2021 Florida Statutes

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Title XXIV VESSELS
Chapter 327 VESSEL SAFETY
SECTION 463Special hazards.


327.463 Special hazards.
(1) For purposes of this section, a vessel:
(a) Is operating at slow speed, minimum wake only if it is:
1. Fully off plane and completely settled into the water; and
2. Proceeding without wake or with minimum wake.

A vessel that is required to operate at slow speed, minimum wake may not proceed at a speed greater than a speed that is reasonable and prudent to avoid the creation of an excessive wake or other hazardous condition under the existing circumstances.

(b) Is not proceeding at slow speed, minimum wake if it is:
1. Operating on plane;
2. In the process of coming off plane and settling into the water or getting on plane; or
3. Operating at a speed that creates a wake that unreasonably or unnecessarily endangers other vessels.
(2) A person may not operate a vessel faster than slow speed, minimum wake within 300 feet of any emergency vessel, including, but not limited to, a law enforcement vessel, United States Coast Guard vessel, or firefighting vessel, when such emergency vessel’s emergency lights are activated.
(3)(a) A person may not operate a vessel faster than slow speed, minimum wake within 300 feet of any construction vessel or barge when the vessel or barge is displaying an orange flag from a pole extending:
1. At least 10 feet above the tallest portion of the vessel or barge, indicating that the vessel or barge is actively engaged in construction operations; or
2. At least 5 feet above any superstructure permanently installed upon the vessel or barge, indicating that the vessel or barge is actively engaged in construction operations.
(b) A flag displayed on a construction vessel or barge pursuant to this subsection must:
1. Be at least 2 feet by 3 feet in size.
2. Have a wire or other stiffener or be otherwise constructed to ensure that the flag remains fully unfurled and extended in the absence of a wind or breeze.
3. Be displayed so that the visibility of the flag is not obscured in any direction.
(c) In periods of low visibility, including any time between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise, a person may not be cited for a violation of this subsection unless the orange flag is illuminated and visible from a distance of at least 2 nautical miles. Such illumination does not relieve the construction vessel or barge from complying with all navigation rules.
(4)(a) A person operating a vessel in violation of this section commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in s. 327.73.
(b) The owner of, or party who is responsible for, a construction vessel or barge who displays an orange flag on the vessel or barge when it is not actively engaged in construction operations commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in s. 327.73.
(5) The speed and penalty provisions of this section do not apply to a law enforcement, firefighting, or rescue vessel that is owned or operated by a governmental entity.
History.s. 17, ch. 2021-184.

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