Florida's State Boating Laws

Florida’s Water Ski Regulations

Florida's Waterskiing Regulations

The following additional waterskiing regulations apply in Florida:

  • The operator of a vessel towing someone on skis or another aquaplaning device must either have an observer, in addition to the operator, on board who is attendant to the actions of the skier or have and use a wide-angle rear view mirror.
  • No one may ski or aquaplane between the hours of ½ hour past sunset to a ½ hour before sunrise.
  • No one may ski or use another aquaplaning device while impaired by alcohol or other drugs.

The operator of a vessel towing a skier may not pull the skier close enough to a fixed object or another vessel that there is risk of collision.

Florida’s Divers-Down Flag Requirements

  • The size of divers-down flags displayed on vessels must be at least 20 inches by 24 inches, and a stiffener is required to keep the flag unfurled. Divers-down flags on vessels must be displayed above the vessel’s highest point so that the flag’s visibility is not obstructed in any direction.
  • Diver-down symbols displayed from the water must be at least 12 inches by 12 inches and can be in the form of a flag or a buoy. The buoys must be three or four sided and have a divers-down symbol displayed on each of the flat sides. A divers-down buoy may not be used or displayed on a vessel.
  • Divers must make reasonable efforts to stay within 300 feet of a divers-down flag or buoy on open waters (all waterways other than rivers, inlets or navigation channels) and within 100 feet of a flag within rivers, inlets, or navigation channels.
  • Vessel operators must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from divers-down flags or buoys on open waters and at least 100 feet from flags or buoys on rivers, inlets or navigation channels. Vessels approaching divers-down flags or buoys closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets and navigation channels must slow to idle speed.
  • When divers are out of the water, a dive flag or buoy may not be displayed.

Marine Events in Florida

Florida law requires that any person directing the holding of a regatta, tournament, marine parade or exhibition, obtain a permit from the USCG if the event is being held in the navigable waters of the U.S. This person must also notify the county sheriff, or the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at least 15 days prior to any event taking place so that the appropriate arrangements can be made for safety and navigation.

This person is also responsible for providing adequate protection to the participants, spectators and other water users.