Your boating tax dollars back at workNews and updates from the editors of BoatUS Trailering
Published: Fall 2012
After nearly three years of temporary measures that kept the money from flowing to state boating programs, Congress finally reauthorized the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund on June 29, with only hours to spare. The trust fund, quite literally boaters’ tax dollars at work, generates about $650 million annually through the federal excise taxes that boaters and anglers pay on motorboat fuel and fishing tackle. About $52 million of that go directly to the states to build and maintain launching ramps plus parking areas, courtesy docks, marina slips, and moorings.
Like most federal programs, though, Congress must renew the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund every few years, and BoatUS has successfully defended it through six congressional reauthorization periods over three decades. This time, however, it became mired in contentious and unrelated congressional negotiations over much larger transportation spending legislation, known as “The Highway Bill,” to which the trust fund is attached.“Advocating on behalf of boaters in Washington is a continuing process,” says BoatU.S. President Margaret Podlich, “and our Government Affairs team is already planning a strategy.
More Inspections, Less Inspectors
In an effort to keep invasives out of Minneapolis lakes, the city’s Board of Parks and Recreation says boats have to be inspected prior to being launched on Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis. Some boaters are upset about the move because the boat ramps will be chained off when inspectors aren’t available. While the hours are from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, they’re only from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, meaning no afternoon boating during the week.
Boat Ramp Rehab
A pair of Florida boat ramps are getting some much-needed attention. Galvez Boat Ramp at Innerarity Point and the Navy Point ramp on Bayou Grande were the go-to places to launch boats that removed oil and moved oil booms during the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The cost is being borne by BP as part of a $1-billion settlement to restore areas most affected by the oil spill.
Here Comes The Sun
With fuel prices remaining unstable, there’s a new idea out there. Last May, the Solar Star 23 traveled the 363-mile Erie Canal from Buffalo to Albany, New York, using only solar power. At about the same time, the 102-foot MS Turanor with 38,000 photovoltaic cells completed its 585-day trip around the world using only solar energy.
Eating The invaders
Every summer, the Taste of Chicago festival features lots of food, and this summer was no different except for the state DNR offering Asian carp — for free. The invasive species, which has been the bane of Great Lakes watchers for years because of fears it could destroy the sportfish population if it gets into the lakes, was a hit with those having a taste. Flavored with olive oil and lemon zest and served with a tomato- jalapeño sauce, the delicacy was prepared by Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop, which sells the invasive fish at its nearby store.
For recipes on Asian carp, see http://www.boatus.com/magazine/2011/august/aliens.asp
Colorado’s Horsetooth Reservoir was ground zero for the huge wildfire that burned more than 100 square miles of forest acres and destroyed 189 homes recently. A boat ramp on Horsetooth Reservoir was closed to allow helicopters room to use the boating basin as a source of water to fight the fire. This was the largest forest fire in Colorado’s history, but the Full Moon Bass Tournament opened as scheduled in July for 100 anglers after an “all clear” was given by Colorado firefighters.
Just Ad Water
An advertising executive sees the potential for sales amid the sails on Lake Huron and Lake Washington in Washington state. Darren Bruce says there’s a future for floating billboards for clients wanting to reach the boating public. Seattle police tell KING-TV there’s really no law against an ad on the water. But the state department of Transportation says the idea is going to have “jurisdictional problems.” Translation: Floating billboards have sunk.
Want to see something cool at the boat shows this winter? Regulator has plans to display Queen Bee at a few shows this season. For those who haven’t heard, Queen Bee is the wonder boat that turned up on the Spanish coast in January. In August, 2008, Rich St. Pierre and his brother-in-laws Scott Douglas planned to go fishing off the coast of Nantucket. The weather turned bad and a 6-foot breaking rogue wave washed them both off the 26-foot center-console Regulator boat named Queen Bee. Unable to get back onboard, they watched their boat slowly move farther away so, with no choice, both swam a mile or so back to shore. Then, this year the U.S. Coast Guard received a call a 26-foot boat had washed up on the shore in Spain with the word “Nantucket” on the transom. Yep, it’s the same boat.
A Shrinkwrap Option
Source: BoatUS Foundation
Replace your shrinkwrap with a reusable winter cover and save $$$$$
For years the BoatUS Foundation has been encouraging boaters to recycle the shrinkwrap used to protect their boat over the winter, but it has become more challenging because a few of the major recyclers are no longer accepting boat shrinkwrap. Vinyl strapping, if not removed, can foul their batches, leaving recyclers with a headache.
With recycling shrinkwrap becoming more difficult, using a reusable boat cover each winter can greatly reduce the amount of trash entering our landfills. But there are more benefits to reusable covers than just the environment. Boat covers allow air flow while still protecting from the elements, which reduces the threat of mold and mildew. Also, boat covers don’t require professionals to install; you can do it yourself and without the need for any equipment (especially heating tools that could damage your boat if used incorrectly).
Many people assume a canvas or other type of reusable cover is more expensive, but that isn't necessarily so. Costs for shrinkwrap and covers vary depending on location and company, but here is an average breakdown of some of the options available, using a 24-foot boat as an example.
Professionally installed shrinkwrap: Average price per foot is $10-$14 and does not typically include removal and disposal of the shrinkwrap. The average charge for removal is around $3 per foot. This cost covers one winter of boat protection. For our 24-footer, that’s between $312 and $408.
DIY shrinkwrap: Initial costs for the first season could be $850 or more. This cost includes the purchase of the shrinkwrap (which will likely be enough to cover your boat for multiple seasons), the heating tools, tape, and vents.
Winter boat covers: These start at around $346 but cost more for our 24-foot boat. There are hundreds of different types of winter covers: from custom covers that extend below the waterline to basic covers that can be used year round. The type of material used for the cover can vary as well, from the standard canvas we all know to polyester and acrylic versions. Boat covers can be used season after season. Many can be purchased with warranties and can be repaired if damage occurs or altered if you add any accessories such as towers or T-tops.
So this year when you are preparing your boat for the winter, consider a reusable cover, or if using shrinkwrap, investigate your recycling options. Keeping plastic out of landfills is always a good thing.
Are you a freshwater or near coatsal fisherman?
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