Boating Registration Fees Going Up in Wakulla County

The county is considering increasing boat registration fees. A peaceful ride on the Wakulla River is what customers at the TnT hideaway are looking for, but when boat season picks up, owner Jacki Youngstrand says the waterway looks like a speedway. It's a problem that escalates come springtime.

The Sheriff's Office thinks it has a solution currently only one marine unit patrols four rivers and 80 miles of coastline, but with a proposed ordinance to increase boater registration fees the unit could get the tools it needs to keep the peace.

The ordinance only applies to boat owners who already pay about $10.50 per year. If this goes through the next time they come here, they'd be forking over another $5.25.

The idea bodes well for locals like Joe Lawson who's been battling crab thieves for years on the water.

“I have a lot of problems out here with crab theft, so yeah, it wouldn't be a bad thing,” Joe says.

Still some say a 50-percent hike for local boaters is too much too fast. They'd like to have more options. Wakulla County Commissioner Mike Stewart is against the fee increase, saying it puts the burden on locals when more visitors use the waterways.

The Sheriff's Office says this is just preliminary and it will look into all possible ways of funding its marine unit.