exception are special events authorized by permit.
"The new law against skimming will save lives. It's as simple as that," said Maj. Timothy Acerno, who oversees the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) Education Program.
January 30, 2006
MAN DIES IN SNOWMOBILE "SKIMMING" INCIDENT
CONCORD, N.H. -- Daniel Harper, age 51, of Bellingham, Mass., died Sunday, January 29 at about 12:30 p.m. while attempting to operate his snowmobile over open water on Lake Winnipesaukee in Moultonborough, N.H.
"This loss of life underscores just how dangerous the practice of skimming is, which is why this risky activity is now illegal in New Hampshire," said Maj. Tim Acerno, who coordinates N.H. Fish and Game's Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) program.
Harper was one of a group of five snowmobilers. He attempted to cross an area of open water that was 350 feet wide, making it about two-thirds of the way across the water before his snow machine sank in 15 feet of water. The other snowmobilers and local residents pulled him out of the water and called for medical assistance. Moultonborough Fire and Rescue and Stewarts Ambulance Service responded to the scene and attempted to resuscitate Harper. He was transported to the Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia, where he was pronounced dead at 1:50 p.m.
The dangerous practice of operating a snowmobile over open water, known as "skimming", has been illegal in New Hampshire since January 2005. If convicted, first-time offenders can expect to pay a minimum $500 fine. Environmental fines may also be involved, because snow machines that sink to the bottom of a lake release gas and oil into the water -- substances that are hazardous for fish and wildlife.
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