Who May Operate a Motorized Vessel
To operate a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater (including PWCs), a person who was born on or after January 1, 1988, must have completed a boater education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or passed an approved equivalency exam.
- Operators who are required to have completed a boating education course or exam must carry on board:
- His or her Boating Safety Education ID Card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and ...
- A photographic identification card.
- These operators are exempt from the boater education requirement:
- Persons licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a master of a vessel
- Persons operating on a private lake or pond
- Operators who are accompanied on board by a person who is exempt from the education requirement or by a person who is at least 18 years old, possesses the required identification cards, and is attendant to the operation of the vessel and responsible for any violation that occurs
- Persons operating a vessel within 90 days after purchase who have a bill of sale on board and available for inspection
No one under 14 years of age may operate any PWC on Florida waters at any time, even if such person possesses a Boating Safety Education ID Card.
No one under the age of 18 years may rent/lease a PWC.
It is also illegal for the owner of a PWC to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a PWC.
Changes to the Boating Safety Education ID Card Requirements as of October 1, 2011
Effective October 1, 2011, operators born on or after January 1, 1988, who are required to have completed a boating education course or equivalency exam (see above) must carry on board:
- His or her Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card and a photographic identification card or ...
- His or her course completion certificate showing successful completion of an FWC–approved boating safety course and a photographic identification card. The certificate:
- Must give the operator's first and last names, their date of birth, and the date they passed the course or equivalency exam and ...
- Is valid for up to 90 days from the day the certificate was issued and ...
- Is not a permanent replacement for the Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card.