An Exeter man's plan to start a boat tour business in town is still afloat – for now.
Keith Noyes, the Hampton Public Works director who has a boat captain's license, first proposed the idea earlier this year. It would be a commercial operation.
Exeter town officials, however, have expressed some reservations.
Noyes wants to use the town dock near Swasey Parkway. The dock is currently open only for recreational use.
"I'm concerned about mixing recreation and commercial use of the dock," Selectman Don Clement said this week. "I don't think it's a good mix."
Clement said he was concerned opening the dock to commercial uses could draw in more operations than the dock could accomodate.
Fellow Selectmen discussed the idea of a special waiver for Noyes. Town Manager Russ Dean said the waiver could open the door to potential lawsuits by others if they tried to set up a similar operation but were denied by the town.
Noyes' plan is to use a pontoon boat that would hold about a half-dozen people at a time. He said he would offer tours of the local ecosystem, and possibly run them during fall foliage season or during special events like the American Independence Festival. He said he would "adopt" the town dock and make improvements to make it stable.
"I want (the tours) to be enjoyable and educational," Noyes has said, adding it would be a part-time operation. "I'm not going to get rich off this."
He said the tours would be open to children and the elderly. He said he would make accomodations for people with disabilities.
Tickets for the tours would be about $30.
Town officials could vote on Noyes' plan in the fall.
If it's approved, Noyes said he would like to see his tour business up and running by the summer of 2013.