Upcoming Boat Fee Changes - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Upcoming Boat Fee Changes

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is making some changes to boating registrations, titles and fees associated with water usage stamps. 

Watercraft that are under 22-feet in length will no longer require a title. Plus those who own kayaks, canoes or paddle boards will no longer have to buy a water usage stamp. 

Local fisherman are divided on the issue. Some say they don't mind paying the fees, while others say it can be a financial burden.

Carbondale resident and fisherman Bob Drone has spent years out on the lake, "I own this one, which is a 15-foot Sprite with a motor, and a 10-foot Ouachita that I throw in the back of the pick up if I'm not going to use the motor."

Drone had to pay for the title on his motor boat and a water usage stamp fee for his Jon Boat, but thinks the costs were reasonable, "I don't mind the water usage fee because they have not been raised much in recent years." 

Currently, boats that are less than 16 feet must pay $28 for a title, and those 16-to-26 feet cost $60. While, a water usage stamp is $6 per year. 

Prices, fisherman Kenneth Taylor, thinks are too high. 

"My boat is 20-years-old," Taylor said.  "I bought it when I was still working. You know, a lot of people they can't afford all that stuff." 

Taylor welcomes the title waivers for boats 22 feet and under, as well as, the water usage stamp, "Its unnecessary they come out here, figure they do their paddlin' and they earn their right, right there." 

In 2017, water usage stamps brought in around $500,000 for Illinois. Money, that Taylor and Drone both agree, the state won't miss.

"From what they waste, I don't think it will matter one way or another,"Taylor said. 

While Drone thinks the fees are too small to affect Illinois, "The watercraft usage fees hurting the state, I think it will just be a drop in the bucket."


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