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What are the boating laws in the state of Florida?

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Quick Answer

In the state of Florida, most boating vessels need to obtain registration through the local tax collector’s office, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Some exceptions to this rule include kayaks, canoes without motors, rowing sculls and vessels less than 16 feet in length.

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Full Answer

For boats that require registration, the vessels must have the Certificate of Registration visible, says Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The registration decal needs to be renewed every year. If someone is involved in a boating accident involving serious injury, death or, disappearance of a person, or extensive property damage, he must immediately inform the local sheriff, police chief or the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This person must also not leave the scene of the accident if he is involved, whether he is the victim or the person at fault.

By law in Florida, authorities charge a person who operates a boat and acts out of carelessness or recklessness with a first-degree misdemeanor of reckless operation, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Anyone convicted of certain boating violations must take a mandatory education course approved by the state of Florida.

In Florida, there are speed zones posted that all vessel operators must follow, says Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. There are minimum and maximum posted speeds, called Idle Speed No Wake and Slow Down MInimum Wake, respectively. Regardless of speed postings, the boat's wake must not pose a danger to other vessels.

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