SafetyBoatingArticle

Licensed To Drive

With year-round warm weather and thousands of miles of navigable waters, it is no surprise Florida is the undisputable fishing and boating capital of the world. However with welcoming conditions come crowded waterways, so it’s important to make sure operators stay safe by adhering to all of the rules and regulations.

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Photo: Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission

Currently, Florida law requires anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 to have a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card while operating a vessel powered by 10 HP or more. By passing an approved boating safety course you will be awarded a Boating Safety Education ID Card issued by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Valid for life, this card, along with a government issued photo ID, must be in your possession when operating a vessel under the aforementioned requirements.

No matter your age or experience, it will be in your best interest to take a safe boating class and obtain your Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card.

You may think that a mandatory license is simply another way for the government to increase revenue and revoke personal freedoms, but the facts are cut and dry. Like automobile operators, uneducated boat operators are extremely dangerous. To provide the continued safety and enjoyment of Florida’s waters it is critical we all utilize safe boating practices. Although the license is only required for teenagers and young adults, statistics prove that education and enforcement further enhance the safety of our waterways.

According to Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission statistics, middle-aged males with boating experience are the most likely to have accidents on the water. No matter your age or experience, it will be in your best interest to take a safe boating class and obtain your Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card. In addition to gaining a wealth of knowledge, you may also be entitled to substantial savings on your insurance policy.

Once you complete an approved online safety course you will receive a certificate of course completion. While waiting for your Boating Safety Education ID Card to arrive in the mail you can use your course completion certificate and standard photo ID for up to 90 days.

While everyone who enjoys boating should complete a safe boating course before casting off, there are some boaters who do not need a license to operate a vessel in state waters.

Those licensed by the U.S.C.G. and those accompanied by a person who is at least 18 years old and possesses the required Boating Safety Education ID Card do not require an ID card. In addition, those operating on a private lake or pond and those with a NASBLA-approved boater safety course or equivalent exam from another state do not need a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card. The bottom line is that we all need to utilize safe boating practices while keeping complete situational awareness. Enjoy the water and stay safe.

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