History repeats, this time in Florida. An advisory group was again tasked with studying the efficacy of requiring registration of non-motorized watercraft. At minimum, this would have meant SUPs, kayaks, small sailboats, canoes, maybe even surfboards and body boards.
Supporters (athletic-“sorry, couldn’t resist”) of the proposal, starting in 2015, touted that a modest yearly fee could help pay for law enforcement, search and rescue, access, safety education, and better management of Florida’s enormous amount of non motorized watercraft. Like boating, user pay = user benefit.
Those opposed, impressed that these activities were healthy, affordable, environmentally harmless, required no special launch areas, akin to riding a bike. “Furthermore, non-motorized boats in Florida were not a burden.” The opposition, like in the past, were loud, and overwhelming. The Florida Paddle Sports Association reiterated that there was little trust or assurance that revenue would strictly benefit non motorized boasting.
After review, the Director of the Fish And Wildlife Commission was “not supportive of establishing fees to Floridians and visitors who participate in non motorized boating. Hopefully this issue is put to bed.”
Several states already have SUP and kayak/canoe registrations. For you Floridians, keep and open eye. This will no doubt circle around in the future.