Boat Tax Is Scuttling The Industry


October 25, 1991|By Capt. Bob Spore

You never know what you are going to see at a boat show. This year Isaw a very tall member of the House of Representatives who showed upto give himself a pat on the back. It seems he is co-sponsoring a bill to overturn the luxury boat tax and wanted everyone to know it.

Congress has really shot itself and a bunch of others in the foot with this tax. It was designed to rob from the rich and give to the poor general fund, but it didn't work.

The rich aren't buying boats, at least not new boats, so no one is paying the tax. On top of that, because nobody is buying new boats,many boat builders are going out of business.

Boat building is not like automobile building. There aren't any big-three boat builders.Boat building is essentially a cottage industry with small companiesthe norm, rather than the exception.

Between the luxury tax and the current recession, nearly 20,000 marine-related people are out of work. And many of the skills are not transferable.

I pointed out to the congressman that this is another good example where Congress did not do its homework before it passed a law.

If these clowns didn't hurt people, it would be comical. Imagine that you are a skilled craftsman for a small company that builds medium-priced yachts. You have worked for the company for 20 years, and you are now laid off because Congress did not do its homework. Doesn't it make you proud?

Ireminded him that two years ago the House of Representatives gave its members a 30 percent pay raise. And when that's not enough, they bounce a few checks on their private bank and don't pay for their meals. Oh yes, and fixa few parking tickets.

I'm afraid I abused the poor congressman, for I did not show respect for his height or his position. He has to earn it.


This is a most interesting striped bass season. We were spoiled last year. All we had to do was motor to Love Point, push our way into the pack of boats and drop live eels into the huge schools of rockfish that just sat there with their mouthsopen. This is a different year.

Most of us stocked up on eels, and eels worked great the first week. Now, eels work fine some places and not at all in others. Trolling bucktails have replaced the eel in many locations as the preferred method of making the catch. Preferredby the rockfish, that is.

In many areas the stripers are doing anexcellent job of eluding the hook and liner. You know the stripers are out there, but you just cannot find them. Well, that's why they call it fishing.


Tomorrow and Sunday, once again we will appreciate the Chesapeake Bay. Some of us will do it while we are fishing, but others who prefer a more organized approach will enjoy the festivities at Sandy Point State Park.

The original intent of the Chesapeake Bay Appreciation Days festival was to celebrate the skipjack, the last of the working sailboats on the bay. Each year their numbers dwindle by one or two. I think around 30 remain.

The skipjack is a "drudge" boat for dredging oysters. They do not have internal engines, but they do have small, powerful push-boats that are used to maneuver them when there is no wind and on "power days" when the Departmentof Natural Resources permits captains to use them instead of relyingon the wind.

Skipjack races and much more will be at Sandy Point this weekend. The project is ably managed by Betty Duty from the Maryland Watermen's Association. The gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. both days.

In between, you will find live music, workboat docking contests, static boat displays, watermen's demonstrations, drafthorses/displays, arts and crafts, a photography contest/exhibit, environmental displays and good food galore.

If you can't go fishing,do the next best thing and go to the Chesapeake Bay Appreciation Days festival at Sandy Point State Park. Admission is $5 for adults, children under 12 are free. Information: 269-5570.

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