Subject: Safe Boating on the White and North Fork

Hello All,

I’ve heard from a couple of concerned anglers recently about boating on the White and North Fork.  The most significant concern I have heard has to do with unsafe operations (i.e., lack of courtesy towards others).  This of course is an issue of enforcement and for those who may not know, there are currently laws in place to address the safety issues:

27-101-202 (1) No person shall operate any motorboat or vessel or manipulate any water skis, aquaplane, personal water craft, or similar device in a reckless or negligent manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person;  including, but not limited to, weaving through congested vessel traffic, operating within one hundred feet (100′) of a towboat that is underway, jumping the wake of another vessel too close to such other vessel, or when visibility around such other vessel is obstructed and swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision shall constitute reckless operation of a vessel.

27-101-202 (2) No person shall operate a motorboat on the waters of this state at a rate of speed that creates a hazardous wash or wake upon approaching or passing vessels, including, but not limited to, a wake that causes other vessels to take-on water, or a wake sufficient to toss occupants of other vessels about in a manner to cause injury or the risk of injury.

27-101-202 (3) No person shall operate a motorboat upon the waters of this state within one hundred feet (100′) of a designated recreation area, dock, pier, raft, float, anchored boat, dam, intake structure, or other obstruction at a speed exceeding five (5) miles per hour unless a contrary speed limit shall have been established in the designated area.  However, in no case shall any motorboat be driven in a manner or at a speed that exceeds the safe and reasonable limits under existing circumstances.

We encourage the public and recreational boaters to advise AGFC enforcement immediately if you witness any violations (fishing or boating) so that they can respond and hopefully take care of the issue while in progress.  The officers cannot be everywhere at the same time so they depend on the public’s assistance to make them aware of any issues.  Call 800-482-9262 and try to get the other boat’s registration number, if possible. If you know the violators by name, even better.  Your assistance in reporting these violations will hopefully alleviate the problem and lead to a more pleasant and safe experience for others.  At the suggestion of one of our anglers, we are going to consider putting out some information about these laws at the access areas to inform anglers who may not be aware the boating regulations exist.

I’ll be more than happy to discuss further if needed. Please pass this along to other anglers as you see fit.

Thanks, Christy

Christy Graham

Trout Biologist Supervisor

E-mail: | P: (870) 424-5924 | M: (870) 404-0477

posted May 24th, 2016 by Teresa “TBird” VanWinkle.