Maj. Tim Acerno: (603) 271-3129
CO Chip Joseph: (603) 271-3361
April 22, 2005
Snowmobile Skimmers Fined
CONCORD, N.H. - Four snowmobilers apprehended for illegal "skimming" over open water pled guilty and were fined in Southern Carroll County District Court on April 18.
Three men were arrested for an incident involving skimming over open water on Mirror Lake in Tuftonboro on March 20. Steve Smart, age 21, of Wolfeboro, had gone through the ice and sunk his snow machine. The incident was his second skimming offense this year, and he was assessed a $900 fine. Chris Pelletier, age 33, of Wolfeboro; and John Goodrich, age 22, of Tuftonboro; were also convicted of operating snow machines over open water in the same incident. This was the first offense for Pelletier and Goodrich, and they were each fined $600.
In a separate incident that took place on March 27, John Carvalho, age 34, of Gilford, was convicted of skimming in front of the docks in Wolfeboro. His snow machine sank during the skimming episode, and had to be retrieved by divers at Carvalho's expense. The District Court fined Carvalho $600 for the skimming violation.
"Skimming across open water is illegal and will not be tolerated," said Conservation Officer Chip Joseph of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. "The court system is taking this offense very seriously, in part because they don't want to see conservation officers or firefighters lose their lives while rescuing people involved in this illegal activity."
Fish and Game's District 2 Conservation Officers have been diligent about prosecuting skimming violations this winter, according to Joseph. Among other places, they have kept a close watch on the Weirs Channel in Laconia, Governor's Island Bridge in Gilford, the docks in Wolfeboro and locations in Mountonborough. More than a dozen skimmers have been apprehended this year.
As of January 1, 2005, the dangerous practice of operating snowmobiles on open water, also known as skimming, has been illegal in New Hampshire. "Open water" refers to any area of an inland water body that is free of ice and snow. The only exception are special events authorized by permit.
"The new law against skimming will save lives. It's as simple as that," said Maj. Timothy Acerno, who oversees the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department's Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle (OHRV) Education Program.