There is nothing quite like spending a day out on the water. Enjoying the warmth of the sun and time with friends or family on the water is a favorite past time in Jacksonville, Florida.
Do you own or operate a boat in Jacksonville, Florida? There are specific Jacksonville, FL maritime and boating laws you need to know.
Florida Maritime and Boating Laws All Boaters Need to Know
Before you set sail, make sure to familiarize yourself with local maritime and boating laws. Here is what you need to know before heading out for a day on the water.
Boating Registration Requirements
In Florida, all boats must be registered within 30 days of purchase at the County Tax Collector’s Office. Once the boat has been registered, the registration decal should be affixed to the hull on the port side of the boat.
Vessels exempt from registration include:
- Non-powered boats less than 16 feet, including canoes, kayaks, or racing shells
- Vessels owned by the US Government
- Boats registered in other states that remain in Florida for less than 90 days
Within the first 30 days after purchase, vessels may use their bill of sale instead of registration.
Boating Safety Requirements
Any boat operator who is under the age of 18 and operating a boat with 10 or more horsepower must pass a boating safety course. Also, all boats must have “readily available” life jackets approved by the US Coast Guard on board. The number of required life jackets varies based on the size of the boat and the number of passengers. View the required safety equipment based on boat size here.
Children six years of age and younger must wear a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket all times while on board unless the boat is more than 26 feet in length.
Other safety requirements on Florida boats:
- Vessels longer than 16 feet are required by law to have a throwable personal flotation device.
- All boats must have an “efficient sound producing device,” such as a whistle.
- Boats must use navigational lights whenever visibility is reduced, such as sunset, evening, sunrise, and foggy or rainy conditions.
- Boats with built-in fuel tanks are required to have a marine-approved fire extinguisher.
Boating Accident Reporting Laws
If you are involved in a boating accident, Florida law requires you to report the accident as soon as possible to the police or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. You must provide “all possible care” to any persons involved in the accident before leaving the scene of the boating accident.
You do not need to report a boating accident if the injuries require basic first aid care or result in less than $2,000 in property damage.
Boating Speed Regulations
There are no set speed limits for boats; however, boat operators should not create an excessive or dangerous wake. You must adhere to posted wake zones, for example, “No wake” or “Minimum Wake” zones.
Boating Muffler Requirements
All boating vessels are required to have a muffling device by Florida law. These devices are designed to quiet the sound of an engine, permitting the operator and passengers of the boat to communicate and hear, for example, warning shouts.
Boating While Drinking or Under the Influence of Drugs
Just like drinking while driving, it is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Boating operators over the age of 21 must not have a blood alcohol content higher than .08. Operators under the age of 21 must not have a blood alcohol content higher than .02.
Manatee Protection Laws
Florida and federal law prohibit harassing, hunting, capturing or killing any marine animal, including manatees. Any action that disrupts a manatee’s normal behavior can result in prison time and hefty fines. Boaters should avoid designated manatee protection zones.
In Florida, seagrass serves as a principal food source for several species of endangered marine life. It so serves as a natural filter, making it critical to the safety of Florida waters.
Boating operators should avoid seagrass bed whenever possible. Damaging seagrass is a punishable offense in some state waters.
Have You Been Injured? Contact a Boating Accident Attorney Today
If you were injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for your injuries. At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, we offer responsive, caring legal care for boating accident victims.
Contact our team today at 1-800-747-3733 for a free review of your case.