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DEP to allow electric trolling motors while fishing

January 16, 2013

CANNONSVILLE RESERVOIR, NY — The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced a new, one-year pilot program, beginning in April, that will allow electric trolling motors for permitted boats fishing at Cannonsville Reservoir. This move follows last year’s expansion of recreational boating, and it marks the first time motorized boats for fishing will be allowed on any of DEP’s upstate reservoirs.

Water quality monitoring during the four-year recreational boating pilot revealed that the regulations put in place, including mandated steam cleaning of boats, led to no negative effects to water quality and no indication of invasive species in the reservoirs. Electric trolling motors are powered by a sealed, marine-grade battery and do not use gasoline or oil that could degrade the water supply. DEP will continue to monitor water quality to ensure no impacts are seen.

“More than nine million New Yorkers, or nearly half the state’s population, rely on these reservoirs for their daily drinking water needs so we have closely monitored the recreational boating program and will continue to do so this year with the introduction of electric motors,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland. “Working with our local partners we would like to responsibly expand recreational boating, which has proven to strengthen local economies by attracting even more visitors to watershed communities.”

To be eligible for the program, electric trolling motors must not exceed 55 pounds of thrust, and their batteries cannot exceed 12 volts. The motors must use marine-grade batteries that are sealed, and they must be affixed to the boat to prevent them from falling into the reservoir. Trolling motors are to be used only for fishing, and only in conjunction with rowboats and jon boats. While the trolling motors may be stored along with the boats at the reservoir, the batteries must be removed at the end of each day. New York State laws for trolling motors will also apply, including the requirement that users have a whistle, a hand lantern and an anchor on board.

For additional guidelines, see www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/13-003pr.shtml.