MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Alabama boaters and marina operators are speaking out on Senate Bill 487, which if passed would ban houseboats, boats more than 30'6” and boats with engines in excess of 500 horsepower in nine Alabama reservoirs.
Houseboat owners and operators of their marinas are particularly concerned about what the bill might mean for their future.
Joe Wilkerson, the owner of Coosa Island Marina with about 200 houseboats, has been trying to spread the word to the boating community in an effort to gain support against the bill.
In an article today, the Daily Home reported that houseboat owners pay more than $4,000 per month in rent to Coosa Island Marina, revenue it needs to make it through the winter.
Wilkerson told the newspaper that if the bill is passed, he expects about half of the marinas along Logan Martin Lake will be forced out of business. And Logan Martin Lake is only one of the nine that would be impacted by the bill.
Houseboat owners, meanwhile, wonder whether they will have to give up what in some cases is their only home.
The owner of a 97-foot houseboat told the newspaper that he - and others with boats 18 feet wide or larger - are unable to legally move their boats to another lake because of Alabama Department of Transportation regulations on the size of boats that can be transported along interstates. The passage of Senate Bill 487 would likely mean an end to his boating life.
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