Florida Professional Paddlesports Association

Non-motorized Vessel Subcommittee Notes

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Note: non-motorized watercraft would include canoes, kayaks, sailboats of all types, rowing sculls, stand up paddle boards, rafts etc. The subcommittee was made up of current BAC members and one non-BAC members who is pro-registration. Subcommittee Members included: BAC members Lisa Neal, Becky Bragg, Jessica Koelsch, Richard Jones, EJ Seguna, David Ray, Peggy Mathews, Bill Griswold, Jennifer Castle Field (resigned, not present). Non-BAC member, David Ray

At the September 14, 2006 meeting in St. Petersburg, the subcommittee took the below actions:

Non-motorized Watercraft Registration - In short, the Non-motorized vessel subcommittee voted to not recommend registration to the BAC. But, the BAC can still do what they want, the sub-committee only advises. So the issue is not dead!  Check www.myfwc.com and click on boating for details.

The sub-committee did vote and pass the action to recommend to the BAC that everyone in a non-motorized vessel must have a Boater Safety Card. The current boater safety card is obtained by either approved on-site classes or on-line (approx. 2 hour class). Class information is available at http://myfwc.com/boating/safety/alt/education.htm. If this action is pursued it would mean that anyone paddling a watercraft (holding a paddle) including kids would have to a boating card. There were loud gasps from the motorboat contingency at the meeting when it was mentioned that children paddle! The outfitters could be affected by this tremendously. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, church youth groups, Royal Rangers, private and public school groups, County and City Summer Rec Programs will all have to make sure all their group participants have a boater safety card before planning any group activities. Tourists, in-state and well as out-of-state, will be required to have a boater card. No more spur of the moment paddle trips, no more walk-ins to your place of business, no more load up the family and hit the water for a day of relaxation. State Parks could be out of the paddle business. No card, no paddling. Only certain motorboaters are required to have cards, why make all the paddlers? Motorboaters including kids using motors under 10 horsepower aren't required to have a boater safety card.The PWC contingency reported that all PWC riders are required and tourists have to take a “short” test. Maybe the PWC riders need boater education a lot more than paddlers?

Other discussion included what watercraft would not be included in registration. According to FWC, water toys such as rafts, tubes, and floats would not be included. Anything that bathers would use on the beach, waterway, or pool. But, The Coast Guard definition of a vessel includes anything used for transportation on water with exceptions such as seaplanes.

Monroe County has passed a resolution against the registration of non-motorized watercraft. Perhaps everyone should take this issue to their county commissions especially the counties with Manatee Protections Plans. See Monroe County Resolution.

Note: The Subcommittee made its final recommendations to the BAC on December 7th, 2006 in Key Largo. The subcommittee has be disbanded. The recommendations were: no registration of non-motorized vessels and that the operators of non-motorized vessels should be required to complete a boater education safety class.

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