Boat owners heating up over proposed fee increase - | WBTV Charlotte

Boat owners heating up over proposed fee increase


Hitting the water is the way a lot of people like to unwind when the weather heats up.

But some boaters are getting heated up about the proposed fee increase for owning a boat. Robert Farris spends time boating on Lake Norman and the coast. He is trying to understand  both sides of the issue.

"Inlets definitely need to be maintained. There is no other way to do it, but dredge. And that cost money. We understand that somehow we have to generate money. So it's a necessary evil, however we just need to come up with a solution that's fair to everybody."

Dredging is necessity to keep open many of the shallow waterways on the coast. State Sen. Harry Brown explains why the increase is needed now.

"For years the federal government used to dredge these shallow draft inlets or give the state money to take care of them. Well, because of their budget problems, those dollars have pretty much gone away."

The fees now are $15 a year for all boats.

But under the new law, the fee would depend on the size of the boat.

A 19 ft. boat would increase to $25 a year. That's a $10  increase. And a 20-25 feet boat would increase to $50 a year. That's a $35 increase. And who doesn't like having a good time out on a pontoon boat? but it will cost you. An extra $85 a year.

And if you have one of the big boys here. Get ready to hand over an extra $135 a year.

Keith Harris has been selling boats near lake Norman for 23 years. He says the increase in boater fees will likely have an unintended consequences. "it takes away some of their pastime. It's less gas they can put in their boat. Just another added cost."

Sen. Brown says that coastal communities will have to match the state money dollar for dollar. He also says commercial boats will pay the same fee as recreational boats. And some of the money will be used on inland waterways.

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