Alabama boat ban nears

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Legislation that will ban larger and faster boats on three Alabama lakes passed the state’s Senate Wednesday by a 25-7 vote, The Daily Home newspaper reported in a story on its Web site yesterday.

The proposed law bans boats larger than 30 feet, 6 inches, and boats longer than 26 feet, 11 inches that can exceed 60 miles per hour, from three lakes in eastern Alabama – Weiss, Harris and Martin.

The bill does grandfather in boats longer than 30 feet, 6 inches that are now on those lakes, including houseboats, and it also exempts sailboats.

Marinas along the three lakes that have “illegal” boats in stock may sell them, but marinas cannot order more big boats to sell and once a boat is removed from one of the three lakes, it cannot come back to that lake. It can be sold, as long as it stays on the lake where it is permitted, The Daily Home reported.

Proponents of the bill say it will protect Alabama’s three eastern-most Alabama lakes from boaters who come from Georgia as that state tightens restrictions on big boats. They have cited overcrowding of Lake Lanier outside Atlanta as reason to stop big boats before they become a problem on Alabama lakes, according to the story.

But passage of the legislation was also needed to make way for a possible multi-million dollar resort community on Lake Harris. Georgia developers of that project wanted restrictions for houseboats there before moving forward with the proposed development, the newspaper reported.

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