Perhaps I’m being overly cynical here, but I have to suspect (admittedly without doing the kind of in-depth research that would be necessary to prove it definitively) that things like this often come down to the influence of a “when money talks BS walks” philosophy on the part of those writing the rules. I also think there are some pretty hastily written regs being produced recently.
I suspect that in FL power boaters spend a lot of money and the sales tax on that money is substantial in the county and probably at the state level as well. (Same here in my state, though perhaps on a lesser scale.) I bet many of us here have bought a fleet of nice kayaks or canoes for the cost of the engine on many of the larger power boat rigs. Revinue from fishing licenses and , for duck hunters, for instance, hunting licenses, also amount to substantial sums of money flowing into public coffers. Many of these folks (and I also contribute here) buy fishing tackle, guns, ammo, and most use power boats. At least around here those who use larger power boats - that really need a decent landing to utilize - are often owners of shore line, or near shoreline, property and may be influential in local politics. There are also likely trade association lobbyists involved that I think paddlers largely lack. Paddlers, I believe, can’t really afford to be players in that league.
And its not just power boats. I see here in my state that there has recently been more money spent on snowmobile trails and ATV trails. I believe those who vote for such spending are often seeing it as investment that will see a return in the bar/grill establishments along such trails. (Tavern League is a big player here in Wisconsin politics.) Hiking and cross country ski trails are cheaper to build but probably yield pretty modest returns on investment if that, rather than strictly public utility, is how such spending is viewed…
I see it here on my “home river”… in the reopening process they are allowing folks to use the DNR managed landings from 6am to 11pm. When I’m feeling charitable in my views I think probably the scheduled closing is OK for the parks they were primarily considering and an administrative convenience to apply the same rules to a river and its landings. But in my darker moods I see discrimination against paddlers. Its subtle: Nobody says “no paddle craft allowed”, but in practice its just fine for the fishermen and power boaters but locks out the river camping paddlers. (Can social distancing even be practiced on a jon boat? I’m sure it can by solo canoeists, even careful tandem canoeists, and kayak campers, assuming they want to.) But I’m afraid that schedule will remain in place until the liveries can operate safely. Opening the river will then be offered as proof of business-friendliness.
I really hope that we don’t have to wait for a vaccine to be developed before we can again paddle on that river.
I think we’re not really discriminated against so much as not catered to.