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RBOC, BoatUS Successfully Lobby State for Smaller Increase in Registration Fees

After proposing a 250% boat-registration-fee increase in March, the State of California has reduced its proposed hike to 100%, which would bring the cost of a two-year registration from $20 to $40, or $20 per year.

More than 4,000 people contacted California lawmakers asking for a more moderate increase in fees, according to the Recreational Boaters of California, or RBOC, who — along with BoatUS and a coalition of stakeholders — successfully lobbied the state government during recent budget negotiations for what the group called “a more responsible and fair boat registration fee increase.”

smaller increase in registration fees
Thanks to a chorus of voices from boaters, registration fees will see a  moderate increase in the near future.
© 2021 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Tim

“We appreciate the support from our partner BoatUS and our coalition partners to make the boaters’ voices heard in Sacramento,” said Winston Bumpus, RBOC’s president.

Boater-registration fees finance the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, or HWRF, which supports boating infrastructure, boater education and local boating law enforcement, as well as invasive species prevention programs. RBOC said that the 100%, $20 two-year increase “leads to a path that more equitably funds these programs.” The HWRF had been teetering on insolvency, and also was vulnerable to state “raiding” for beach restoration projects, according to RBOC. Through lobbying, the HWRF has been buoyed with more than $60 million in funding, and legislators included a provision “that would suspend transfers of HWRF funds to the public beach restoration fund,” the RBOC said in a press release.

“Advocacy works,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “Legislators clearly listened, and we thank them for understanding our needs.”

A final vote on the fee increase is expected in June; the new fees could go into effect before the end of the year.


  1. Dan Poelstra 2 months ago

    So, since they came down from 250%, we are supposed to be happy with “only” a 100% increase!
    Only in California!

    • Tim Henry 2 months ago

      Dan — That 100% increase comes out to $20 a year. Even we lowly writers can swing a 20-buck increase.

    • Dan Poelstra 2 months ago

      I get that it’s only $20 a year, plus the property tax, but that’s not the point. California is over taxed. Period. So in principle, I’m against any raising of any taxes and fees, but we are supposed to feel good about this because it’s “only” a 100% increase…
      What if the fees were already $100, or $400 rather than just $20?
      So the “only” $20 response misses the whole point and shows how they get this stuff through, and make us “feel good” about it being “only” a 100% increase.

    • Dan Poelstra 2 months ago

      Only $20 misses the point. It’s the principle that California is over taxed. Get some of the stupid spending under control and cut taxes. This is seen as a success story…I see it as caving…you got played. And sell us on the idea that we should be happy about it.

  2. Dan Poelstra 2 months ago

    Tim, you’re playing right into their game. We can afford it so we should just pay it? You missed my point and sell us on the idea we should be happy about it.

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