TITLE XX
TRANSPORTATION

Chapter 233-A
ACCESS TO PUBLIC WATERS

Section 233-A:1

    233-A:1 Definitions. –
In this chapter:
I. "Board" means public water access advisory board established under this chapter.
II. "Department" means the fish and game department.
III. "Public access" means legal passage to any of the public waters of the state by way of designated contiguous land owned or controlled by a state agency, assuring that all members of the public shall have access to and use of the public waters for recreational purposes, as defined in RSA 271:20-a, I.
IV. "Public boat access area" means an area adjacent to a public body of water which is owned or controlled by the state, accessible to the public, and has been designated by the fish and game department as a boat launching area under the statewide public boat access program.
V. "Public bodies of water" means public waters as defined in RSA 271:20 and any impoundment of a stream, lake, pond, or tidal or marine waters of 10 acres or more, or any other body of water owned by the state or by a state agency or department.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:2

    233-A:2 Public Water Access Advisory Board. –
I. A public water access advisory board is hereby established. This board shall be composed of the following:
(a) The executive director of the fish and game department, or designee.
(b) The commissioner of the department of natural and cultural resources, or designee.
(c) The commissioner of the department of environmental services, or designee.
(d) The commissioner of the department of transportation, or designee.
(e) The commissioner of the department of safety, or designee.
(f) The director of the office of planning and development, or designee.
(g) Two members of the general public appointed by the governor and council for 3-year staggered terms, with one being designated as the chairperson. The first appointed member shall serve an initial 2-year term.
(h) Two senators, appointed by the president of the senate.
(i) Two house members, one from the resources, recreation and development committee and one from the wildlife and marine resources committee, appointed by the speaker of the house.
(j) A public member representing hunting interests, appointed by the governor and council.
(k) A public member representing fishing interests, appointed by the governor and council.
(l) A public member representing power boating interests, appointed by the governor and council.
(m) A public member representing a lakes association, appointed by the governor and council.
(n) A public member representing a rivers association, appointed by the governor and council.
(o) A person representing non-motorized boating interests, appointed by the governor and council.
(p) A member of the governor's commission on disability appointed by the governor and council.
(q) A public member representing coastal or marine interests, appointed by the governor and council.
II. The duties of the board shall be to:
(a) Advise and monitor state agency public access efforts including the statewide public boat access program.
(b) Coordinate activities of state agency public water access efforts.
(c) Serve as an advisory committee to the council on resources and development (CORD), alerting CORD to any potential problems which may inhibit state public water access efforts.
(d) Review agency project accomplishments at least annually.
(e) Recommend to the fish and game department, priorities for the siting and development of public boat access areas, based on the demands and needs for different types of public boat access areas and public water bodies giving consideration to any lists provided to the board by any associated groups or interested parties.
III. The board shall meet at least quarterly, but more often if necessary. The members shall serve without compensation, except that legislative members of the committee shall receive mileage at the legislative rate.
IV. The committee shall report annually to the speaker of the house, the senate president, and the appropriate house and senate oversight committees on state agency project accomplishments. The report shall include a list of existing public access points, and a target date for publication of all access points.
V. The fish and game department shall provide administrative support for the public access advisory board, including, but not limited to, a meeting room, meeting notification and postage.

Source. 1992, 265:2. 1995, 9:31. 2003, 319:9. 2004, 257:44. 2005, 159:1, eff. Aug. 20, 2005. 2017, 156:14, I, 64, eff. July 1, 2017. 2021, 91:198, eff. July 1, 2021.

Public Boat Access Program

Section 233-A:3

    233-A:3 New Hampshire Statewide Public Boat Access Program. – A program for the development of public water access areas for boating on public bodies of water is established. The goal of the program is the acquisition, construction, refurbishment, maintenance, and operation of new and existing public boat access areas.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:4

    233-A:4 Fish and Game Department. –
The fish and game department shall carry out the statewide public boat access program. The department shall in cooperation with the board:
I. Establish priorities for the siting and development of public boat access areas, based on the demands and needs for different types of public boat access areas and public water bodies, giving consideration to any list provided by the board, any associated groups, or interested parties.
II. Set standards of design and maintenance for public boat access areas and ensure that these standards are met.
III. Coordinate activities of state agencies in the development of boat access to public bodies of water.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:5

    233-A:5 Public Boat Access Area Facilities. – The facilities to be provided at public boat access areas on water bodies may include, but are not restricted to, boat launching ramps, launching sites where small boats or canoes may be placed in the water, trails leading to the water's edge, rest room facilities, parking, and such other types of facilities and amenities necessary to carry out the statewide public boat access program.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:6

    233-A:6 Design of Public Boat Access Areas. – The fish and game department shall prepare plans and designs for public boat access areas and related facilities. The plans and designs shall provide for adequate buffer areas.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:7

    233-A:7 Acquisition and Retention. – The fish and game department, in order to establish and improve public boat access areas, shall acquire and retain lands, easements, and interests or rights in land needed for the statewide public boat access program by donation, gift, purchase, lease, or condemnation upon terms and conditions that are consistent with state and federal guidelines. All newly acquired or constructed service roads included in the statewide public boat access program shall be laid out as limited access facilities under the provisions of RSA 230:45-47.

Source. 1992, 265:2. 2000, 24:2, eff. May 28, 2000.

Section 233-A:8

    233-A:8 Construction of Public Boat Access Areas. – The fish and game department shall supervise the construction, refurbishment, or expansion of public boat access areas. This construction may be done by the fish and game department, by other state agencies, political subdivisions or by private construction firms under contract to the fish and game department.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:9

    233-A:9 Maintenance and Operation of Public Boat Access Areas. – The fish and game department shall provide for the continuing maintenance and operation of public boat access areas, roads, and related facilities, including trash removal and cleanup. Maintenance and operation activities may be done by the fish and game department, by other state agencies, or by private firms or individuals, under contract to the fish and game department, or by arrangement with local municipalities or organizations, as considered advisable by the department. Moneys necessary to defray the costs of such maintenance and operation shall be a charge against the statewide public boat access fund established pursuant to RSA 233-A:13.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:10

    233-A:10 Public Boat Access Reports and Hearings. – The fish and game department shall, before starting any project in the statewide public boat access program, comply with all state and federal requirements. Public boat access needs that do not meet the criteria for the use of federal funds may be constructed, refurbished or expanded by use of private or donated funds. Upon receipt of such funds, the department shall deposit them in the statewide public boat access fund established pursuant to RSA 233-A:13. The fish and game department shall provide an annual report to the advisory board, the speaker of the house, the senate president and the governor.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:11

    233-A:11 Public Water Supply. – No public boat access area or privately owned or maintained boat access area shall be constructed to any public waters which serve as a public water supply for a public or private water utility company, without the approval of the department of environmental services, prior consultation with the public water access advisory board, as provided in RSA 485:23-a, and notification to the public utilities commission for any water utility under its jurisdiction.

Source. 1992, 265:2. 1996, 224:1, eff. Aug. 9, 1996.

Section 233-A:12

    233-A:12 Liability Limited. – The fish and game department or any other political subdivision of the state shall not be liable for damages for bodily injury, personal injury, or water property damage occurring on any public boat access area.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.

Section 233-A:13

    233-A:13 Statewide Public Boat Access Fund Established. – There is hereby established a nonlapsing statewide public boat access fund. The $5 boat registration surcharge collected pursuant to RSA 270-E:5, II(d) and any other public access funds donated to the state shall be placed in this fund. Funds received under this section are continually appropriated to the fish and game department for the purposes of the statewide public boat access program established under this chapter, except for sufficient funds which are hereby appropriated to the department of natural and cultural resources for payment of principal and interest on bonds and notes for the Mount Sunapee state park beach boat ramp project.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. 2019, 346:180, eff. July 1, 2019.

Section 233-A:14

    233-A:14 Rulemaking. – The executive director shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to implementation of the statewide public boat access program.

Source. 1992, 265:2, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.