Maine - Here we go again.

Wow, these Mainiacs just won't quit!!

$19.00 fee for the "operator" of the canoe or kayak. Can we assume that the sternman is the "operator" or does the bowman need to be licensed also?

So much for our Maine canoe trips.
Operate this!

That's pathetic. Let me guess, $79 for out of state. :mad:
To follow, a fee for each paddler and a surcharge for passengers. Who thinks of this stuff?
The Bangor Daily News is now taking a poll: " Do you think canoeing and kayaking should require a license?" At present, the results are: Yes -- 229 votes (9%) No -- 2205 votes (91%)

The poll is part of the story reached in Fitz's link -- -- I encourage all to participate in the poll. It would probably be useful to call the poll and its results to members of the Maine legislature.

The following are the email addresses of the bill sponsor and various legislative leaders -- I suggest you express your opinion of LD 262 to them:

The status of the bill can be tracked at:

Here are a few thoughts and questions I have about this ill-advised, counterproductive bill:

I am writing to oppose LD 626 -- an ill-advised, counterproductive and very unpopular bill to charge a $19 fee to anyone who "operates" a canoe or rowboat in Maine. See Bangor Daily News Poll -- " Do you think canoeing and kayaking should require a license?" At present, the results are: Yes 229 votes (9%) No 2205 votes (91%) -- at

I own a house (not just a camp) in Dover-Foxcroft, on which I pay taxes. I spend a substantial amount of time in Dover-Foxcroft, though I reside in the state of New York, and I spend a fair amount of money maintaining that house as well as spending on groceries, entertainment (including out-of-door activities such as canoeing, hiking, skiing) clothing, and the like, all of which goes to support the Maine economy (and indirectly through taxes, the Maine government).

Guests from out of Maine visit us from time to time, and one of the ways we enjoy Maine together is by a little bit of canoeing -- but if LD 626 passes, each of my guests will have to take the trouble to get a license and spend $19 for that license, just for an afternoon of paddling.

When people camp at Peaks-Kenny park, are they expected to pay an additional $19 per person if they rent one of the park's canoes for an afternoon?

Are visitors to Maine (or even Maine residents who do not usually canoe) who rent from one of the canoe liveries on the Kennebec or other Maine rivers expected to pay an additional $19 per day for a one trip down the river in a rental boat?

Who or what is the operator of a canoe, anyway -- the owner? every counselor at a summer camp? a canoe livery? every renter at a livery? if two adults are paddling, are both operators?

How will this be enforced, and by whom? Don't Maine's few wardens have enough to do already with enforcing fish and game laws and existing boating regulations?

I frequently leave my wallet behind when canoeing -- it can be a wet activity, after all -- will I be expected to carry my canoeing license at all times? Will I be fined if I don't have it with me?

Will wardens or other police have the power to stop and ask if I have a license, even if I am otherwise violating no law or regulation?

If this bill is enacted, I will probably get the license rather than risk a $100 fine. But I suspect that most casual visitors will not -- but when a casual visitor is fined for not having a canoeing license, I expect the State of Maine will never see that person or his/her family (and the money they bring to the State and its merchants) ever again.

I expect that canoe and boat liveries will take a financial hit from reduced patronage; I expect that licensed guides will also suffer from reduced patronage or from having to reduce their fees to be competitive with guides from near-by states.

Haven't legislators ever heard the story of the man who killed the goose that laid the golden eggs?
Wow, that's some lame stuff guys. Sorry to hear about it. I guess some of the welcome "regulation and oversight" we've been hearing about in the news is already spreading a bit too far. :o

Status In Committee
Referred toCommittee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife onFeb 17, 2009.
Latest Committee Action:WORK SESSION, Mar 17, 2009, Tabled
Committee Report: Not Reported Out

Public Hearing List
Mar 10, 2009, 0100PM, Room 206, Cross Building
Work Session List
Mar 17, 2009, 0100PM, Room 206, Cross Building
This does seem like a poor bill,

though for folks who spend a lot of time in Maine, and who do other activities that require a license, this wouldn't do much. (this assumes that anybody who canoes also fishes or hunts.)

But it would put a hit in the tourism, reducing $$'s, and having just the oppisite affect they are looking for.

What is the current license cost for canoes and unmotorised boats?
maybe that should be raised instead?

Has anything new actually happened?

The link in Fitz's first post (from March '09) can be confusing -- The Bangor Daily News page that appears is dated today -- but the story shown is from March 09.
The official status at appears to be "Last Senate Action 5/21/2009 - Pursuant to Joint Rule 310.3 Placed in Legislative Files (DEAD)" so I hope that it will rest in peace. The Bangor Daily News article at is from last year and simply has a function in the header which always shows the current date. There is currently no license fee or registration requirement in Maine for canoes, kayaks, or other boats without motors.

"There is currently no license fee or registration requirement in Maine for canoes, kayaks, or other boats without motors."

So you guys in Maine can use the public waters for FREE!!!, letting the users with motors pay your way??? You guys better be quiet and hope nothing changes. :)

from the land of 10,000 taxes
Does anyone else see a trend here? I believe this may be a deliberate trend quietly being pushed by a group known as the NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) who are apparently claiming that some 50% of their budgets are spent on Search and Rescue efforts on behalf of paddle craft. No one has been willing or able to substantiate these numbers for me. They are the folks (with the blessing of the Michigan Boating Industries Association) who are pushing this effort here in Michigan. There's more to it than just registration fees however. The number of registered boats in a state determines the amount of federal funds granted to the states from the Wallop-Breaux account. That is a big deal for states with lots of boats.
Hi Pete

I was one of the demonstrators in Lansing back in the 80's that picketed and got the (then new) law rescinded. There are admittedly, some benefits to increasing services to all boaters, including paddlers, BUT what is the best way to approach this? I own a few canoes. I don't want to have to pay the fee. So, should I take my rep paddling? Or invite him over for a tour of the shop? Is there the possibility of an exemption for classics? Does anyone have a grasp on the overall effect, cost, benefits?