Florida may require licenses for kayaks & canoes

Discussion on licensing of non-motorized boaters
Posted at 6:20 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 02:10:59-05

Kayakers, paddle boarders and canoers, there’s been talk about the state requiring licensing for you to be on the water. The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they don’t want to charge you, but it’s an option being discussed.

Over the last two days, a group of citizens have been talking about the possibility of charging non-motorized boaters for licenses. 

“I think it’s crazy, I think it’s just another way to collect tax dollars,” one paddle boarder said.

“Yesterday, a group of citizens and stakeholders charged to make recommendations to FWC’s Boating Advisory Council considered the concept of expanding vessel registration to non-motorized boats in Florida,” Nick Wiley, FWC Executive Director said. “The FWC appreciates the work of this advisory group, but we are not supportive of increasing fees on Floridians or visitors who participate in non-motorized boating. The FWC greatly values our boating community and will continue to work hard to keep Florida’s standing as the boating capital of the world without increasing costs and fees.”

The owner of Yacht Starship and Pirate Water Taxi said he agrees non-motorized boaters shouldn’t be charged, but said more regulation is needed. 

“They need to understand that they need to be alert and aware and we’ve seen them just take radical actions as if no one else was on the water and we’re concerned that there will be an accident,” Troy Manthey, President and CEO Yacht Starship and Pirate Water Taxi, said.

That’s what he always wants to avoid when his boats are on the water. But in the last year, he said, the number of non-motorized boaters has jumped up. 

“What I do think is fair is that they have to have that same level of safety awareness that we have and safety training,” Manthey said.

The FWC said right now no decisions have been made.