Fishing & boating montage
County Guide - click for index
Regional Reports - click for index
Biologist Reports/Fisheries Management - click for index
Reporting Boat Fuel Did you know? 

When you purchase fuel for your boat, you pay state and federal Liquid Fuels Taxes. The state tax is refunded to the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) where it is used to provide benefits for power boaters – see below. This only happens when you report the estimated number of gallons of fuel used or purchased on your boat registration renewal card. The amount of tax refunded to the PFBC by the State Treasurer is based on the fuel usage information you supply on your Pennsylvania boat registration renewal card.

What can you do?

When you renew your boat registration, you will be asked to report the total number of gallons of fuel used or purchased.  Many boaters write zeros in the fuel reporting boxes on the registration renewal card when they are unsure of the number of gallons used or purchased.  When zeros are reported, the taxes you have paid are not refunded to the PFBC and are not available for your boating programs.  Please report all boat fuel used or purchased.  If you are unsure, leave the fuel reporting section blank.  DO NOT INSERT A ZERO. 

The following table is provided for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and displays the highest average number of gallons reported by boat owners in recent years that have returned the greatest benefit to boating programs.

Power Boat Size Average Gallons
Less than 12-feet 29
12-feet to 15-feet 47
16-feet to 19-feet 47
20-feet to 24-feet 86
25-feet to 29-feet 159
30-feet and greater 407
Personal Watercraft 47

How does this money benefit boaters? 

Boat Access Area Maintenance and Development –The PFBC owns, leases or manages 121 motorboat launching facilities.   The PFBC dedicates more than $1.2 million dollars annually to these facilities for routine maintenance services like grass cutting, litter pickup, ramp and dock repairs, parking lot paving and grading, and the clearing of flood damages and debris.

Boat launch and dockSince 2005, the PFBC has also provided a direct investment of $5.8 million in grant funding for the development or improvement of municipally-owned boating facilities that attracted $8.2 million in local funding.  Through this statewide grant program, 26 new boat access areas were developed and much needed improvements were made to 37 existing facilities.  To find a boating access facility near you, visit our County Guides index.

Water Trails – Water trails are boat routes suitable for canoes, kayaks and some motorized watercraft. Like conventional trails, water trails are recreational corridors between specific locations. The PFBC provides technical assistance and guidance to water trail managers to support the local development and stewardship of water trail access points, boat launches, day use sites, and – in some cases – overnight camping areas. To find a water trail near you, visit our Water Trail Guides webpage for more information.

Trailer and boatBoating Handbook – This convenient handbook provides boaters with information they need to know to have a safe and enjoyable experience when operating watercraft on Pennsylvania waterways.  It recaps boating regulations and includes information and tips to follow while boating.  To learn more about our regulations and ensure a safe and enjoyable time on the water, please read the Pennsylvania Boating Handbook.

Accident Investigation – The PFBC investigates boating accidents and reviews accident reports submitted by boaters.  Accident analysis and statistics assist the PFBC and the U.S. Coast Guard with establishing appropriate educational programs and legal requirements to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone on the water.

Walnut Creek MarinaAids to Navigation – The PFBC maintains the Commonwealth’s Uniform State Waterway Marking System.  This system was developed by the U.S. Coast Guard to warn and advise recreational boaters of natural or artificial obstructions or hazards, and to mark restricted or controlled areas.  Aids to navigation help guide boaters by warning them of dangers, advising them of special marine situations, and aiding them in finding their way. 

Boating Safety Education – Boating safety education is important, even for experienced boaters.  The PFBC administers a nationally-approved boating safety education program and issues Boating Safety Education Certificates to people who successfully complete an approved course.  To learn more about our boating safety education courses, please visit our Boating Courses & Safety Certificates page.

Law enforcment boatLaw Enforcement – PFBC Waterways Conservation Officers (WCOs) are specially trained police officers that focus on all aspects of watercraft safety. WCOs enforce all boating laws and investigate boating accidents. WCOs work to detect, apprehend and prosecute alcohol-impaired and drug-impaired watercraft operators. They also assist with presenting boating safety education classes.

To learn about national efforts to help other states capture state liquid fuels taxes, and to see how your federal liquid fuels taxes are used to benefit boating, see the article published in Boat U.S. magazine titled - State Gas Taxes: No Deposit - No Return at

Featured topics
State Gas Taxes: No Deposit - No Return (Boat U.S.)
PA Boating Handbook
PA boating regulations
Boating Safety Education Certificate course information & schedules
The Outdoor Shop
Frequently asked questions
bulletPA boating
bulletBoat registration/titling
bulletFAQ index
Bottom navigation bar
Copyright Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
click for Commonwealth of PA website click for list of PA state agencies click for PA online services Get your fishing license Register/title a boat Web Policies Site Map Contact Us PFBC Home Page