Bill would raise boater fees in Maryland


Maryland boat owners could pay higher registration fees for the first time in nearly three decades, thanks to a bill filed last week that would replace the flat $24 boat registration fee paid every two years with fees ranging from $50 to $700, depending on the size of the boat.

The increases would be phased in over four years, beginning in October, for Maryland's 191,000 registered boat owners, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The money would go to replenish the state's Waterway Improvement Fund and pay for maritime safety efforts.

The measure is the latest fee increase that the administration of Gov. Martin O’Malley has proposed as the state looks to make up for lost revenue and maintain services in a weak economy. Other controversial proposals include O’Malley’s plan to increase the so-called “flush tax” on water use to pay for sewage treatment improvements and to extend the state's 6 percent sales tax to gasoline.

The state last attempt to increase boat registration fees in 2007, but the proposal died in committee.

“We're not doing this to create something new; we're doing this so that we can maintain what we have,” Department of Natural Resources boating services director Bob Gaudette said, citing the need to keep channels and boat ramps safe and reliable.

Under the plan, the registration for a boat under 16 feet would rise to $50 every two years by 2016. Registering a boat from 16 feet to 32 feet — the most popular size in Maryland — would cost $125. Vessels 32 to 45 feet would cost $250. Vessels 45 feet to 65 feet would cost $500. The registration fee for the approximately 52 yachts over 65 feet would be $700.

All of the new fees would be paid every two years.

In addition to the registration fees, state officials are seeking to raise the annual cost of a boat dealer license from $25 to $100. That fee was last changed in 1965.

Click here for the full article.


A Win for Gulf Reef Fish

The newly authorized DESCEND Act requires anglers to use descending gear when releasing catches in federal Gulf of Mexico waters.

Coast Guard Foundation Names Chairman

Thomas A. Allegretti will lead the non-profit’s board of directors.

In-Person Charleston Show Opens Friday

Under Covid-19 guidelines, the South Carolina boat show has a modified format for the safety of attendees and exhibitors.

Polaris Sees Q4 Surge

The powersports manufacturer had solid gains in every segment, with boat sales up 20 percent.

ABYC Updates Board

The group added a new member and elected several officers, including Nancy Cueroni as chairman.

Quick Hits: January 27, 2021

ICOMIA release its latest state of the industry report; one of the country’s largest waterjet cutting machines goes online at Maine’s Front Street Shipyard; and T-H Marine Supplies names a new national sales and marketing manager.

Changing Currents

E-mobility efforts remain centered outside of the U.S.

Q&A with Martin Bjuve

Volvo Penta of the Americas president and lifelong boater Martin Bjuve.

The Evolving Retail Culture

Finding new ways to connect with boaters.