2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXIV VESSELS
Chapter 327 VESSEL SAFETY
SECTION 331Divers; definitions; divers-down warning device required; obstruction to navigation of certain waters; penalty.
327.331 Divers; definitions; divers-down warning device required; obstruction to navigation of certain waters; penalty.—
(1) As used in this section:
(a) “Diver” means a person who is wholly or partially submerged in the waters of the state and is equipped with a face mask and snorkel or underwater breathing apparatus.
(b) “Divers-down buoy” means a buoyant device, other than a vessel, which displays a divers-down symbol on three or four flat sides.
(c) “Divers-down flag” means a flag that displays a divers-down symbol and:
1. Is square or rectangular and has a divers-down symbol on each face.
2. Has white diagonal stripes on each face which begin at the top, staff-side of the flag and extend diagonally to the lower opposite corner.
3. If rectangular, is of a length that is not less than the height or more than 25 percent longer than the height.
4. Has a wire, or other stiffener, or is otherwise constructed to ensure that it remains fully unfurled and extended in the absence of a wind or breeze.
(d) “Divers-down symbol” means a rectangular or square red symbol with a white diagonal stripe. If rectangular, the length may not be less than the height or more than 25 percent longer than the height. The width of the stripe must be 25 percent of the height of the symbol and the stripes must be oriented in the same direction if multiple stripes are displayed.
(e) “Divers-down warning device” means a divers-down flag, buoy, or other similar warning device that:
1. Contains a divers-down symbol that is at least 12 inches by 12 inches in dimension when displayed from the water or at least 20 by 24 inches in dimension when displayed from a vessel;
2. Is designed for, and used by, divers and dive vessels as a means to notify nearby boaters of the presence of a diver in the waters of the immediate area; and
3. Is prominently visible when in use.
(f) “Underwater breathing apparatus” means any apparatus, whether self-contained or connected to a distant source of air or other gas, whereby a person wholly or partially submerged in water is enabled to obtain or reuse air or any other gas or gases for breathing without returning to the surface of the water.
(2) All divers must prominently display a divers-down warning device in the area in which the diving occurs, other than when diving in an area customarily used for swimming only. A divers-down buoy may not be used or displayed onboard a vessel.
(3) A diver or group of divers may not display one or more divers-down warning devices on a river, inlet, or navigation channel, except in case of emergency, in a manner that unreasonably constitutes a navigational hazard.
(4) Divers shall make reasonable efforts to stay within 100 feet of a divers-down warning device on rivers, inlets, and navigation channels. A person operating a vessel on a river, inlet, or navigation channel must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of at least 100 feet from any divers-down warning device.
(5) Divers must make reasonable efforts to stay within 300 feet of a divers-down warning device on all waters other than rivers, inlets, and navigation channels. A person operating a vessel on waters other than a river, inlet, or navigation channel must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from any divers-down warning device.
(6) A vessel other than a law-enforcement or rescue vessel that approaches within 100 feet of a divers-down warning device on a river, inlet, or navigation channel, or within 300 feet of a divers-down warning device on waters other than a river, inlet, or navigation channel, must proceed no faster than is necessary to maintain headway and steerageway.
(7) A divers-down warning device may not be displayed once all divers are aboard or ashore. A person may not operate any vessel displaying a divers-down warning device unless the vessel has one or more divers in the water.
(8) A divers-down warning device displayed from a vessel must be displayed from the highest point of the vessel or another location that ensures that the visibility of the divers-down warning device is not obstructed from any direction.
History.—ss. 1, 2, 3, ch. 74-344; s. 64, ch. 74-383; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 86-35; ss. 7, 8, ch. 2000-362; s. 1, ch. 2014-138; s. 1, ch. 2016-171.
Note.—Former s. 861.065.