It's the Law


In addition to the laws mentioned previously, here are some other Florida regulations that apply when vessel operators are on Florida's waters.

Unlawful Operation


Florida law states that it is unlawful to operate a vessel in a reckless or dangerous manner. Specifically, the law designates these operating practices as illegal.

Reckless or Careless Operation of a vessel or manipulation of water skis, aquaplanes, or similar devices is the failure to exercise the care necessary to prevent the endangerment of life, limb, or property of any person. Some examples are:

  • Boating in restricted areas without regard for other boaters or persons, posted speeds and wake restrictions, divers-down warning devices, etc.
  • Failing to follow the navigation rules
Do not allow passengers to ride where there may be a chance of the person falling over the side or out of the vessel.

Improper Speed is operating at speeds greater than posted speeds and that are not reasonable and prudent based on boating traffic, weather conditions, visibility, or other potential hazards. If no limits are posted, you should operate a vessel so that it does not endanger others. Vessel speed always should be maintained so that the vessel can be stopped safely. Specifically, it is illegal to:

  • Operate at a rate of speed that endangers the life or property of any person.
  • Operate at greater than "idle speed, no wake" in a posted "no wake" zone.

Exceeding Maximum Loading or Horsepower is the failure of a vessel operator to ensure that his or her vessel is loaded safely and not overpowered. Florida law prohibits a person from operating a monohull vessel less than 20 feet in length while exceeding the maximum weight, persons, or horsepower capacity as displayed on the capacity plate installed by the vessel manufacturer.

Riding on the Bow, Deck, or Gunwale is allowing anyone to ride on the bow, gunwale, transom, seat backs, seats on raised decks, or any other place on the vessel where there may be a chance of the person falling over the side or out of the vessel.