Auctions of low-digit surf-fishing tags by DNREC Division of Parks & Recreation start Oct. 15
Sales of new plates authorized by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Markell will benefit Delaware State Parks
Surf-fishing enthusiasts and license plate collectors who don’t want to be telling tales about “the little one that got away” – with “the little one” a newly-minted, low-digit Delaware surf-fishing tag to be sold at auction by DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation – will be casting their bids when the first online auction for the low-numbered plates begins Thursday, Oct. 15, followed by a live tag auction set for Saturday, Oct. 31 at Delaware Seashore State Park.
The auction of low-numbered plates was authorized last year by the 147th General Assembly through House Bill 348 – sponsored by former State Representative John Atkins and Senator David McBride, and signed by Governor Jack Markell – which directed DNREC to begin selling the low-digit tags to the highest bidder, with proceeds benefitting the Division of Parks & Recreation and Delaware State Parks. “We appreciate the support of the Governor and General Assembly in making this unique opportunity available through legislation, “ said DNREC Secretary David Small.
Sec. Small said that DNREC “has historically sold numbered surf-fishing license plates, but the process became a challenge to administer. This approach allows enthusiasts to participate in the process where the market determines the tags’ value. Successful bidders and Delaware State Parks are the winners, while folks who don’t want to participate in the auction can get a non-numbered regular surf-fishing tag free when they purchase their annual surf-fishing permit from the Division of Parks & Recreation.”
“Delawareans have an affinity for low-digit license plates, and the surf tags are an opportunity for surf-fishermen and tag collectors to bid high and see how low they can go in getting a coveted low-numbered plate,” said Ray Bivens, director, Division of Parks & Recreation/Delaware State Parks. Fewer than 100 of the low-numbered tags will be sold the first year of the Division of Parks & Recreation’s auctions. The minimum bid for purchasing one of the tags – with numbers to be sold this year ranging from Delaware Surf-Fishing Tag No. 2 to 450, with some numbers held back for future actions – is $250, the retail cost of the low-digit plates.
Bidders for the low-digit plates may acquire only one tag per licensed vehicle. By state law, surf-fishing tags numbered 1 through 200 are limited to vehicles registered in Delaware. Five of the 15 tags that will be auctioned online starting this week can be purchased by owners of vehicles not registered in Delaware, with 201 the lowest-numbered tag available for affixing to an out-of-state vehicle. (The DNREC surf-fishing permit, which costs $80 for Delawareans, $160 for non-residents, also must be purchased each year by all anglers and collectors who win the auctions for low-numbered tags in order to fish legally on Delaware’s surf-fishing beaches.)
Online Low-Digit Surf-Tag Auction
The first low-digit surf-fishing tag auction starts online at 9 a.m. Oct. 15 at www.usgovbid.com and ends at 7 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 1, according to Director Bivens of Delaware State Parks. He noted that the 15 tags to be auctioned are Nos. 9, 15, 19, 30, 40, 47, 55, 72, 80, 201, 222, 250, 302, 410, 450 – with those numbers only up for bidding at this time. More low-digit surf tags can be won through future online auctions. Bidding begins at $250, the retail cost of the low-digit tags. Prospective bidders can go to www.usgovbid.com and register at no charge for participating in the auction.
Live Low-Digit Surf-Tag Auction
The first opportunity to purchase the low-numbered plates is a live auction Saturday, Oct. 31 at Delaware Seashore State Park during the world championship barbecue event “Boooo-B-Que by the Sea.”* That auction also will offer the lowest-numbered surf-fishing tags to be sold this year by DNREC’s Division of Parks & Recreation: Nos. 2, 8 and 9 – and also will mark the first and only time that three single-digit Delaware surf-fishing tags will be sold at a single auction. State Representative Dave Wilson will be guest auctioneer for the first low-digit plate sold in the state and also will make the call for the last plate included in the live auction, Delaware Surf-Fishing Tag No. 2. (Delaware Surf-Fishing Tag No. 1 will be sold at live auction next year.)
Prospective bidders must put down a $200 deposit at the live auction to bid on the low-numbered tags. As with the online auction, bidding at the live auction also begins at $250. Both the online and live auctions are organized and run by Auction List Services of Eatontown, N.J.
The live auction will also have three “choice” plates up for bid – meaning an auction winner for one of the plates can choose from a numerical range from 31 to 91 (with certain numbers excluded from the bidding for later auction), while the winner of an auction for another low-number plate can choose from a range of surf tag Nos. 102 through 299 (again with exclusions), and a third auction winner’s choice can be made from numbers from 301 through 399 (with Nos. 302, 333 and 350 excluded from the bidding).
For more information on the Delaware surf-fishing tag auctions, including a list of frequently-asked questions about the new low-numbered surf tags, please visit destateparks.com/LowDigitTag or call the Division of Parks & Recreation at 302-739-9200.
* The Boooo-B-Que by the Sea barbecue championship Oct. 30-31 at Delaware Seashore State Park features competitors from states ranging North Carolina to New York showing off their grilling chops. The event also features a 5K run, a Jeep show, children’s games, great food and live music by Lower Case Blues (Friday) and Smokin’ Gunnz (Saturday). Onsite camping also is available for the weekend. More information about the event and how to register can be found at http://www.boo-bq.com/.