ALEXANDRIA, VA (March 30, 2011) – The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) today announced that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft will participate in RBFF’s Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program aimed at increasing boat registration renewals among lapsed boaters. Ohio is the second state to join the direct mail pilot effort developed by RBFF in partnership with the Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW).
“We’re delighted that Ohio is joining our direct mail pilot program to help get lapsed boaters back out on the water,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “We know that boat registration renewals help support states’ critical fish and wildlife programs and boating infrastructure. And we want lapsed boaters to understand that by simply getting back into boating – they are directly supporting efforts to help preserve their waterways.”
“Ohio’s boat registration dollars are returned directly to the state’s boating community through facilities, programming and services,” said ODNR Watercraft Chief Pamela Dillon. “Working in partnership with RBFF on this direct mail initiative, we can remind boaters of the pleasures of the sport while promoting Ohio’s vast opportunities for fishing and boating on Lake Erie, the Ohio River and our many inland waterways.”
RBFF’s Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program kicked off in April 2009 when the owners of lapsed boat registrations in Oregon, who had not renewed their registrations since 2007, were sent direct mail pieces reminding them about the importance of renewing their registration. These Oregon boat owners received one of three different remittance forms, which targeted both angler and non-angler households. A separate group of lapsed boats was set aside as a control group for comparison, and their owners received no remittance forms.
The Oregon pilot program had an 8.5 percent response rate during the evaluation period and more than $20,000 was generated in new revenue to the agency. The registration renewals also generated an estimated $25,000 in additional revenue to the state of Oregon through state gasoline taxes and allocations from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund.
Ohio will target their lapsed boaters with a similar program in late April.
RBFF is working to expand the Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program with three additional states this year. The pilot program is an extension of RBFF’s ongoing marketing efforts with state fish and wildlife agencies. Thirty-one states currently participate in the Fishing License Marketing Program, which aims to recruit and retain lapsed anglers and generate awareness of the connection between fishing license sales and conservation efforts.
RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers’ Legacy™.