As we prepare to "go on the road" for a long time, I thought I'd pass along some issues we've run into....both from experience and from planning research.
The regulations for our kayaks are all over the board in many states. Quite a few states have regulations and policies that can cause you some difficulty.
1. Over 10 foot rules - some states want to see registration or registration type numbers from your home state, if you are a visiting kayaker. For many of us, there is no answer! I'm glad I travel with Sports. If in doubt, print your home state boat registration rules and have it in your car when you travel to other states; having the correct answer and a friendly attitude can save the day.
2. Invasive species control - you should find out what the rules are before you load up and go. In one instance, I had to show a campground receipt from the last lake I'd visited (at the previous state visited), before the inspector would sign off my "boat inspection" at point of entry. This was despite the fact that the Invasive Species rule did not apply to under 10 feet! My Sports are 9'7", but he decided I had to be inspected and documented, anyway.
3. PFD "on and buckled" for all kayaks, regardless of operator age - check the rules where you are headed....you'll need to get something like SOSpenders if it's hot where you'll be kayaking. Your motor overheats pretty quick in a full vest type PFD. The lake patrol considers that condition a personal problem.
4. Classification of your Hobie - many states will NOT allow you to use your sail rig without proper home state boat registration. They will pay particular attention to anyone with "out of state" license plates. Know the rules and don't break them, even if the locals do.
5. Be smiling and helpful when the lake patrol stops you for having a motor (because he doesn't see you paddling). I've had one argument where the officer insisted the pedals were for steering and I had a "hidden electric motor". After I showed him the pedal drive, the light bulb went on and he wanted to visit awhile.
6. Safety equipment as required by the local law. Your home state rules do NOT apply when it comes to safety regulations.
Hope this saves someone from "a bad day".