Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has announced that 2023 Delaware State Parks annual passes and surf-fishing permits will go on sale at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 29.
Annual passes and surf-fishing permits may be purchased at any state park office Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Passes and permits may also be purchased online at destateparks.com/Know/PassesTagsFees, with an estimated time frame for delivery of three to four weeks. State park offices also will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, to accommodate holiday shoppers who want to include an annual parks pass or surf-fishing permit in their gift-giving plans. Annual passes and surf-fishing permits will not be sold at DNREC’s Dover campus.
The surf-fishing permit sales cap implemented in 2019 has been removed as part of recently announced surf-fishing program changes to be piloted by DNREC for 2023, eliminating any need for rushing to purchase permits. With no cap to contend with, surf-fishing permits for 2023 can be purchased at any time after sales start Nov. 29.
Annual park passes
Annual passes are a convenient way to access Delaware’s state parks throughout the entire fee season from March 1 to Nov. 30. The annual pass costs $35 for Delaware residents and $70 for nonresidents. Those ages 62 and older receive a discounted rate of $18 for residents and $35 for nonresidents. A $65 lifetime pass is available for Delawareans 65 and older, the Delaware Military Pass is available for $17.50, and an Assistance Program Pass is available for $10.
Reduced rates are also offered to Delawareans who receive public assistance, or who are active-duty military or veterans. Active-duty military personnel with an out-of-state license plate can purchase an annual pass at the in-state rate.
Delaware firefighters and emergency medical technicians can obtain an annual pass or surf-fishing permit free. Those who qualify must first obtain an application from their fire company or the Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association. The completed form must be taken to a state park office to receive a pass or permit.
The surf-fishing permits available to anglers remain the same for the year ahead as DNREC pilots changes to the surf-fishing permitting program. Sales are for an annual permit and a two-year permit, both of which enable year-round drive-on access, including peak weekends and holidays. Also available again for 2023 is the off-peak surf-fishing permit that offers year-round drive-on access while excluding peak weekends and holidays from May 20 through Labor Day weekend.
Surf-fishing permit rates remains unchanged for 2023. The surf-fishing permit fee for Delaware residents is $90 and $180 for out-of-state residents. Delaware residents age 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $80. The off-peak permit fee for Delaware residents is $70, while the fee for out-of-state residents is $140. For off-peak permits, Delaware residents 62 and older will get a discounted rate of $60.
First-time permit holders must also obtain a Delaware surf-fishing license plate on which they are required to affix their surf-fishing permit decal. In addition to entry onto Delaware State Parks’ drive-on beaches, the permit decal also serves as an annual park pass.
The cap on the number of surf-fishing permits sold each year by DNREC is to be replaced with a technology-based reservation system for managing capacity on the 36 days that comprise peak weekends and holidays, when the state’s surf-fishing beaches are in highest demand. Reservations are not available nor required for off-peak permits.
For more information about the 2023 pilot changes to the surf-fishing program, including answers to frequently asked questions, go to destateparks.com/SurfTagSales.