Prior to 1958, boating regulations were the exclusive province and responsibility of the United States Coast Guard. However, in 1958, the U.S. Congress passed the Bonner Act (sponsored by Congressman Bonner of North Carolina) which allowed individual states to register boats and regulate their boating activity provided they adopted a State Boat Act with a numbering system approved by the United States Coast Guard.
Initially, boaters across much of the country were concerned over the prospect of state regulation, but they respected the United States Coast Guard and feared that individuals with little or no knowledge of boating would control state regulation. Today, all of the states in the United States have established registration and regulatory systems of their own. Maryland’s first attempt at implementing a state regulatory system occurred in 1959. The proposed boating act had several flaws, as it did not earmark revenue from boating regulation for boaters and proposed a vessel classification scheme that was at odds with that of the United States Coast Guard. The Chesapeake Bay Yacht Club Association (CBYCA) coordinated opposition to the proposal along with Maryland boaters, and the proposal was defeated.
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)