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Kevin Turner

Court Ruling Effects River Boaters

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Kevin Turner

Issue Date: 9/13/2006, Posted On: 9/13/2006

Court ruling makes boating illegal in much of U.S.

The Marine Retailers Association of America is alerting its dealer members to a court ruling that some say could have serious consequences for boating.

Judge Robert G. James of the U.S. District Court, Western Division of Louisiana, has declared it is a criminal trespass for the public to boat, fish or hunt on the Mississippi River and other navigable waters of the country.

"Even though this action seems like a horrible pre-April Fools’ joke, it is very serious," said MRAA president Phil Keeter, in a statement. "Because essentially all the waters and waterways of our country are considered navigable in the U.S. law, this ruling declares recreational boating, water skiing, fishing, waterfowl hunting and fishing tournaments – except if conducted in a navigable shipping channel — to be illegal and the public subject to jail sentences for recreating with their families."

In addition, the judge held that federal law grants exclusive and private control over the waters of the river, outside the main shipping channel, to riparian landowners. The shallows of the navigable waters are no longer open to the public, the MRAA reports, adding, “Boating has now become illegal in most of our country.”

In the Aug. 29 decision, Judge James rejected the findings of the magistrate judge who found earlier that the public had the right under federal law and Louisiana law to navigate, boat, fish and hunt on the waters of the Mississippi River up the normal high-water line of the river.

In that ruling, MRAA says Magistrate Judge James Kirk relied on long-established federal principles of navigation entitling "the public to the reasonable use of navigable waters for all legitimate purposes of travel or transportation, for boating, sailing for pleasure, as well as for carrying persons or property for hire, and in any kind of watercraft, the use of which is consistent with others also enjoying the right possessed in common."

"MRAA is working with the Coast Guard, state boating law administrators, and NMMA ... to fight this onerous ruling," said MRAA chairman Glenn Mazzella, in a statement.

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Wiskers

That is way out there???????????? If I read this right, there will be no more fishing in the Red River? The Red is classified as Nav. waters. That is not a cool judgement. I can not see that holding up for long.. there are way too many fishermen out there and the goverment works for the people, or at least it is suposed to.

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Trouthunter

I suppose that only applies to the miss if you consider it navigable...not this year!

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hanson

Who's paying these guys??

Privatization of public resources. I'm getting sick of it!

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Maashkinoozhe

The ruling comes from a court case in Louisiana where a farmer called the sheriff on a couple of fishermen that were fishing his flooded property (a mississippi river floodplain) and they got arrested for trespassing.

Dave D

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Wiskers

Now that's wrong.. Water is water.. and should be.. no one should own water unless it is in the middle or your land surrounded by your land and not under the water. What is our Free country coming to? I just read a court minuets where a former war Vet who was a coreman, came across a person that was stung by a Hornet and was alergic.. they stopped breathing so he gave them a "Tracheotimy" Spelling? That person lived because of that but later on got an infection and sued the man because he went over above his expired training and she won!!!!!!!!!!! SICK

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Maashkinoozhe

From what I've read, the Louisiana judge ruled that while the fisherman had a right to navigate up to the high-water mark, they weren't allowed to hunt and fish in/on property flooded by high water. Hunting and fishing allowed only as far as low water mark boundaries. I'm hoping this is only a Louisiana thing. I think the judge was differentiating navigability as defined by federal law, and fishing and hunting access, which (I believe) is determined by Louisiana state law.

Page 3 of our Minnesota Fishing Regs states this:

"What waters are open to recreational use?

A stream or lake is open to recreational use over its entire surface if it is capable of recreational use and if it is lawfully accessible. Any water that will float a canoe is capable of recreational use, but other waters may also qualify depending on circumstances."

So as I read it, that ruling (hopefully) doesn't affect us. I'd like to see the actual Minnesota statute this is based on so I could breathe a little easier. Too bad for those Louisianan fishermen, though.

Dave D

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tbags

I imagine that it is only a state thing. The Judge is ruling on the land next to the water because it was flooded. Land within state boundries are controlled by the state, not the federal government, so I do not think that would apply to us up here.

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Sartell Angler

I've never heard such garbage before in all of my life...even though I'm only 22 years old I'm going to pretend I didn't even read this story to avoid a premature problem with too high of blood pressure.

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smallie_hawgin

Quote:

I've never heard such garbage before in all of my life...even though I'm only 22 years old I'm going to pretend I didn't even read this story to avoid a premature problem with too high of blood pressure.


Right on SA.... What a bunch of BS... As far as I am concerned the water is public period... grin.gif

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cloyd

it is a rediculous law that will be overturned of challenged

means the landowner must post the waterways with no trespassing sighns every so many feet...good luck with that one

I know here in minnesota if a lake is landlocked by private posted land...but there is a creak that runs into it

you are allowed to boat up the creek an fish that land under one condition..you dont drop anchor

whereas the owner may own the land underneath the water an the shoreline..he dont own the water

contridiction right there

now water rights...means that law just made it legal for landowners to harvest that water for sale since they own it according to the law

does this mean landowners can sue municipalities for polluting thier water as it passes over thier land?.

does it mean they cn sue huge companies for illegal discharge

how does this effect EPA laws governing water pollution

the law cant stand up..itll be overturned...one hand of the goerment just slapped about 10 of its other hands

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