Ohio joins RBFF boater registration program

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Watercraft will participate in the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation's Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program, which is aimed at increasing registration renewals.

Ohio is the second state to join the direct-mail effort that RBFF developed in partnership with the Oregon State Marine Board and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

"We know that boat registration renewals help support states' critical fish and wildlife programs and boating infrastructure," RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson said in a statement. "And we want lapsed boaters to understand that by simply getting back into boating they are directly supporting efforts to help preserve their waterways."

The program started in April 2009 when lapsed boaters in Oregon who had not renewed their registration since 2007 were sent direct-mail pieces reminding them of the importance of doing so.

The Oregon pilot program had an 8.5 percent response rate during the evaluation period and the agency received more than $20,000 in new revenue. The registration renewals also generated an estimated $25,000 for Oregon through state gasoline taxes and allocations from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.

Ohio will target its lapsed boaters with a similar program in late April.

RBFF is working to expand the pilot program into three additional states this year.