Florida training requirement warning

OK, I’ll play Devil’s Advocate

– Last Updated: Sep-23-06 7:43 AM EST –

These boards are filled with derogatory comments regarding paddlers who have died in, or who have been rescued from situations that the rest of us would never have gotten ourselves into.

There are also numerous logs about how we, ourselves, have had close calls doing what we shouldn't be doing; mostly because of ignorance and lack of experience.

There are many posts concerning the dangers of hypothermia. Comments about "Cotton Kills". Warnings about the foolishness of not wearing a PFD ... I could go on and on.

Many of us are quick to put blame on the people who get themselves into trouble. We rant about the foolishness of these souls, victims of their own ignorance or stupidity. Or we stand on the pedestal of knowledge, smug in the attitude that they didn't know what they didn't know.

And yet, when someone decides to do something about it, everyone is up in arms!

I owned a sailboat for years. Then I found out that I could get a discount off my insurance by taking a safe boating course. Motivated by thrift (OK, cheapness), I enrolled in a USCGA course. I was cocky and confident that it was going to be a waste of time; I had the confidence of years of experience sailing Lake Huron. This attitude quickly changed by the time the course ended. And I know that I am a better and safer sailor because of it.

In Michigan, there were many complaints about PWC operators. Now, every PWC operator born after December 31, 1978 (yes, even adults) must take a safe boating class and carry a course completion card to operate a PWC. These individuals no longer have the excuse of ignorance (well, of the law at least).

So, do I want to be forced to take another boating class just because I want to paddle my kayak. No, not really.

Do I believe that such a requirement would serve the greater good? I'm not sure, maybe.

But if such a law was passed, we wouldn't have as much to complain about, would we?

(Oh, I KNOW I'm going to get slammed on this one!)

Good Point…
A lot of us came to kayaking from a boating background and forget that for others the new kayak may be the first time they have operated a boat alone and are ignorant of the simple rules of the road.

good places in other states
As I sit here in ‘me too me too’ New York, I can see the powers that be rubbing their hands in anticipation. If there’s a untouched way of driving folks out of a state, new york will find it.


– Last Updated: Sep-23-06 11:11 AM EST –

Now get all those powerboaters licenced!

Now, not all of them are jrerks, ignoramouses, or the devil incarnate. But I'd feel a LOT safer if SOME of those Miami Vice wannabe thunderboat pilots, jet ski cowboys (& cowgirls) -and perhaps most dangerous of all, those family cruisin feet up & boozin, ALL showed proof of competence -and then, even better -actually WERE competent!

And what would they probably tell us canoesists & kayakers?

Stay outta the way of the motorized as we


-Frank in Miami

Nice thought, but licensing and training
hasn’t done much for many who drive. Big cars, powerful engines, too often equal rude fast drivers. Its the same with power boats.

I agree with Frank on this one. You can buy a high powered boat/jet ski here in FL without the slightest clue of “rules of the road”, how to navigate, etc and so forth. So they now want us paddlers to take a course in boating safety? Not unless they pass that same requirement to powerboaters as well.

Requiring a Class is dead wrong
Sure, recommending and indivudual take a class is a good idea, but making the class a state requirement for all boaters is about as knuckleheaded as you can get.

If you require a class for kayakers – who essentially represent a risk to no one but themselves – where do you stop? Require a class for those using roller blades? Pogo sticks? Heck, hikers have been known to get lost and to injure themselve, maybe they should be required to take a class too.

Same requirement for all boaters
Paddlers are just being included. Since few kayakers are under 21 - we’re exempt anyway.


2006 Florida Statutes


or for those who haven’t mastered cut and paste:


Is that a new law? I have seen so many idiot motorboaters out there it seems impossible that have taken any course at all in boating safety.

The "public safety issue"
Here’s a little article about one of my favorite Florida rivers to paddle. And just how many of these people do you suppose were paddling??? And how do I feel about being on this river in my kayak now?


law already in place for powerboats
Power boaters in FLorida DO have to have a license. I think it started a couple years ago. You might be grandfathered in but my 14 year old son wasn’t. Kind of funny because he has a boat operators licsense and I don’t.