Here’s what you need to know about enjoying a legal (and fun!) boat day in the Sunshine State.
For awesome water adventure, Florida is one of the best places in the country to head out on a boat. With over 12,000 miles of rivers, streams and canals, over 7,500 lakes and over 8,000 miles of ocean shoreline, heading out on a vessel is the very sweetest way to spend a Florida day. So one might wonder: do you need a license to drive a boat in Florida?
When it comes to legally boating in Florida, it’s important to stick to the rules and regulations put into place by the state. Florida’s boating safety education rules and regulations are a big deal. We’re sharing what you need to know about Florida’s boating license requirements so that you can get to the Florida’s waters safely and with confidence!
Do I need a license to drive a boat in Florida?
In Florida, there’s no such thing as an actual “boating license.” However, Florida does have rules around who can legally drive a boat in the state. Most Florida boaters are required to complete a boating safety education course, take and pass a boating safety test and obtain their boating safety cards. No matter what age you are or what boating safety requirements you fall under, all boaters in the Sunshine State are required to boat safely!
What are the age requirements to drive a boat in Florida?
Florida’s boater education law applies to boaters of a certain age. A boater education card is required to legally operate a boat with 10 horsepower or greater for any person born on or after January 1, 1988.
Do I need a License to Rent a Boat in Florida?
If you’re a visitor to Florida and you don’t meet the conditions to be exempted from the state’s requirements for mandatory boater education, you can get a temporary certificate in order to rent a boat during your visit. These certificates are valid for one year and are available from vendors located all over the state.
What are the fines/penalties for driving a boat without a license in Florida?
In Florida, boaters caught not complying with the boating safety education requirements could face a fine dependent on the incident.
What types of boats need a licensed driver in Florida?
All boat operators of vessels that have 10 horsepower or greater require a boater education card if they were born on or after January 1, 1988.
How do I get a boating license in Florida?
Though Florida boaters don’t need an official boating license, they need to meet boating education requirements. Luckily, BOATsmart! is all about simplicity and effectiveness. Obtain your card in just three steps:
- Take the BOATsmart! Florida Boating Safety Course online
- Pass your online Florida Boating Safety Test.
- Print your temporary certificate immediately, and get on the water.
Are there any exceptions to needing a boating license in Florida?
In Florida, the following people are exempt from following the boater education regulations:
- A person licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard as a 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 non-resident who has in their possession proof that they have completed a NASBLA-approved boater safety course or equivalency examination from another state.
- A person is operating a vessel within 90 days after purchasing 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), 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. (Effective Oct. 1, 2011.)
Boating days in the Sunshine State can offer unlimited hours and days of fun in the sun — and we want you to maximize your time in the water. Our narrated, engaging and animated boating safety courses are built specifically to get you educated to get you to the water, faster!