Florida is one of 40 states in the country having educational and licensing requirements for anyone desiring to operate a boat or personal water craft on bodies of water in the state. The statute applies to anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 and is restricted to crafts equipped with a motor having 10 or more horsepower. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission also mandates that anyone operating a water craft must carry the Boating Safety Education Identification Card and some form of personal identification having a photograph. However, individuals are not required to have a state issued driver’s license in order to obtain the boater’s card. Many boaters who were born before the predetermined date take the course and acquire licensing to enjoy reduced costs on insurance.
State Age Restrictions
Florida prohibits anyone under the age of 14 from operating any type of personal water craft on state waters at any time regardless of the fact that individuals might have a Boating Safety Education Identification Card. The state also prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from leasing or renting a water craft. Boat and PWC owners must never knowingly allow an under-aged individual to operated a water vessel.
The Boater Safety Course
Prospective boaters may attend a traditional class or take an online course through the Boat-Ed website. Both options are court-approved and have the approval of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The online course requires that students complete the study material requirements and take the Florida Certification Examination. The process is free of charge until passing the course exam. Individuals who do not pass the first time may take the exam two more times. After completing and passing the examination, individuals pay the course fee and have the ability to print a temporary certificate. The Florida Game and Wildlife Commission permits boaters to operate a PWC while in possession of the temporary certificate. The permanent Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card arrives via conventional mail within three or four weeks.
Florida Law Enforcement
State officers regularly patrol to ensure the safety of all who engage in water-based activities in Florida. If confronted by Florida law enforcement officers, water vessel operators must have in their possession the Boater Education card and an acceptable form of identification. Failure to produce either form of identification may result in a fine. Likewise, water craft operators are expected to stay updated concerning state boating laws. Boats must also carry a copy of the Florida Boating Safety Handbook at all times. If you’ve been in a boating accident, especially if the other driver was not properly licensed, it’s important to contact our office today and get started on your case.