It is mandatory for an owner or operator of a Florida-registered vessel to carry, store, maintain, and use the safety equipment that is required by the federal specifications. The US Coast Guard has also adopted these guidelines.
Boats under 16 feet in length traveling in coastal waters between sunset and sunrise must carry visual distress signals approved by the US Coast Guard. For boats that are 16 feet or longer, at least three visual distress signals approved by the US Coast Guard must be carried for daytime and nighttime use. Visual distress signals that are electronic are readily available for nighttime use and are also permissible.
Boats must carry noise-producing signals such as a referee’s whistle, which is loud enough to be heard from a distance. However, the use of sirens is prohibited unless specifically permitted by law.
The safety of recreational vessels, including personal watercraft, depends on the display of navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and at any time when visibility is limited. Every vessel, including personal watercraft, must meet lighting requirements specified in US Coast Guard Navigation Rules. It is prohibited to use flashing, occulting, or revolving lights, except as authorized by law.
If the boat contains a built-in fuel tank or enclosed compartments where gasoline fumes can accumulate, at least one marine-approved fire extinguisher must be carried.
There are times when divers are out in the water, but no divers-down flag is displayed, making it challenging to observe Florida’s dive safety regulations. A divers-down flag must be displayed when a person is submerged in water and wearing a face mask, snorkel, or underwater breathing apparatus.
There are several rules for divers-down flags, including:
The engine cutoff switch lanyard is the connection between the operator’s personal flotation device and the pocket of the engine cutoff switch. It may be attached to any part of the body, clothing, or personal flotation device.