I have many friends in the paddling community and the theory of coexisting with motor boats always comes up. This topic is more volatile than talking about politics, religion, and sex. Very few people ever agree with a common solution. So what are we to do? Well, I think coexisting with motor boats is possible on the rivers, in the bay and gulf, and as fellow anglers. Knowing the official rules of the water and the preconceived notions on paddling etiquette will lessen our paddle rage.
Rage is a way of dealing with fear or frustration. Moreover, the idea of being run-over or overturned by boat wake fits the profile of fear. Surprisingly a motorboat produces a great deal of boat wake when they quickly slow down and drop off plane. And they produce wake when moving at a high speed on a river. So what are we to do?
When crossing the channel, wait until there are no motor boats. Depending on the time of year and location, boaters might be sightseeing or they may be competing for thousands of dollars in a fishing event. On any navigable body of water such as a marked channel, it is inappropriate for kayakers to expect them to slow down.
If No Wake signs are posted and a speeding motorboat disrupts your day it could mean trouble to even politely remind them of the restrictions. Instead, record their FL numbers from the side of the boat then phone in the violation to FWC.
Regardless of who is the violator, it is always safer to yield to the larger boats. Let them have the space to navigate the channel so they can go on their merry way. ☻
Published in Florida Outdoor Adventures Magazine – July 2006 – pages 30
Copyright © 2006 Florida Outdoor Adventures Magazine and the respective author.