Report of Input Received from Non-Motorized Boaters

Rowing, sailing and paddling are popular activities in Florida, not surprising with hundreds of rivers and lakes and thousands miles of marine and estuarine coastal waters to enjoy. In May 2009, the FWC began an effort to reach out to non-motorized boaters.

The intent of this effort is threefold:

  1. to identify and build our understanding of issues identified by these communities,
  2. develop relationships with key stakeholders that will form the basis for long-term conservation partnerships and
  3. work on solutions.

This report presents the input received from this initial phase. The FWC's Office of Recreation Services and Division of Law Enforcement met with five paddling clubs and kayak fishing organizations, held four publically advertised listening sessions where participants expressed their concerns and set up a dedicated site to receive emails from non-motorized boaters. While the intent of these various outreach efforts was to collect and build an understanding of issues only, participants were eager to dive into solutions, as evidenced in the notes taken during the various meetings.

An FWC staff team from the divisions of Marine Fisheries, Freshwater Fisheries, Habitat and Species, Law Enforcement and the Office of Recreation Services is being formed and will use the input received during these sessions to work with stakeholder groups on solutions. This phase will begin later this year.

Staff attended meetings of the Florida Sea Kayaker Association and the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Community in Jacksonville, the Space Coast Paddling Club in Melbourne, The Villages Paddling Club in Ocala, and the West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club in Pensacola. A total of 122 people attended these meetings.

Listening sessions were attended by a total of 114 people held in four cities: Tallahassee, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, and Punta Gorda. The listening sessions were advertised through the Florida Administrative Weekly, on the FWC's Web site and in hundreds of e-mail invitations sent to rowing, sailing, paddling and kayak fishing organizations and to "list servs" and forums used by these communities.

While participation was strong from paddlers and kayak fishers it was less so from rowers. Sailors were the least represented. More outreach should be done with these communities. The listening session e-mail address received 127 e-mails.

(A note about participant totals: A few participants attended more than one forum, and e-mails were received from those who also attended meetings.)

FWC Facts:
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