Requirements for Boater Safety Regulations

Mandatory Educational Requirements for Operating Motorboats 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission requires that individuals born on or after January 1, 1988, who operate boats with more than ten horsepower pass a boater safety course and possess a photo ID and a Boater Safety Identification Card while operating the vessel.  

This rule is subject to the following exceptions:

  • When the operator is accompanied on board by an individual who is responsible for ensuring the vessel’s safe operation, and that person is either: 18 years of age and has an ID card, is exempt from the educational requirements, or is licensed as a master of a vessel by the US Coast Guard.
  • When a non-resident of Florida operating a boat who has completed a boater safety course approved by the NASBLA or an equivalent exam in another state
  • When a person is operating a boat within 90 days of the vessel being purchased and has a bill of sale that meets all legal requirements onboard 
  • When the person operates a boat on a private lake or pond
  • When a person is operating a boat within 90 days of completing an approved safety course and possessing a photo ID and proof of completion of a boater education course 

Mandatory Violator Education Requirements

All individuals convicted of criminal boating violations, boating infractions resulting in a reportable boating accident, or two non-criminal boating safety violations within 12 months must complete the Mandatory Violator Education Requirements successfully. It is illegal for an operator to operate a vessel in Florida unless proof of course completion is submitted to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

In general, two types of education courses may be required. The violator can select from various NASBLA/State of Florida-approved boating safety courses as a first option. There is also a second type of course that is specifically designed for violators. Unlike the first type, it is available online, and only one course is approved for violators.

According to the type and number of violations, a violator may be required to take only one course or both courses.

Boat Rental Facility Requirements

It is prohibited for rental facilities to rent crafts without the proper safety equipment that exceeds recommended horsepower and load capacity or is not seaworthy.

While our boats are equipped to sail safely in various conditions, there is always an element of risk involved when renting a boat. It is imperative that you can provide pre-rental or pre-ride instructions for any vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or more to include operational details, safe operation, right-of-way, operator responsibilities, and the characteristics of the local waterway.

Boating safety courses approved by NASBLA must be completed by the person providing pre-rental guidance. The course must include classroom time, practical field exercises, and behind-the-wheel instruction.

When renting personal watercraft, you must be at least 18 years old and have the proper licensing to operate these crafts. No one under 18 will be allowed to rent a personal watercraft. Additionally, renters must complete an on-water safety demonstration before taking their ride and pass a written test that ensures they can safely operate the craft.



Take My Boat exam on a tablet