City to raise fees for boat docking

City officials plan to raise fees for docking boats in Baltimore's Inner Harbor in hopes of generating about $35,000 in added revenue.

With that money, officials say, they could reduce the amount that taxpayers spend to operate the city-owned docks. Barry Robinson, the city's head of transit and marine services, said officials are working to make the program self-sufficient.

"This is the first step in that direction," he said.

The Board of Estimates is expected to approve increases to the Inner Harbor docking fees Wednesday. The daily rate would change from $20 per five hours to a rate based on boat length. Some boats would still be charged $20 per five hours, but larger boats could be charged up to $40 per five hours.

Rates for overnight and charter boats would be raised from $1.50 to $2 per foot. An additional fee for docking a boat at Pier 5 during concerts at the Pier 6 Pavilion would be $40.

The city's Dockmaster Office controls 200 docking spaces on the north and west sides of the harbor. During the past fiscal year, the fees brought in about $90,000, which covered about half the cost. Officials project that the new rates will bring about $35,000 in added revenue, a 39 percent increase.

Robinson said the fees proposed for Baltimore would bring the city in line with what Annapolis and Alexandria, Va., are charging. Until 2007, Baltimore's docking fees had not been raised in more than a decade. The city raised the fees in 2007 and 2010, according to board documents.

The city operates docking locations on the north side of the harbor — at Piers 3, 4 and 5 — and on the west side at docks called the Fingerpiers and the Westwall. City officials do not allow boats to dock for more than a week at a time.

"They're still getting a great deal for their money," Robinson said. "When you compare our fees to other cities, as well as the fees that are charged by private marinas, you're getting a great deal to experience the ambience of Charm City."

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