BoatUS opposes North Carolina fee increases

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BoatUS urged boaters Tuesday to oppose a bill in the North Carolina legislature that it said would significantly increase registration fees on recreational boats to raise revenue for coastal dredging projects.

BoatUS said that although it is dedicated to preserving waterway access, it believes the bill places an unfair financial burden on recreational boaters while ignoring the responsibility of commercial fishing boats and for-hire charter fishing and head boats.

Under the legislation, BoatUS said, boaters who operate only on North Carolina’s lakes and rivers would pay for projects they will never use. BoatUS urged opposition to the bill as drafted, which it said is before the state Senate Finance Committee and could be heard at any time.

A report at said three Republican senators are sponsoring the bill, which would change the way the registration fees are structured.

They currently are $15 for one year and $40 for three years, regardless of the size of the boat. Under the new bill, the fees would be based on the lengths of the vessels.

The one-year registration fees would be as follows:

• Boats less than 14 feet long — $15

• Boats 14 to 19-feet long — $25

• Boats 20 to 25 feet long — $50

• Boats 26 to 40 feet long — $100

• Boats longer than 40 feet — $150

The three-year registration fees would be as follows:

• Boats less than 14 feet long — $45

•Boats 14 to 19 feet long — $75

• Boats 20 to 25 feet long — $150

• Boats 26 to 39 feet long — $300

• Boats longer than 40 feet — $450

“I think they should keep them the way they are,” Kevin O’Conner, who owns a 23-foot boat, told the TV station. “If they keep raising them, then people will stay off the water. It’s bad enough what you have to pay on fees. I enjoy taking my family out on the boat and if they keep increasing fees, it will be harder to do.”

Sponsors of the bill said shallow inlet dredging projects are an issue of statewide importance, as many travel to the coast for boating recreation. Lawmakers said the increased boat fees would generate $6 million every year to help keep “boat highways” clean.

Boat owner Bob Ethridge said he supports the higher boat fees. He said it would give owners of larger boats the ability to come and leave the inlets as they please.

“I think it is a great idea to raise the price,” Ethridge said. ”I don’t mind paying extra, as long as they take the tax and put it towards dredging.”

Boaters can click here to take action on the bill or go to and click on “Take Action.”


9 comments on “BoatUS opposes North Carolina fee increases

  1. Maak

    I hope that $35 a year will not be too much of an inconvinience to Mr. O’Conner. I wish my state had the funds todo more dredging, I can swing an extra $35 and more. We would all love something for nothing, and we can’t always expect our particular individual contribution to government spending to impact the individual directly. That’s not how a civilized society works, we’re all in this as a team.

  2. Paul

    Many of your “team” are boaters that use the waterway from out of state so they don’t pay but the little guy with the 15 ft Jon boat pays for dredging ??? Just wrong in so many ways . Put a tax on the fuel , that way those that use the waterway pay for that privilege .

    If the bill passes most of the big guys can then federally document their boat and the state will be out of it completely .

    I suspect the most of the boats using the problems areas are documented so they get a free ride. Another law to tax the little guy to help out the rich guys, way to go.

  3. Captain Bill

    Deepi These fees are less than have been paying in Miami, Florida for some time. Deeper water will help us all.

  4. Mark the Shark

    I wish we could pay those registration fees in Connecticut! Maybe I need to move to NC like my sister did, and get to where there is reason in politics. Try living under the Malloy regime. (An Obama want a be). We pay an increase of $7.50 for every foot after 15, ie 15 =22.50, 16 = 30.00, 17 = 37.50, on and on to give examples of the big boys, 25 = 97.50, 30 = 135.00, 35 = 172.50

  5. Capt Jim

    The key words to this are: ”I don’t mind paying extra, as long as they take the tax and put it towards dredging.” Only time will tell; but, most often, boat registration taxes get put into the general coffer.

  6. Paul

    You guys are missing the point it’s not about the cost , I don’t mind paying additional fees . But to tax the little guy that is never going to use it while other boaters that do use it but don’t pay because they are federally documented is wrong. The water way is federally managed , they have kicked the can to the states The state wants to tax some guy that uses his boat on a lake and never sees any benefit from the additional fees. A better way is to put an additional tax on waterway fuel.

  7. Bpante

    I like it. At least they are dredging. In Florida they just rased the fees and put it in the general funds. It is

  8. Richard Rylander

    I support increased registration fees for dredging costs, AS LONG AS, that is what the increase is used for. If it just goes into the states general budget then NO. That’s what goes on in CT. The Gov, and legislature goes wild thinking of ways to pass small TAX increases to increase the cookie jar for all agencies. Disgusting. The Carolina’s here I come.

  9. Ronald Price

    Yep!! This is BS!! Me and my little 16′ Jon have to pay $130 for 3 years but my friend with the 32′ only pays $20 more. He owns a business that pays his expenses while me and my little 16′ will never see the ocean and the fee doesn’t help any of my lakes!! Ohh BTW The dredging has not started on our outer banks yet!! WTG NC!! Where is this money really going? Ripping off the little guy once more. If I had a 32 footer I could afford to pay even more then the little guy with a 16 footer w/ a 25hp. I’m still blessed though!! God Bless the US.

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