2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXIV VESSELS
Chapter 327 VESSEL SAFETY
SECTION 395Boating safety education.
327.395 Boating safety education.—
(1) A person born on or after January 1, 1988, may not operate a vessel powered by a motor of 10 horsepower or greater unless such person has in his or her possession aboard the vessel the documents required by subsection (2).
(2) While operating a vessel, a person identified under subsection (1) must have in his or her possession aboard the vessel photographic identification and a Florida boating safety identification card issued by the commission; a state-issued identification card or driver license indicating possession of the Florida boating safety identification card; or photographic identification and a temporary certificate issued or approved by the commission, an International Certificate of Competency, a boating safety card or certificate from another state or United States territory, or a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Card, which shows that he or she has:
(a) Completed a commission-approved boating safety education course that meets the minimum requirements established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators;
(b) Passed a temporary certificate examination developed or approved by the commission;
(c) A valid International Certificate of Competency; or
(d) Completed a boating safety education course or equivalency examination in another state, a United States territory, or Canada which meets or exceeds the minimum requirements established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
(3)(a) A person may obtain a Florida boating safety identification card by successfully completing a boating safety education course that meets the requirements of this section and rules adopted by the commission pursuant to this section.
(b) A person may obtain a temporary certificate by passing a temporary certificate examination that meets the requirements of this section and rules adopted by the commission pursuant to this section.
(4) A commission-approved boating safety education course or temporary certificate examination developed or approved by the commission must include components regarding:
(a) Diving vessels, awareness of divers in the water, divers-down warning devices, and the requirements of s. 327.331.
(b) The danger associated with:
1. A passenger riding on a seat back, gunwale, transom, bow, motor cover, or any other vessel area not designed and designated by the manufacturer for seating.
2. A passenger falling overboard.
3. Operating a vessel with a person in the water near the vessel.
4. Starting a vessel with the engine in gear.
5. Leaving the vessel running when a passenger is boarding or disembarking.
(c) The proper use and lifesaving benefits of an engine cutoff switch for motorboats and personal watercraft.
The commission must include the components under this subsection in boating safety education campaigns and in educational materials produced by the commission, as appropriate.
(5) A Florida boating safety identification card issued to a person who has completed a boating safety education course is valid for life. A temporary certificate issued to a person who has passed a temporary certification examination is valid for 90 days after the date of issuance. The commission may issue either the boating safety identification card or the temporary certificate in a digital, electronic, or paper format.
(6) A person is exempt from subsection (1) if he or she:
(a)1. Is licensed by the United States Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel; or
2. Has been previously licensed by the United States Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel, provides proof of such licensure to the commission, and requests that a boating safety identification card be issued in his or her name.
(b) Operates a vessel only on a private lake or pond.
(c) Is accompanied in the vessel by a person who is exempt from this section or who holds a boating safety identification card in compliance with this section, who is 18 years of age or older, and who is attendant to the operation of the vessel and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel and for any violation that occurs during the operation of the vessel.
(d) Is a nonresident who has in his or her possession photographic identification and proof that he or she has completed a boating safety education course or equivalency examination in another state or a United States territory which meets or exceeds the minimum requirements established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
(e) Is operating a vessel within 90 days after the purchase of that vessel and has available for inspection aboard that vessel a bill of sale meeting the requirements of s. 328.46(1).
(f) Is operating a vessel within 90 days after completing a boating safety education course in accordance with paragraph (2)(a) and has a photographic identification card and a boating safety education certificate available for inspection as proof of having completed a boating safety education course. The boating safety education certificate must provide, at a minimum, the student’s first and last name, the student’s date of birth, and the date that he or she passed the course examination.
(g) Is exempted by rule of the commission.
(7) A person who operates a vessel in violation of this section commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in s. 327.73.
(8) The commission shall institute and coordinate a statewide program of boating safety instruction and certification to ensure that boating safety courses and examinations are available in each county of this state. The commission may appoint agents to administer the boating safety education course or temporary certificate examination and may authorize the agents to issue temporary certificates in digital, electronic, or paper format. An agent shall charge and collect the $2 fee required in subsection (9) for each temporary certificate requested of the commission by that agent, which must be forwarded to the commission. The agent may charge and keep a service fee.
(9) The commission may establish and collect a $2 fee for each card and temporary certificate issued pursuant to this section.
(10) The commission shall design forms and adopt rules pursuant to chapter 120 to implement this section.
(11) This section may be cited as the “Osmany ‘Ozzie’ Castellanos Boating Safety Education Act.”
History.—s. 1, ch. 96-187; s. 24, ch. 99-245; s. 13, ch. 2000-362; s. 35, ch. 2005-2; s. 9, ch. 2009-86; s. 2, ch. 2011-152; s. 2, ch. 2014-138; s. 3, ch. 2016-4; s. 2, ch. 2016-171; s. 1, ch. 2019-54; s. 11, ch. 2021-184; s. 3, ch. 2022-197.