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Florida’s Boating Under the Influence Laws and Age Limits on Operating a Vessel


Although boating in Florida can be done all year long, boating season is starting to crank up with Memorial Day Weekend approaching and summer months just ahead. Boating can be good fun for the whole family but be aware that no one under the age of 14 may operate a watercraft in Florida at any time, even if he/she possesses a Florida Boating Safety Education Card.

It is recommended that boaters at any age to obtain a Florida Boating Safety Education Card, but if you were born after January 1, 1988 and plan to operate a watercraft in Florida, you are required to possess this verification card. You can acquire your Florida Boating Safety Education Card online and for free. Another age barrier to be aware of is that no one under the age of 18 is legally allowed to rent or lease a watercraft.

Boating Under the Influence

We all know the incredible dangers that come with drinking and driving; the risks of arrest, property damage, and serious personal injury or even death. Yet, even with these risks widely known, there were still 676 drunk driving fatalities last year in the state of Florida alone. Now that we’re deep into the summer months, many people are trading time on the road with time on the water, enjoying the many great boating and fishing spots all over the Central Florida area.

With that in mind, there are some key Florida laws and independent regulations that you should know before boating under the influence.

  • Boating under the influence is against the law. Just like driving under the influence, if you test at or higher than a .08 while operating a vessel, you are breaking the law.
  • Open container laws are not as simple as you think. In open water, open container laws are ineffective. However, in many private waters you may be ticketed if open alcohol containers are not allowed on that property.
  • Being convicted of boating under the influence is a serious offense. For your first conviction, you face up to $1,000 in fines and 6 months of jail time. By your third violation, you could face up to 12 months of imprisonment.

The safe bet? If you want to enjoy some drinks, do so on the mainland with a designated driver. It is not worth the fines, serious jail time, injuries or deaths that could be caused by letting your summer fun turn reckless while boating.

If you, a friend or loved one is injured due to the recklessness of an intoxicated boater, please do not hesitate to contact us to speak with an attorney at 407-841-7699. For additional resources, keep checking our blog, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more helpful hints and to always be informed about best practices in law.

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Wieland & DeLattre
226 Hillcrest St.
P.O. Box 944
Orlando, FL 32802

Phone: 407-841-7699
Phone: 321-639-4777
Fax: 407-841-2084
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