NMMA says the fund would be used to increase and improve non-motorise access as well as educational programs.

The Oregon Joint Committee on Natural Resources has passed Senate Bill 47, which would create a new access permit for non-motorised vessels that incorporates the State’s aquatic invasive species permit and broadens its use by creating a waterway access fund.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association (NMMA), the fund would be used to increase and improve non-motorise access as well as educational programs. NMMA supports the measure and provided written testimony, submitted by Vice President of State Government Relations, David Dickerson, which states in part: “Paddlers deserve dedicated launch facilities, safety education tailored to their needs, waterway trails and other opportunities to enjoy time on the water with their canoes and kayaks.”

The testimony recognised the need for a self-funding mechanism.

“However, paddlers’ needs will go unmet until they have a way to pay into a fund dedicated to their sport. As importantly, the funding mechanism included in SB 47 allows these boaters to meet their obligation to help pay for the cost of services from the Oregon State Marine Board and other state agencies. Demand for on-water policing and rescue have risen dramatically in Oregon, as it has in every other state. The current situation is unsustainable and diverts resources supported by fuel taxes, fees and other revenue from power boaters and sailors.”

The bill now moves to the full State Senate for consideration.

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