Originally Posted by Mike Harvey
I can see that I am late to this debate, but I have been trying to understand the implications of this Bill. I am now wondering why private boaters are supporting 1188?
The better question is why all boaters wouldn't support the bill. In a perfect world the bill would be completely unnecessary (my reading of federal law regarding navigability and public trust doctrine tells me it should be unnecessary, but this would be a simple straightforward bill that clarifies part of the issue), but in an imperfect world we should start with what's being offered.
The bill is very simple. It makes it clear that the property owner has no cause of action against some of the people who might boat through their property. It does absolutely nothing to change any other rights. Private boaters will neither gain nor lose anything. The only people who lose if the bill passes are the landowners who want to keep boaters out.
A good strategy to defeat an opponent is to divide and conquer. I don't know if that's already part of the strategy of Jackson Shaw or any other opponents of boating, but you and others are voluntarily dividing the proponents of boating access into smaller and weaker groups. Another way to defeat an opponent is to gain allies to increase your power. The opponents are portraying this as a violation of their private property rights, but it will only affect a few property owners and any effect will be from only a few commercial boaters. The reasons to oppose the bill are if you're among those few property owners directly affected, or on general principle about property rights. Make this bill apply to all of the waters of the state, and all of the boaters (which will include all of the drunken tubers), and you should expect far more people to jump on the general principle bus.
So who loses if the bill fails? Obviously Jackson Shaw will claim a victory, and pursue the commercial rafters who won't have a clear and obvious "get out of jail free" card, but they'll also be at least as able to pursue private boaters. It's a pretty safe bet that they'll argue that the bill's failure shows that the legislature believes that your passage across their property constitutes trespass. If they can get you arrested for criminal trespass they won't even have to pay to prosecute you. Potentially you'll lose just as much as the commercial boaters.
You may think the bill doesn't offer you any immediate and obvious personal benefit, but as a boater you've at least gotten your foot in the door.