Did you know people across the United States purchased nearly 150,000 fishing boats in 2020? As you might guess, a large portion of these boats was purchased by people who live in Florida. In order to go boating in Florida legally, however, you will need a Florida boater’s license.
Although it might seem difficult at first, it’s much easier than you think to do so. Let’s explore everything you need to know about how to get a boating license in Florida.
Understand What Type of License You Need
The first step to getting your Florida boater’s license is to determine what type of license you need. As with most states, Florida has different types of boating licenses depending on the size and horsepower of your boat. In general, most boats will fall into one of these three categories:
- Personal watercraft (PWC) – These are small motorized boats that can seat up to 3 people, such as jet skis.
- Class A boats – These are larger motorized boats that can seat more than 3 people.
- Class B boats – These are non-motorized boats, such as sailboats or kayaks.
If you plan on operating a PWC, you will need to get a separate license called a PWC operator’s license.
You can apply for this type of license if you are at least 14 years old. If you want to operate a Class A or Class B boat, you will need to get a boater safety ID card.
You can apply for this card if you are at least 14 years old and have a boating safety education identification number (BSEN). To get your BSEN, you will first need to complete a boater education course.
These courses are offered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and are designed to teach people about safe boating practices. The cost of the course varies depending on the provider, but it is typically around $30.
You can find a list of approved providers on the FWC website. Once you have completed the course, you will receive a certificate of completion that you can use to apply for your BSEN.
You can check out this resource to learn more about how you use a boat even if you don’t own one: freedomboatclub.com
Take a Boaters Education Course
Before you can get your BSEN, you will need to take a boater safety education course. This course will teach you about the safe operation of boats, as well as how to follow local and federal laws regarding boating.
Some of the topics that will be covered in the course include:
- Safe driving practices for different types of boats
- The dangers of drugs and alcohol while boating
- How to properly navigate in different weather conditions
- What to do in case of an emergency
Even if you feel as though you are already experienced with boating, it’s essential to take a course in order to refresh this crucial information.
Adhere to Boating Regulations
There are many laws and regulations that govern boating in Florida. It is important to familiarize yourself with these laws before you get on the water, as failure to do so could result in a fine or even jail time.
Some of the more important laws that you should be aware of include:
- All boats must be registered with the state of Florida in order to be used on the water.
- PWCs are required to have a 10-foot-long safety lanyard attached at all times. This lanyard must be worn by the driver and will automatically shut off the engine if it becomes detached from the boat.
- Boaters are required to travel at slow speeds in certain areas, such as in the Intracoastal Waterway and within 100 feet of a boat ramp.
- All boats must carry appropriate safety equipment, including life jackets and fire extinguishers.
If you infringe upon these regulations, you may lose your Boating license as a result.
Getting a Boating License in Florida Is Easier Than You Think
As long as you follow the above guidelines, you’ll be sure to obtain your boating license in Florida with ease.
This will also help ensure that you avoid complications in the future. Looking for other lifestyle information that can help you out? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog.