Apparently the Maine legislature is considering a $10.00 registration fee for kayaks and canoes. See http://pressherald.mainetoday.com/news/statehouse/050322boatfees.shtml?survey7390 As an avid paddler, kayak shop owner, and member of the Maine Association of Sea Kayak Guides and Instructors (MASKGI), I have a few questions. Very little detail about what is being proposed is available. I’d appreciate if folks from other states that already have this kind of tax could enlighten me on the following:
- Does a kayak need to be registered if it only sits in my yard? (I assume not. Please tell me if I’m wrong.)
If the registration is paid therefore not on the item but on its “use”, that seems to open up a slew of questions:
- Does a kayak need to be registered if I use it only on a pond or lake that has no public access?
- Does a kayak need to be registered if it is used only in the ocean? (IF&W has no jurisdiction there, I assume).
- If the answer to #3 is no, then what about the grey areas? Estuaries? Salt water bays? How far up a river may I paddle before I am in violation if I do not register my kayak?
- What about the St. John River (shared border with Canada? Lake Umbagog? Shared border with New Hampshire? If my paddle trip originates in New Hampshire, do I need a Maine registration to paddle across into Maine?
- Do these regulations refer only to bodies of water in their liquid form? Can I drag my kayak across a frozen lake in the wintertime without registration? Or do I need registration for that too?
- And how do we define kayaks and canoes anyway? If I keep a sail rig aboard my kayak (I do own one) can I claim its a sailboat and be exempt? Or perhaps I could keep a pair of oars aboard and claim it’s a rowboat and therefore be exempt? Simon River Sports makes a product that converts a windsurfboard to a “kayak.” http://www.simonriversports.com/english/products_kayakit.html Does this “unit” now need to be registered as well?
- How will this be enforced?
- Will owners of classy homemade woodstrip kayaks be required to put an ugly sticker across their bows?
- Speaking of ugly stickers, have they come up with and adhesive that will adhere to plastic over the course of Maine summer, enduring salt water, sun, rocks, you name it?
Sorry for the rant (sort of). But this just seems like one more intrusion into the sport we love? To make it worse, apparently the legislature also wants to tax “hikers” as well. (Maybe if I’m mountain biking or pogo-sticking or riding a unicyle, I won’t be taxed.)