What Ideas Do Boaters Have about Registration Fees?

In preparation for the 2015 Legislative Session, the agency held public meetings in May and June of 2014 to share the agency’s current budget with boaters and hear what ideas boaters have about the agency’s existing services.  A significant shortfall is on the horizon and the agency has taken measures over the last several years to leverage funding, streamline operations, and eliminate advertising/marketing and producing print publications.  But more steps are needed.  It’s been 12 years since the agency raised fees.  The costs for contracting for law enforcement services, materials for boat ramps, restrooms and other facility improvements is increasing.  Along with inflation and other economic factors, the Marine Board is looking at reducing programs, eliminating positions and raising fees to registered boat owners.

Here’s what’s being presented to boaters during the statewide public meetings, that better describe our existing budget, boating trends, existing services, and a discussion-started for fees.  Director Brewen explains what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and how YOU get to help determine what get’s presented to the Marine Board…and onward to the Legislature.  No decisions have been made…

Marine Board’s Budget Presentation 

Here are some of the comments (summarized) from boaters who’ve attended the Marine Board’s budget discussions:


Members from the Columbia River Yachting Association (CRYA) in Portland:

  • No concerns expressed about a variable fee option;
  • Interested in seeing a non-motorized fee included


  • This is a two-year fee.  When thinking in terms of a boating season, the cost per year, even with a fee increase is still minimal.


  • The Marine Board needs to include non-motorized boaters for fees since they use the boat ramps and restrooms too.
  • Launch fees -there should be a single card or system put in place so you don’t have to pay a different fee to launch from site to site.
  • Suggested a reduced registration option that allows for boaters to purchase a decal for multiple biennia as an incentive to keeping the registration current.
  • Include propulsion as a fee option.  The horse power should be considered.  Higher HP, higher fee.
  • Consider a boat value comparison -excise tax similar to WA.
  • Flat fee…increase the flat fee by a small amount this time around, then include the non-motorized boaters for the next biennium.

Would you like to share your thoughts/ideas with Marine Board via email vs. the blog?  Try the form below and we’ll make sure your comments are added.


3 thoughts on “What Ideas Do Boaters Have about Registration Fees?

  1. Thank you for your comment, Victor. Though we are a separate agency from ODFW, we fully understand the impact their fee increases have on recreation, and we’ve come to a place where we cannot delay one of our own. The cost of materials and supplies for boating facilties is up, fuel costs are up, the cost of personal service contracts are up, and with fuel use declining and more fuel-efficient motors, our federal fule tax revenues are down, which makes up over 30% of our budget. We’ve cut publications, advertising, boating safety campaigns, internal positions, and streamlined all of our business operations to make up for budget gaps over the last 10 years. It’s been 12 years since our last fee increase. The Legislature still needs to approve a fee increase, which is not likely. If a fee increase is not approved, we will be forced to cut services in the form of law enforcement and boating facilities -which is the gateway to the water. We would also eliminate programs within the agency. Also of note, we do not collect any general fund dollars and are self-supporting through our fees. Parking or launch fees, as well as boating citations charges do not come back to us, either. Parking/launch fees go to the facility provider to maintain the site, and boating citation charges go into the state’s general fund for education.


  2. Fishing has long been a hobby of mine because I could afford it. That was no longer true when the fees breached $20 fo a basic angling license and now it is over $50 total for angling and harvest tag. That is not including shellfish or the invasive species permit. The 10 ft rule is a good boundary to adopt. People using inner tubes and pool toys on the river should not be discouraged from graduating to a boat and learning safer paddling skills. These toys combined with a lack of life jackets and a surplus of alcohol represent a majority of the accidents on whitewater rivers. Neither should there be laws against this activity; Whitewater recreation deaths represent less than 3.5 deaths per 100,000 and in comparison driving a car is over 17 per 100,000. This information has been gleaned from reports available at americanwhiter.org, americancanoe.org and a paddling safety expert by the name of Charlie Walbridge.


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