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FL BOATING SAFTEY CARD

Who needs a boating safety education ID card in order to legally operate a vessel?

In order to operate a motorboat of 10 horsepower or greater, Florida law requires anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, to successfully complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the FWC.

Florida does not have a "boating license." The Boating Safety Education Identification Card is proof of successful completion of the educational requirements and is valid for life.


Are some people who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 exempt from the above requirements?

Yes, there are some exemptions. The exemptions are listed below.

  • A person licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel.
  • A person operating on a private lake or pond.
  • An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is at least 18 years old and possesses the required Boating Safety Education Identification Card, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
  • An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is exempt from the educational requirements, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
  • A nonresident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a NASBLA-approved boater safety course or equivalency examination from another state.
  • A person is operating a vessel within 90 days after the purchase of that vessel and has available for inspection aboard that vessel a bill of sale meeting all the requirements as established in Chapter 328.46(1), Florida Statutes.
  • A person operating a vessel within 90 days after completing an approved boating safety course, as required in Chapter 327.395(1), and has a photographic I.D. and a boater education course completion certificate showing proof of having completed the required boating safety education course. The course completion certificate must provide the student’s first and last name, date of birth, and the date the course was successfully completed.

FLORIDA BOAT SAFETY COURSE CLICK HERE: RULE ONE: SAFETY FIRST! The Renter/Operator is the responsible party above all others. Operating a motor boat improperly could end with personal injury, a fine, and or arrest so please be responsible.NOTE: The Butler Chain of Lakes has a 36-mph speed limit and regulations regarding motor boat operation. These rules are designed not only to promote public safety but also to minimize the destructive impact of motor boats. Excessive speeds in shallow water can erode the shoreline, disturb rooted vegetation and stir up bottom nutrients and sediments. These resuspended bottom nutrients are then returned to the water body's ecosystem and result in increased turbidity.

Some Orange County boating regulations that you should be aware of are:

1. Children under six years of age must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while in a boat.

2. All skiers, knee boarders, etc. must wear a life jacket while being pulled behind the boat.

3. When pulling a person behind the boat, you must have either a wide angle ski mirror or another per-son in the boat.

4. As a courtesy to other boaters when pulling a skier, you should drive in a counter-clockwise direction.

5. Bow riding is prohibited.

6. All boats must contain the proper safety equipment, which depends on the size of the boat. For a complete list of these regulations, contact the Orange County Sheriffs Office Marine Patrol Unit.

7. Operation of a boat or skiing while impaired or intoxicated from alcohol or drugs is prohibited.

8. All mechanically propelled boats must be registered with the state.

9. All canals on the Butler Chain of Lakes have an idle speed or no wake speed limit. This also applies to motoring within 100 feet of the shoreline, weed line or dock extension except while picking up or dropping off a skier.

10. The following regulations apply to the operation of Personal Watercraft:

* No person under the age of 14 may operate a personal watercraft in the State of Florida.

*Each person riding on and/or being towed behind such vessel must wear an USCG approved personal flotation device.

*A Personal watercraft must at all times be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner.

For a complete listing of regulations regarding Personal Watercraft, contact the Orange County Sheriffs Office Marine Patrol Unit.

BOAT RENTALS Does your boating experience comply with all local requirements?
This page explains Florida's requirements and does not include all Federal requirements. You can learn the requirements in our Boating Skills and Seamanship course.
Age Restrictions:

Persons less than 14 years of age shall not operate a Personal Watercraft. No person younger than 18 can rent a PWC.

No person born after see above, may operate a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater unless he or she has in their possession a photographic identification and a boater safety identification card issued for successful completion of a Coast Guard approved boating safety course. Take our course to meet this requirement!

Personal Flotation Devices:

Every child under 6 years of age must wear a US Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (Life Jacket) on a vessel less than 26' while the vessel is underway.

PWC operators and passengers must wear an approved Type I, II, III or V PFD. Inflatable life jackets are prohibited when water skiing or operating a PWC.

Required PFDs must be readily accessible.

Personal Watercraft:

Persons less than 14 years of age shall not operate a Personal Watercraft (PWC). You must be at least 18 to rent a PWC in Florida. PWCs may not be operated from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

Each person on a Personal Watercraft must wear a Coast Guard approved PFD (inflatable's are prohibited). Additionally, the operator must wear a lanyard type cut off switch provided by the manufacturer which will shut off the PWC should the operator fall off.

The operator of a Personal Watercraft should operate in a reasonable and prudent manner. Maneuvering a personal watercraft by weaving through congested traffic, jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably close, or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed, or swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision is classified as reckless operation of a vessel (a first-degree misdemeanor).

It is unlawful for a person to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (a second-degree misdemeanor).

Speed Limits and Reckless Operation:

Any vessel operating in a speed zone posted as "Idle Speed - No Wake" must operate at the minimum speed that will maintain steerageway.

Any vessel operating in a speed zone posted as "Slow Down - Minimum Wake" must operate fully off plane and completely settled in water. The vessel's wake must not be excessive nor create a hazard to other vessels.

Anyone who operates a vessel with a willful disregard for the safety of persons or property will be cited for reckless operation (a first-degree misdemeanor).

All operators are responsible for operating their vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard for other vessel traffic, posted restrictions, in the presence of a diver-down flag, and other circumstances so as not to endanger other people or property. Failure to do so is considered careless operation.

Except in the event of an emergency, it is unlawful to moor or fasten to any lawfully placed navigation aid or regulatory marker.

A violation of the Federal Navigation Rules is also a violation of Florida law.

Manatee Awareness:

Every boater within the State of Florida should be forever mindful of the endangered manatee. One should operate in a prudent manner in and around known manatee habitats and should be cognizant of, and obey, designated manatee zone areas.

Boating While Intoxicated:

It is a violation of Florida law to operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. A vessel operator suspected of boating under the influence must submit to a sobriety test and a chemical test to determine blood or breath alcohol content.

In Florida, a vessel operator is presumed to be under the influence if their blood or breath alcohol content is at or above .08 percent.

Navigation Rules:

The State of Florida adopts and enforces all Federally mandated boating safety laws.

Every vessel operating in the State of Florida shall carry and use safety equipment in accordance with U. S. Coast Guard requirements as specified in the Code of Federal Regulations. Additionally, every vessel shall display the lights and shapes required by the navigation rules.

Diving and Snorkeling:

The size of divers-down flags displayed on vessels should be 20 inches by 24 inches, and a stiffener is required to keep the flag unfurled. Dive flags carried on floats may still be 12 by 12. Also, divers-down flags on vessels must be displayed so that the flag's visibility is not obstructed.

Divers shall attempt to stay within 100 feet of the divers-down flag on rivers, inlets and navigation channels. Vessels should stay at least 100 feet away from a divers-down flag.

On all waters other than rivers, inlets or navigation channels, divers must make a reasonable effort to stay within 300 feet of the divers-down flag; vessel operators must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of 300 feet on these waters.

Vessels may approach within 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets and navigation channels of a divers-down flag only at idle speed; approaching at higher speed is reckless operation.

Divers shall not, except in case of emergency, display the divers-down flag in an area which would constitute a navigational hazard.

Water Skiing:

The operator of a vessel towing someone on skies or another aquaplaning device must either have an observer, in addition to the operator, on board who is attendant to the actions of the skier or have and use a wide-angle rearview mirror.

No one may ski or aquaplane between the hours of 1/2 hour past sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

No one may water ski or use another aquaplaning device unless they are wearing a USCG approved type I, II, III or non-inflatable type V personal flotation device. Inflatable PFDs are prohibited.

No one may ski or use another aquaplaning device while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

The operator of a vessel towing a skier may not pull the skier close enough to a fixed object or another vessel that there is risk of collision.

Accident Reporting:

Any accident involving death, disappearance or personal injury, or damage greater than $500 must be reported. A "boating accident" includes, but is not limited to, capsizing, collision, foundering, flooding, fire, explosion and the disappearance of a vessel other than by theft. Accidents should be reported immediately. Report accidents by the quickest means possible to one of the following: the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, the sheriff of the county in which the accident occurred, or the police chief of the municipality in which the accident occurred, if applicable.

It is unlawful for any person operating a vessel involved in a boating accident to leave the scene without giving all possible aid to the involved persons and without reporting the accident to the proper authorities.

Registration/Documentation:

All vessels operated on the waters of Florida must be registered and/or numbered in Florida, except as follows:

  • Vessels used exclusively on private lakes or ponds
  • Vessels owned by the Federal Government
  • Vessels used exclusively as life boats
  • Non-motor powered vessels
  • Vessels with a current number from another state or country temporarily using Florida waters. (Less than 90 consecutive days.)
  • Vessels newly purchased in Florida (less than 30 days).
  • All registrations must be renewed each year in the birth month of the owner. Apply for your title and registration with the state tax collectors.

In addition, all vessels, except documented vessels and non-motor-powered vessels less than 16 feet, must be titled in Florida.

You will need to know your Hull I.D. number to title and register your boat. If you have a homemade boat, contact the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or your tax collector's office for a HIN.

Upon registration, you will be issued a certificate of number and a validation decal. The certificate must be on board whenever the boat is used. The boat's number must be properly displayed as follows on both port and starboard side.

The validation decal must be displayed within six inches of the number on the port side either before or after the numbers.

This page is only a summary of Florida laws. They are subject to change. It is the responsibility of the operator to be aware of the most current laws when using a boat. Certain bodies of water in Florida may have local restrictions as to type and size of watercraft or motor horsepower, restricted use areas, boat speed, and times for use. Check with the local authorities for these additional restrictions. To learn the laws in their entirety, contact:
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
620 S. Meridian Street
Tallahassee FL 32399-1600
850-488-4676
Take our Boating Skills and Seamanship course.   Boating Laws Orange County Boating Regulations   Generally. (1) All boats shall carry the safety equipment required by F.S. § 327.50. Each child under the age of six (6) years who is a passenger in a boat shall wear a Coast Guard approved lifesaving device at all times. (2) Each person being towed by a boat shall wear a Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III lifesaving device suitable for such use. The provisions of this subsection (2) do not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition or a person preparing to participate or participating in an official regatta, boat race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition. (b) Class A motorboats. All Class A motorboats (those motorboats less than sixteen (16) feet in length) shall have the following safety and lighting equipment: (1) Safety equipment: a.  One (1) wearable lifesaving device in good and serviceable 1. condition approved by the Coast Guard per each person aboard. 2. Each person being towed by a motorboat shall wear a Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III lifesaving device suitable for such use. The provisions of this subsection 2. do not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition or a person preparing to participate or participating in an official regatta, boat race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition. b. One (1) oar or paddle. Personal watercraft are exempt from this provision. c. One (1) anchor and line in appropriate size and length. Personal watercraft are exempt from this provision. d. One (1) Coast Guard approved or Underwriters' Laboratory "Marine Type," Class B, Size I fire extinguisher. This is not required on boats propelled by outboard motor and not carrying passengers for hire, if the motorboat is of open construction. (2) Lighting requirements. Between sunset and sunrise the following lights shall be required: a. One (1) white light aft, such light not to be obstructed by any part of the vessel so as to be visible in all directions. b. One (1) combination red and green light on fore part of boat showing green to starboard (right) and red to port (left), so fixed as to show the light from dead ahead to ten (10) points off the beam on their respective sides. c. Any boat may carry and exhibit the lights required by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea in lieu of the lights prescribed in this section. (c) Class I Motorboats. All Class I motorboats (motorboats sixteen (16) feet or greater in length) shall have the following safety and lighting equipment: (1)

Safety equipment: a.  One (1) wearable lifesaving device in good serviceable 1. condition, approved by the Coast Guard for each person on board and one (1) Coast Guard approved throwable flotation device in each boat. 2. Each person being towed by a motorboat shall wear a Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III lifesaving device suitable for such use. The provisions of this subsection 2. do not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition or a person preparing to participate or participating in an official regatta, boat race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition. b. One (1) Coast Guard approved or Underwriters' Laboratory "Marine Type," Class B, Size I fire extinguisher. This is not required on boats propelled by an outboard motor and not carrying passengers for hire, if the motorboat is of open construction. c. One (1) anchor and line of appropriate size and length. d. One (1) hand- or power-operated whistle or horn capable of producing a blast of two-second duration and audible for a distance of one-half mile. (2) Lighting requirements. Between sunset and sunrise the following lights shall be required: a. One (1) white light aft, such light not to be obstructed by any part of the vessel so as to be visible in all directions. b. One (1) combination red and green light on fore part of boat showing green to starboard (right) and red to port (left), so fixed as to show the light from dead ahead to ten (10) points off the beam on their respective sides. c. Any motorboat may carry and exhibit lights required by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea in lieu of the lights prescribed in this section. (d) All boats—Night light. Between sunset and sunrise every boat or motorboat shall carry a lighting device capable of shining a white light around the horizon (three hundred sixty (360) degrees) and shall display such light in sufficient time as to avoid a collision with another vessel. (e) Same—Lifesaving devices. Every boat or motorboat shall be equipped with at least one (1) adequate wearable lifesaving device for every occupant. (Code 1965, § 4-4 ; Ord. No. 83-37, § 4, 9-19-83; Ord. No. 85-29, § 1, 10-7-85; Ord. No. 87-20, § 1, 6-29-87; Ord. No. 95-19, § 2, 7-25-95) Sec. 8-31. - General operation of boats and personal watercraft. (a) All boats and motorboats shall, whenever possible, keep at least three hundred (300) feet behind any boat towing a skier and shall stay clear of, by at least one hundred (100) feet, any boat or motorboat anchored or used for fishing. When a ski jump is in use, all other boats shall, whenever possible, stay at least one hundred (100) feet away on either side and five hundred (500) feet behind the ski jump. (b) No person shall operate any boat recklessly, overload any boat, indulge in any motorboat race, make sudden turns at excessive speed, follow too closely to other boats, or operate any boat in such a way that it may endanger other boats, life or property. (c) All motorboat operators shall sit within the confines of the boat and shall require that their passengers do likewise. Bowriding and gunwhale riding are strictly prohibited. (d) Care shall be taken by the operators of all motorboats and personal watercraft to prevent damage from their wash, bow wave or stern wave, or from objects towed by such boats to other boats, docks, piers, shorelines and boathouses. Boats, motorboats and personal watercraft shall not create a wake while operating within a canal, or within one hundred (100) feet of the shoreline, docks, piers, bridges or boathouses, or any other object arising from the water (excluding ski jumps or slalom courses) except when picking up or dropping off a waterskier. The one hundred-foot distance shall be measured from the boat, motorboat or personal watercraft itself or from any extension thereof, including but not limited to, a skier, aquaplane or other device being towed. (e) All boats and motorboats towing water skiers, aquaplanes or other devices shall operate in a counterclockwise direction of the waterway whenever possible. (Code 1965, § 4-5 ; Ord. No. 83-37, § 5, 9-19-83; Ord. No. 95-19, § 3, 7-25-95) Sec. 8-32. - Speed limits; posting. The board of county commissioners may, by resolution, impose a speed limit on any waterway when it is determined that a speed limit is necessary to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the county. Such speed limit shall be lawfully posted in or near the waterway in a location to be visible to the public. (Code 1965, § 4-6; Ord. No. 83-37, § 6, 9-19-83) State law reference— Violation of speed limits, F.S. § 327.33(2). Sec. 8-33. - Personal watercraft. (a) Personal watercraft under power shall keep at least three hundred (300) feet behind any boat towing a skier and shall stay clear of, by at least one hundred (100) feet, any vessel anchored or used for fishing or otherwise not under power. When a ski jump is in use, all personal watercraft shall stay clear of the area three hundred (300) feet on either side and five hundred (500) feet ahead of, and five hundred (500) feet behind, the ski jump. (b) Personal watercraft are prohibited on ski jumps not explicitly designated for their use. (c) No person shall create a wake while operating a personal watercraft within one hundred (100) feet of any persons in the water. (d) No person shall operate a personal watercraft while exceeding the manufacturer's recommended maximum weight or number of occupants. (Ord. No. 95-19, § 4, 7-25-95) Sec. 8-34. - Swimmers and skin divers. (a) No person shall swim from the shore more than one hundred (100) feet unless accompanied by a boat or identified by a standard buoy and flag. (b) No person shall scuba or skin dive unless identified by a standard scuba or skin diving flag.   BOATING REGULATIONS Some Orange County boating regulations that you should be aware of are: 1. Children under six years of age must wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket while in a boat. 2. All skiers, knee boarders, etc. must wear a life jacket while being pulled behind the boat. 3. When pulling a person behind the boat, you must have either a wide angle ski mirror or another per-son in the boat. 4. As a courtesy to other boaters when pulling a skier, you should drive in a counter-clockwise direction. 5. Bow riding is prohibited. 6. All boats must contain the proper safety equipment, which depends on the size of the boat. For a complete list of these regulations, contact the Orange County Sheriffs Office Marine Patrol Unit. 7. Operation of a boat or skiing while impaired or intoxicated from alcohol or drugs is prohibited. 8. All mechanically propelled boats must be registered with the state. 9. All canals on the Butler Chain of Lakes have an idle speed or no wake speed limit. This also applies to motoring within 100 feet of the shoreline, weed line or dock extension except while picking up or dropping off a skier. 10. The following regulations apply to the operation of Personal Watercraft: * No person under the age of 14 may operate a personal watercraft in the State of Florida. *Each person riding on and/or being towed behind such vessel must wear an USCG approved personal flotation device. *A Personal watercraft must at all times be operated in a reasonable and prudent manner.

          • For a complete listing of regulations regarding Personal Watercraft, contact the Orange County Sheriffs Office Marine Patrol Unit.
 

 

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