SOUTHWICK – At the annual town meeting on May 16, residents voted on a warrant article that would ask the town to accept a Chapter 75 bylaw for personal watercraft use on the North Pond section of Congamond Lake.
After the floor was open to discuss the article, Southwick residents Ken Plumlee and Paul Murphy made a motion to amend the Chapter 75 bylaw in order to prohibit the use of jet skis on North Pond. The amendment passed by the voting residents and now jet skis will not be allowed on North Pond.
Despite that, there is a specific process to follow through Massachusetts law before the amendment can officially be in effect. On June 1, Southwick Town Clerk Michelle Hill sent the amendment to the attorney general’s office and they now have 60 days to either approve or disapprove the bylaw. If it does happen to be approved by the attorney general’s office, the town of Southwick will have 90 days to post the bylaw. Any potential changes or additions to the bylaw can’t go into effect until after the 90-day period.
While the amendment is being reviewed at the attorney general’s office, town officials want the public to be aware that there will not be a prohibition of jet skis on North Pond until the bylaw is approved and posted by the town clerk. Currently, it will be legal for an individual to take their personal watercraft onto North Pond. Although, Select Board Vice-Chairman Doug Moglin wants to remind the public that this in no way means that there won’t be any rules regarding jet skis on North Pond.
“There’s plenty of laws regarding general boating safety and reckless endangerment,” said Moglin.
Personal watercraft users will still have to go through North Pond at six miles per hour, which is considered the maximum speed that someone can operate their jet ski in that particular area. Any unsafe or reckless actions on a jet ski will result in citations from the police.