The nation’s largest recreational boat owners advocacy, services and safety group Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), and the nonprofit state advocacy organization Recreational Boaters of California (RBOC), are asking Golden State boat owners to speak up on a recently proposed 300% boat registration fee increase outlined in Governor Newsom’s 2024 budget.
“Most citizens can understand, over time, the need for modest increases in government fee structures,” said David Kennedy, BoatUS manager of Government Relations. “However, BoatUS and RBOC do not believe such a significant increase is justified by the administration. We are asking the state’s boat owners to reach out to their state legislators to request they reject this proposal and engage with boating stakeholders to develop realistic boat registration fees that are dedicated to boating programs.”
The two groups along with other recreational boating stakeholders have been engaged in a two-year process to review the state's boating programs. While a modest increase was anticipated, there was some expectation that the state would recognize the significant contribution boaters already make, such as $107 million in annual motor fuel taxes.
The organizations are also concerned that under the proposal, the fee increase would not go to boating programs and services including boater education and operator certification, safety and enforcement on the waterways.
According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the average California boat owner has an income of less than $70,000.
Boaters can easily contact their state representatives at the BoatUS online Action Center (votervoice.net) using a prefilled form or by adding their own views. Read more about this issue at the RBOC call-to-action website.