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Something Smells Here?

Float Saver

If it is 16 feet or over, it must be taxed, titled and registered with the Florida Dept. of Motor Vehicles.

 Red Floater

If it has an electric trolling motor on it, regardless of its size, you floater (canoe, kayak, scull, row boat) must have decals and be registered and have a title with the DMV.

There is more than oil floating around in our Legislature and if we are not

careful they will be taxing your rod guides next!

If your kayaks, canoe, blow up boat, or whatever, is less than 16 feet long no registration is required. Now think what I just said; if it is 16 feet or longer you must have a Tax sticker (Decal), registration and a recorded title but if it is less than 16 feet long, no decal. This new addition to the law in recreational boating smells, it is the turd in the punch bowl or as said in that movie, “…out of the pool, It’s a Floater.”  But wait, there is more and as if the law is not confusing enough, it gets smellier once you visit your local County Court house and attempt to register a vessel, which is not considered a vessel unless it meets the criteria above and you have proof of ownership, a bill of sale and a title on a Vehicle that was never titled in the first place. The aromas of this concoction are making me ill. Catch 22, “You are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t!” The Senate and House just keep on passing bills and laws that “We the People” are suppose to support. I believe that you and I are the “WE” in the “PEOPLE, are we not? Did anyone tell you about this smelly Floater? I would have said “No Way!”


“All vessels, with the exception of non-motor-powered vessels less than 16 feet in length, non-motor-powered canoes, kayaks, racing shells, or rowing sculls, regardless of length, must be registered through your local Tax Collector's Office and all vessels used on public waterways with any kind of motor must be titled and registered. Furthermore, if the non-motor powered vessel is less than 16 feet in length, it is not required to be registered or titled. However, if the vessel is 16 feet or more in length, it is required to be registered and titled.”

My question is how does one obtain a title from a canoe that was made in the 1970’s and no title was ever warranted at that time much less last year?

Hm… now my 16 foot canoe has to have a decal and the Registration numbers must be displayed on the forward half of the vessel on both sides above the waterline. The numbers must be bold block letters at least 3" high in a color contrasting to the hull and the vessel registration decal must be renewed annually and is to be displayed within 6 inches of, either before or after, the registration numbers on the port (left) side. Hope they can read underwater as when fully loaded down, there ain’t much of a waterline left with two guys over 250 pounds, ice chests, bait, gear, rods and all extras. So in conclusion to this smelly way to strip more from your pockets, before you purchase a tandem kayak or any floater for that matter make sure it is less than 16 feet long and do not power it with one of those “get on top quick” trolling motors because if you do, you will need a registration number and decal. Oh yeah, and a title. Next time you are at Gander Mountain or Bass Pro Shop, ask them, as you would at a car dealership, what is the price of that Wilderness Systems Pamlico 160T Tandem Kayak; tax, Title and registration; I’ll bet all you get is a sales receipt and a look like one would if you too were in the pool and someone screamed out “It’s a Floater!”

This is how are day started. At some point in time, on Wednesday the 28th of July, at around midnight, I got a bee up my butt to run over to Wal-Mart and purchase a thirty pound thrust trolling motor with a deep cycle marine trolling battery. We attached it to the flat side of my stern on the canoe and went to bed with notions to dreams of having a paddle free day, on the water, catching fish. We launched our craft from out of the back of my pickup truck into the water, just as a FWC officer pulled in front of my truck and approached with, “Just coming in or going out?”  I exclaimed we had just finished launching and our next step was to just ‘Go Fishing’. “How long is your craft”’ he asked and I answered with “my canoe, I believe is 16 feet long across the top. “Is it registered”’ the Game Warden asked. “No!” I answered.” Why would it be? It is a canoe and now we just bought a trolling motor to try out today.” New law does not matter, it is a dumb law but it now is the law because I guess, Florida needs to fill its coffers more now.” He continued. “Go ahead and have fun today, catch some fish and be sure to get’er registered in the next day or two.” With that, Edwin and I went fishing.

Beached Ray

The trolling motor on speed of 5 moved us along faster than one could ever have guessed. We traveled approximately ten miles in less than an hour. There was a severe thunder storm moving in on us from three sides, flood was against our bow and so to was the wind. Without the electric motor, we would still be out there rowing or worse, swimming! Small sharks, rays and cats, both varieties were available on this windy trip, sail and hardheads. I also caught a speckled trout that was golden in color. The first golden trout I have ever seen and it matched that all too familiar yellow/orange mouth the start to get this time of year. All were caught on live small four inch finger mullet which are thick as fleas up in Tippy Canoe bay. Looks like freshwater fishing for me Friday, as I brought out my Dad’s old Cortland Crownfly attached to his favorite 8.5 inch bamboo fly rod. No registration here, no decals, no numbers, just me and my fly on an open patch of water, fishing license in a wallet and the only floaters here will be my dry flies.


The Golden Trout



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