If you’re in Florida and you’re thinking of buying a fishing kayak, one of the first things you need to consider is whether it needs to be registered and what regulations you need to abide by. Kayaking can be great fun, but it’s essential to know the rules so you can paddle legally and safely.
Do Fishing Kayaks Need To Be Registered In Florida?
Fishing kayaks don’t need to be registered in Florida, as long as they are below sixteen feet long. They are considered non-powered vessels and don’t require licensing. However, if you add a motor to your kayak, you will need to register it. There are a few other laws that govern Florida’s kayakers, so we’ll explore those below.
Do You Need A Kayaking License?
No. As long as your kayak is not motor-powered, you don’t need a license to kayak in Florida. Yes, it’s possible to add a motor to a fishing kayak. Many people do it.
That rule applies to all kayaks below sixteen feet in length (which will be most of them), regardless of how big your kayak is; you don’t need to get a permit or license to kayak as long as you are using manual power.
Do You Need A License For A Motorized Kayak?
Yes, you do. This rule applies no matter what size your kayak is. You must have permission to take any motorized vessel onto the water. If you plan to add a motor to your kayak, you should make sure that you apply for a license and let your local authority know of your plan. Don’t go on the water until your license has been granted.
You should also check out any local laws or restrictions that may apply to ensure you aren’t accidentally breaking rules that you are unaware of.
What Do You Have To Do To Get A License?
Getting a license is not as simple as applying and waiting for it to arrive in the mail; you need to prove you can handle your vessel safely on the water to be granted the license.
To do this, you will need to have passed a course that the National Association has approved of State Boating Law Administrators or an equivalent course. This will prove that you are safe to take a powered vessel out on the water.
According to KayakGuru, your kayak must be registered through the tax office of your local county. In addition, you will receive a Certificate of Registration, which must always be kept in the vessel.
You must also clearly display your registration number so that others can see the boat is legal. The number should be displayed on both sides, near the front of the vessel and above the line of the water.
These numbers need to be at least three inches high so that they can be read from a distance. In addition, the registration decal must be displayed near the number on the left side of the kayak (at most, six inches from it).
To get your license, you will need to make an appointment with your local office for a driver’s license and motor vehicle services.
In addition, you must take proof of ownership and date of purchase, and while you are waiting for registration to be completed, you need to keep these in the boat whenever the boat is in use.
What About Higher Horsepower Boats?
If your boat has a horsepower of 10 or more, you must have a boating education ID card and some photographic ID onboard your kayak whenever you are out on the water. This proves that you are licensed to drive the boat.
Do I Need Lights On My Kayak In Florida?
You may have heard of navigation lights. These include a white light attached to the stern on a 3.3-foot pole, which is visible from every angle around the boat and red and green bow lights.
In Florida, motorized recreational vessels must have navigation lights aboard and turned on in reduced visibility conditions. This means during foggy periods, heavy rain, or after sunset.
The goal is to make fast-moving vessels easy to spot on the water, reducing the risk of collisions and accidents.
If your kayak is not motorized, you are not obliged to display a permanent light, but you must have a white light on board and use it if another vessel is nearby.
A flashlight will be sufficient, but make sure that you have one. You might be surprised by how difficult it is to see other boats (and be seen by them) when you are out on the water.
If you moor your boat at a mooring area, you do not need to display a light, but your boat must have a white light visible from all directions between sunset and sunrise if you are moored away from a designated area. This will prevent accidents as people will be able to see your boat.
What Other Legal Requirements Must I Meet In Florida?
PaddleCamp tells us that you are obliged to carry a whistle or other sound-making device so that you can signal distress if something goes wrong while out on the water.
If boating at night on a kayak that is less than sixteen feet, you must also carry three or more nighttime visual distress signals if you are boating on the coast after dark.
If your vessel is larger, you need these three daytime visual distress signals on the coast.
You must also carry suitable personal floatation devices for every person on the vessel. These need to fit your passengers, be in good condition, and be USCG-approved.
They have to be on the boat at all times while it is in use, so when taking passengers out, make sure you remember this and include appropriate gear.
Adults are not required to wear them by law, although it is highly recommended.
Children under six are legally obliged to wear a personal floatation device when aboard a moving vessel under twenty-six feet long.
If your kayak is over sixteen feet, you must also have a Type IV throwable personal floatation device that can be easily accessed in case of an emergency.
It’s essential to take these rules seriously. They are there to protect you and others while out on the water, and you should obey them at all times. Make a regular habit of checking that your safety gear is in good condition and that you have enough for all passengers.
Can You Get A DUI While Kayaking In Florida?
The Florida law clearly states that anyone operating any kind of water vessel is subject to a DUI (or BUI). Operating any vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered as serious as a driving offense and carries similar penalties.
You are not allowed to kayak with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more, and there are severe penalties, which can increase if your blood alcohol level is over 0.15%. Do not go out on the water while drunk or under the influence of drugs.
Fishing kayaks only need to be registered in Florida if they are over sixteen feet long or they have been motorized.
Whether you need to register your boat or not. There are important safety regulations that you must follow while out on the water to keep yourself and others safe.