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How Different Are Boating Laws from Roadway Laws

Posted By Law Offices of Russ E. Robbins, P.A. || 10-Jun-2015

If you are planning on taking out the boat to enjoy the warm weather and beautiful water this season, our firm wants to make sure you know your rights and the laws regulating your summer fun. Just like when driving a vehicle, there are certain regulations and rules you must follow to avoid facing fines and other serious penalties. So what should you keep in mind before bringing your boat out to the water? Attorney Russ E. Robbins is here to give you the insight you need to grasp Florida’s boating laws and how they may differ from what you’re used to when behind the wheel of a car instead.

What to Know When Driving Your Boat

Just like when you want to drive a car or truck on the road, you need specific qualifications to drive a boat. This means you must have passed a boater exam and earned your Florida Boasting Safety Education I.D. Card. The course is somewhat simpler than the typical driving courses you must take to get a driver’s license. You can also drive a boat without Florida boater’s license, so long as you are accompanied by a person who is qualified (such as exempt or possesses a license).

Other restrictions and laws you need to be aware of:

  • Speed restrictions: If you are in a speed zone marked as “Idle Speed – No Wake,” you must not exceed the minimum speed allowed. In areas marked “Slow Down – Minimum Wake,” you must operate off plane and completely settled. If your wake is excessive or creates hazards to others, you could face consequences.
  • Boating under the influence: It is illegal to operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol. The same restrictions for DUI are applied, with a blood alcohol level of .08 or above being considered illegal. If you are under the age of 21 and found with a level of .02 or above, you can also be charged.

In addition, all boaters are expected to operate their boat safely and with consideration to those around them. If a person is found to be operating a vessel recklessly or carelessly, waterway authorities may penalize them for violating the laws.

Have questions? Need counsel following a fine for violation some type of boating law? Contact our firm today!

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