Budget raises boat fees

Posted July 22, 2013

— The state's recreational boaters will be paying higher registration fees every year in order to keep coastal waterways and some interior lakes dredged. 

Boats up to 25 feet long will pay a $30 annual registration fee, up from the current rate of a $15 flat fee for all boats. Boats 26 feet and longer will pay a $50 per year fee. The state will also dedicate more than $2 million per year from money raised by the state's motor fuels tax to the "Shallow Draft Navigation Channel and Lake Dredging Fund." According to fiscal reports done earlier this year, the gas tax money and new boat fees could raise around $6 million total. 

Sailboats and paddled vessels, like canoes and kayaks, would continue to be exempt from the fee. Earlier version of the bill would have raised fees as high as $150 per year for some boats.

As this provision and a related bill were originally drafted, it would have applied only to coastal waterways used by small vessels to get to and from the Atlantic. Those waterways will include the "Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and its side channels, Beaufort Harbor, Bogue Inlet, Carolina Beach Inlet, the channel from Back Sound to Lookout Back, channels connected to federal navigation channels, Lockwoods Folly River, Manteo/Shallowbag Bay, including Oregon Inlet, Masonboro Inlet, New River, New Topsail Inlet, Rodanthe, Rollinson, Shallotte River, Silver Lake Harbor, and the waterway connecting Pamlico Sound and Beaufort Harbor."

The budget added interior lakes as places eligible for dredging assistance as well. 

"The House was concerned that we would include the dredging of lakes as well," Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, said Monday.


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  • research9 Jul 24, 2013

    travisnobles - I get your pain, but I think there are many more coastal boats than there are inland boats, so it makes sense to make a blanket fee. There are also a lot of us that use our boats for both, also. I do agree that Jordan lake could use some cleaning up though!

  • research9 Jul 24, 2013

    Makes sense to me. I'll gladly pay $15 more a year to have my path to Cape Lookout dredged. I also wouldn't mind if they used the money to clean up Jordan Lake. The people who benefit from the dredging should pay for the dredging, sounds like sound fiscal policy to me.

  • 68_dodge_polara Jul 23, 2013

    "So income gets taxed at a flat rate but boats get a tiered system?"

    Yes, sounds good. Generally speaking the larger the boat the deeper the draft the deeper the dredging is necessary for it. If this doesn't sound fair maybe it can be changed to the current value of the boat like property taxes.

  • travisnobles Jul 23, 2013

    Zonk, what about those of us who don't have a boat at the coast? There are far more inland boats that never see the Intercoastal or Atlantic ocean. I am sure that the portion of this bill that touts "Lake dredging" is meant to encompass our fees. I have lived in the Raleigh area for 30+ years and have yet to see any lake dredging at Falls, Jordan or Harris. If you read the original bill, this was sponsored by a the Rep. from Jacksonville, NC to help his fishing buddies. The money that they expect to raise just happens to be the amount the Federal Gov't is removing from its Coastal Dredging assistance to NC. So, my question for the General Assembly is simple: When are you going to allow the Army Corps of Engineers to dredge out Jordan to remove all the trees that are lurking about 1 foot below the surface between Farrington Road and Crosswinds Marina?

  • zonk Jul 22, 2013

    This is good legislation. If you have a boat on the coast you know what I mean.

  • Ears to the Ground Jul 22, 2013

    So income gets taxed at a flat rate but boats get a tiered system?

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Jul 22, 2013

    Thanks GOP. License fees are next. Those big tax breaks for the top 20% sure are expensive.