"" Running Rabbit: On The Merits Of Purchasing Florida's Lifetime Fishing License

Saturday, August 21, 2010

On The Merits Of Purchasing Florida's Lifetime Fishing License

An economic question arises. Should a man only eight years away from being allowed to fish without purchasing a fishing license purchase a lifetime fishing license.

Does it make sense from a cost standpoint? Is the convenience factor enough to balance out any savings over making yearly (or an every five year) purchase of a renewed license? What other are the other benefits to owning a lifetime license?

My interest is mainly in "saltwater fishing", and I am a resident of the state, so we will evaluate the feasibility of buying that lifetime license. A Lifetime Saltwater License (residents only) sells for $301.50. So is that a good deal for me.

The first step to getting our answer is to calculate what yearly and/or five-year licenses would cost over an eight year span. And, to do that we must assume that the current prices will remain stable; a big assumption. However, that is the only data we have to work with, so let's begin with what we know.

Presently, a One-Year Saltwater license costs $17.00.

A Five-year saltwater license sells for $79.00.

A quick calculation shows that buying five Annual licenses would cost $85.00 at current prices the Five-year license saves us $6.00 over five years. Buying consecutive five-year licenses would cost $158.00, (2 x $79), and buying one five-year and three one-year licenses would cost $130.00. So, it makes sense to take the savings and buy a five-year license and three one-year licenses to cover the eight year period instead of eight one-year licenses, or consecutive five-year licenses.

Using that arrangement we arrive at a cost of $130.00 for eight years. However, we are not done because the Lifetime License includes additional permits which we want and would have to purchase separately. So, let's add in the cost of the Snook stamp.

A Snook stamp now costs $10.00 per year, up from $2.00/yr in 2009. A five year stamp offers no savings as it costs $50.00, or exactly five times the annual rate.

So, our cost now is $130.00 plus $80.00, or $210.00. But, the Lifetime License also includes the taking of spiny lobster, another $5.00/yr permit, which we may, or may not use. (After thirty years as a resident I have gone after spiny lobster one time, and that trip was unsuccessful). But, being a dreamer, I imagine that I might take up that pursuit; and I wouldn't want to find them and not be able to take them.

So, adding in both permits, we arrive at $250.00 for the next eight years, meaning that at the current rates I was lose $51.50 if I buy the Lifetime License now.

So, $301.50 versus $250.00, an easy choice? Not so fast. Let's consider the convenience factor, if I buy the Lifetime License I will never need to wonder if my license is current, I'll never need to go to the store to buy another one, and if I were to move out of state the Lifetime License remains in effect. Is that worth $51.50 (91.50 if I accept that the spiny lobster stamp will never be needed) over the next eights years? And, how much credit do we give to the notion that these rates will remain stable?

If, or perhaps I should say when, the rates go up will the increase more than equal the $51.50/91.50 extra I would pay now if they were to remain stable until 2018? As I already mentioned, the Snook stamp saw a 500% increase in just one year, and the spiny lobster stamp went from $2.00 in 2009 to $5.00 this year, a 250% up charge. And, while the saltwater license price remained the same as last year, who knows when, and by how much, it will be increased.

All things considered I believe it is still worth the investment for me. Had I thought to do this analysis even three years ago the answer would be obvious, buy it, and save! Now it is a bit of a gamble, but a cheap one. And, besides, I never thought to mention the prestige factor. when I tell people that I bought a Lifetime License it will surprise many that such a thing exists and I will be seen as more interesting, it will make me seem like the consummate sportsman with skills and dedication, and just think how impressed the ladies will be and how many hot dates I'll have when I'm ashore......; there I go dreaming again.

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