Cabinet has reduced the boat-licensing fees that boat operators have to pay.
The fees are prescribed under the Port (Amendment) Regulations 2007.
Small watersports operators made representation to the Ministry of Tourism and Environment following the recent introduction of the Wildlife Interaction Zones, which require as part of its licensing regime that commercial tourist vessels provide copies of the Port Authority Licences in order to obtain a license to operate within the WIZ, said a GIS press release.
‘After meeting with several watersports operators, it became apparent that the Port Authority fees, along with the WIZ fees, would place the tour operators at too great a disadvantage,’ said Minister for Tourism Charles Clifford.
‘Therefore, in the interest of reducing the burden, especially for the small and independent watersports operators, I am pleased to announce an across-the-board reduction in the Port Authority boat licensing fees.’
Back in June, Captain Chuckie Ebanks, in an interview with the Caymanian Compass, said he would like to see the yearly fee for the licensing of boats decrease so that they become more affordable.
The new fee structure realigns the licence-fee categories of boats, in order to more accurately reflect the vessel types used in the industry, the release notes.
‘In addition to relieving the financial burden on commercial vessel operators, the category of vessels exempted from licence fees was expanded,’ the release stated.
When contacted by the Caymanian Compass for a reaction to the reduction in fees, Captain Chuckie said he was pleased to a certain extent.
He is pleased to see a reduction but he does not believe it is fair to have some categories paying and others exempt
‘Everyone should have to pay something,’ he said. ‘Instead of singling out certain people,’ he said. ‘That, to me, is not good politics.’
Under the new amendment, local vessels 21 feet and under are free, as opposed to vessels of 18 feet and under, which it had been previously.
Jet Ski boats used for private purposes are now free, when it had been $200.
Jet Ski boats used for commercial purposes are now $200 when it was $400.
Local vessels over 21 feet but not over 30 feet is $150, whereas previously local boats and ships over 18feet but not over 30 feet used for commercial purposes was $300.
Local vessels over 30 feet but not over 50 feet is now $300 whereas this category had previously cost $670.
Instead of local ships over 50 feet being $1,400, as it had been, now local vessels over 50 feet but not over 70 feet are $500 and local vessels over 70 feet are $1,000.
Captain Chuckie said that even if $50 to $75 was paid by the free categories, then it would be fairer. ‘I’d like to see everyone cough up something,’ he said. ‘You’ve got lots of boats on this island, if you make all of them pay something, then that’s good revenue.’