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Boating Permit May Be Dead in Water With Presidential Signature on Measure

July 26, 2008

By Steve Vantreese, The Paducah Sun, Ky.

Jul. 26–If President George Bush will sign legislation permanently restoring a long-standing exemption, recreational boaters won’t have to purchase an additional permit under the Clean Water Act.

Congress has passed a measure offsetting a September 2006 court decision that would have required those who run anything from a johnboat to a houseboat or cruiser to buy a federal or state permit in order to operate their boats, as it is for commercial vessels. Without it, the Environmental Protection Agency would have had to implement permit regulations for all recreational boats in the country by Oct. 1 essentially to pay for the privilege of “water discharges.”

While most recreational boats don’t have bilges that discharge water, the legal implications were that all boats produce some form of “gray water,” if not water that is pumped through the outboard for cooling, even rainwater that runs off the deck.

The EPA long granted exemptions to recreational boats, the main issue really being about bilge discharges from ocean-going vehicles. But a U.S. district court came up with the position that all boats down to the simplest fishing rig are potential water polluters.

The exemption, provided it gain presidential endorsement, will free an estimated 18 million boaters from an additional charge to use the nation’s lakes and rivers.

–Mayfield’s David Young went visiting recently and won a Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League Illini Division tournament on Lake Shelbyville at Findlay, Ill. The LBL Division regular used Kentucky Lake experiences for reference on the Illinois reservoir and caught a 5-fish limit of 21 pounds, 12 ounces by deep crankbaiting while most contenders said bass were shallow. John Wright of Shelbyville was runner-up among boaters with a limit weighing 17-1.

–Paducahan Clay McElya and Jason Arnold won a recent River City Bass Club tournament on the river system out of the foot of Broadway at Paducah, sacking a 5-fish limit of 14.25 pounds with jigs on main river drop-offs. Randy Thomas and Brad Kingston, both of Paducah, were second with a 12.15 limit caught on crankbaits and jigs on the Ohio River. Craig Small of Paducah and Eric Osborn of Ledbetter were third with 10.55 from the Tennessee River on Carolina rigs and tubes.

–The Jackson Purchase Rifle & Pistol Club will host a military rifle match 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 2 at the group’s range behind 3919 Cairo Road. Competition in vintage bolt-action, vintage semi-auto and modern semi-auto rifle classes will be held on 100-yard targets. All rifles used must be unmodified with original iron sights.

–Barkley Flotilla #87 of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will host its final safe boating class of the summer 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 2 at the Trigg County Library in Cadiz. The course covers navigation, safety equipment and regulations, trailering and skills for operating all sorts of recreational boats and personal watercraft. The course is free but the fee for texts and materials is $20 for individuals or $30 for families. Information or early registration: Phone 522-7619 or e-mail jajodennis@bellsouth.net.

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Copyright (c) 2008, The Paducah Sun, Ky.

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