Boaters will want to keep an eye on the state General Assembly for activity related to a vessel registration bill.
Senate Bill 58, with the short title “Increase Funding for Dredging,” would raise registration fees significantly in order to fund dredging of coastal shallow-draft inlets. The new fees would be based on the length of the vessel.
The current fee of $15 per year or $40 for three years for a vessel identification number would remain unchanged for a vessel less than 14 feet in length.
Other fees would rise to $25 per year for a vessel longer than 14 but less than 20 feet; $50 for 20 to less than 26 feet; $100 for 26 feet to less than 40; and $150 for a vessel 40 feet or longer.
Three-year rates would be triple the annual fee, with no multiyear discount.
The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, which administers boating fees, would spend $3 of each annual fee ($9 of each three-year fee) for “boating access area acquisition, development, and maintenance.”
Most of the remaining money would go to fund dredging projects. That section of the bill reads: “The Commission shall transfer on a quarterly basis at least fifty percent (50%) of each one-year certificate of number fee and at least fifty percent (50%) of each three-year certificate of number fee collected under the numbering provisions of G.S. 75A-5 to the Shallow Draft Inlet Dredging Fund established by G.S. 143-215.73F.”
A provision in the bill would require local governments to match state funding for any dredging project.
Sen. Harry Brown, from Onslow County, is the primary sponsor, with co-sponsor Sen. Norman Sanderson of Carteret, Pamlico and Craven. An Agriculture, Environment, Natural Resources Committee substitute of the bill was adopted Tuesday.
Follow the bill at www.ncleg.net.
Cape Carteret meeting Thursday: The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries will hold a meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to explain management measures that will take effect this month to reduce conflicts between fishermen using nets at night and residents in Cape Carteret.
Open to the public, the meeting will be held the division’s Central District Office, 5285 U.S. 70 West, Morehead City.
Contact the Marine Fisheries Commission office at 252-808-8022.
Climb postponed: Snow and ice forced postponement of this past Saturday’s Climbin’ the Chimney climbing and rappelling charity benefit at Chimney Rock State Park in Rutherford County. A new date will be announced.
Young writers compete: Entries are due March 15 for the Outdoor Writers Association of America’s Norm Strung Youth Writing Awards contest, which offers $1,700 in cash prizes for writers in grades 6-12. Learn more at www.owaa.org/programs, or call 406-728-7434.
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