Oregon considers imposing fees on non-motorized boaters

SALEM, Oregon (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — The Oregon State Marine Board is asking lawmakers to consider implementing a non-motorized boating program that includes imposing fees on people who use sailboats, kayaks, rafts and other non-motorized watercraft on the state’s public waterways.

While non-motorized boating activities now equal or exceed motorized boating on the state’s waterways and on average account for half of the annual boating fatalities, Marine Board funding comes primarily from motorized boating activities and most programs are focused on meeting motorized needs, the board said.

The legislation, House Bill 2320, establishes a fee-based non-motorized boating program and a dedicated fund that provides grants to assist public agencies with the purchase, construction, renovation, expansion or development of non-motorized boating facilities. The fees paid by non-motorized boaters would be deposited in the new fund.

The program also helps fund contracts for marine patrols in areas with significant non-motorized use, helps pay for the removal of obstructions that are deemed a hazard to navigation and sets minimum standards for boating safety courses for non-motorized boat users.

Under the proposed legislation, a one-week permit for non-motorized boating would cost $4, an annual permit would cost $12 and a two-year permit would cost $20.

The Marine Board estimates the new fees would generate a little more than $2 million over the next two years.

The fees, proposed by House Bill 2320, would be in addition to the present $5 annual cost of the Invasive Species Program permit users of boats over 10 feet long must purchase to fund efforts to keep aquatic invasive species out of Oregon waterways and control those already established in state waters.

Information from The Associated Press and Oregon State Marine Board was used in this story.

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