Boating Rights

Boating Rights and Economic Impact

 

The Rights of Boaters, Fishers, swimmers and water skiers – is in State Law and in the Rules stipulated by the FWC. The USFWS routinely ignores these rights. The most recent egregious example is the seizure of King’s Bay under the guise – “solely to prevent the takeof one or more manatees.” This criteria could be used on any body of water in the State, including water near you!

Florida Statute 379.2431(2)(k) states:

It is the intent of the Legislature to allow the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to post and regulate boat speeds only where the best available scientific information, as well as other available, relevant, and reliable information, which may include but is not limited to, manatee surveys, observations, available studies of food sources, and water depth, supports the conclusion that manatees inhabit these areas on a periodic basis. It is not the intent of the Legislature to permit the commission to post and regulate boat speeds generally throughout the waters of the state, thereby unduly interfering with the rights of fishers, boaters, and water skiers using the areas for recreational and commercial purposes. The Legislature further intends that the commission may identify and designate limited lanes or corridors providing for reasonable motorboat speeds within waters of the state whenever such lanes and corridors are consistent with manatee protection.

 

Boater’s Rights Defined in the Florida Administrative Code 68C-22.002(13) & (14)

(13) “Rights of Fishers, Boaters, and Water Skiers” (as they apply under Section 379.2431(2)(k), F.S.), means that fishers, boaters, and water skiers have the right to use the waters of the State of Florida for recreational or commercial purposes in a manner consistent with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Such laws and regulations include, but are not limited to, those governing the operation and safety of vessels on the water to promote public safety, environmental/natural resource protection, and/or responsible use of the waters of the State.

 

(14) “Undue Interference” with the rights of fishers, boaters, and water skiers (as it applies under Section 379.2431(2)(k), F.S.) occurs: (a) If the Commission regulates boat speeds generally throughout the waters of the state;

or

(b) If the Commission establishes regulations that encompass a larger geographic area or time frame than is warranted; set speed limits that are more restrictive than are warranted; encompass an area where the Commission has not determined that restrictions are necessary to protect manatees or manatee habitat pursuant to paragraph 68C-22.001(2)(a), F.A.C.; or fail to provide limited lanes or corridors providing for reasonable motorboat speeds, as called for in paragraph 68C-22.001(2)(b), F.A.C.

 

 

The Federal government has no such law. So, when they unilaterally seize an area, even under FWC objection, such as Kings Bay, then they can, and do, ignore this statute.

 

The following is on page 2 of the Executive Summary of the Save Crystal River Petition to Amend the Cooperative agreement:

 

“Federal Rulemaking under this Cooperative Agreement ignores FS Section 379.2431(2)(k) as defined in FA.C. 68C 22.002(14). The Legislature intended to prohibit rules and permitting which would have “Undue Interference with the rights of fishers, boaters, and water skiers.” For example; The USFWS defies this with its new criteria in establishing Federal Control over Kings Bay – “solely to prevent the take of one or more manatees” regardless of interference with the rights of fishers, boaters, and water skiers.”

 

The FWC document can be read at:

https://www.flrules.org/gateway/RuleNo.asp?title=THE%20FLORIDA%20MANATEE%20SANCTUARY%20ACT&ID=68C-22.002

 

Florida’s Working Waterfronts Report on Boating Economic Impact

 

The following excerpts are from “Working Waterfronts,” The Florida Senate, November, 2004, Committee on Community Affairs:

http://archive.flsenate.gov/data/Publications/2005/Senate/reports/interim_reports/pdf/2005-122ca

.pdf

A recent study commissioned by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission found that:”Statewide, the total economic impact of public boat ramps is approximately $1.3 billion per year….In addition to the economic impact, over 25,000 jobs are created statewide and approximately $128 million generated in state and local tax revenue.” 3 A diversified waterfront industry, both commercial and recreational, is an important component of the state economy. According to a recent study, the “marine industry represents a total economic output of over$14.1 billion and is responsible for over 180,000 jobs in the state.”1 Another study found that the marine industry in Broward County generated $8.8 billion in total economic output in 2000, providing $3 billion in wages and earnings. This study also found that the industry provided 109,820 full time jobs, making it among the county’s largest employment sectors. 2

Florida Boating Economics in Citrus County, FL