Bill to increase boat fees drawing opposition

boat fees

Fishermen head out on Slocum Creek to enjoy a recent sunny day. A proposed bill in the General Assembly aims to increase boat registration fees, but some opposition is mounting.

Drew C. Wilson/Havelock News
Published: Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM.

A state bill that proposes a way to raise funds for inlet dredging has drawn opposition from the boaters who would pay the price.

The Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters, has issued an alert to members about the hefty increase in boat registration fees on the way in North Carolina if the legislation as drafted is adopted.

Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, introduced SB 58 last month to generate funds to support maintenance dredging of the state’s shallow-draft inlets. Revenue would come from increases in boat registration fees.

BoatUS isn’t contesting the need for funds for inlet dredging but says the bill as written places an unfair financial burden on recreational boaters.

"The big concern is that it is quite a drastic increase in the rates," said Nicole Palya Wood of the organization’s governmental affairs section.

Currently it costs $15 a year to register a boat with the state or $40 for a three-year period regardless of the vessel’s size.

The bill proposes a graduated system with the amount of the fee going up as the size of the boat increases.

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