The Washington State Parks Department, which operates 40 heavily used marine parks despite being the ragged stepchild of government, will raise moorage fees January 1.
The daily fee for tying up at fixed docks and on floating docks not attached to shore will increase from 60 cents a foot to 70 cents, with a minimum charge of $20.
Hooking onto a buoy will cost $15 a night, regardless of boat size, up from $12. A yearly pass allowing unlimited moorage will cost $5 per foot, up from $4. The minimum pass charge will be $60.
Moorage fees last were increased in 2012.
There is no charge for anchoring in state marine parks.
The state says its park mooring system is the largest in the nation
, with more than 8,500 feet of dock space and hundreds of mooring buoys and a few linear mooring systems.
In the state’s 2007-2009 budget the entire park system received $94 million in tax funds. Facing a financial crisis common to all governments, the state legislature created a park admission fee of $30 a year (or $10 for a single day visit) and reduced tax support to $14 million for the current budget. Revenues fell far short of estimates, forcing other service cuts.
Parks supporters will seek additional general fund tax funds when the state Legislature convenes in January to develop a budget for the next two years. A task force appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to address park financing has recommended additional tax funding, but also has said the entry fee should be continued until permanent funding is approved.
Boat owners pay a registration fee annually of .05 per cent of the depreciated value of their craft. The revenue goes into the state’s general fund. Boating groups have campaigned, with little success, to have some of the revenue reserved for marine parks. Boaters argue the tax also is unfair because a citizens’ initiative several years ago removed a similar tax on all cars and trucks, including recreational vehicles.