Florida’s boating traffic rules aren’t just courtesy— much of the time they’re law! Here are a few tips to ensure you legally and safely enjoy the waters while out on your boat:
Be Polite, Stay to the Right
Unless marked otherwise, you want to keep to the right side of the waterway when you are boating. This keeps boating traffic seamlessly moving, without causing confusion or accidents. There are also other rules you’ll want to be aware of for boating traffic flow too. For example, it’s unlawful in Florida to anchor your boat anywhere that interferes with another boat’s navigation. You can read many other regulations in Chapter 327 of Florida’s Statutes.
Keep an Eye Out for Hazards
Rocks, shallow waters, manatees, bridges— these are just a few of the boating traffic hazards you could see while out on the water. While many hazards will be marked, this isn’t always the case and you should always be on the lookout for hazards when you’re boating.
Maintain a Slow Speed in “No Wake” Zones
If you see a boating traffic sign that says “idle speed” or “no wake” when you are out boating– take notice! This means your boat needs to be going the minimum speed to maintain headway or steerageway. In simpler terms, you should only be going fast enough to steer and maneuver your boat effectively. In addition, if you see a sign that says “minimum wake” your boat needs to operate fully off plane. That means the entirety of your boat’s bow (or front) should be settled in the water.
Ensure Your Boat Has Proper Lighting
If you plan on boating between sunset or sunrise, or when there is reduced visibility, you need to make sure your boat is equipped with the proper lighting equipment. However, the lighting requirements for each type of boat are different.
One of the best ways to find out what equipment you need for your boat to meet the U.S. Coast Guard requirements is to speak with one of the knowledgeable sales reps at Fish Tale Boats. Our employees are well-versed in the boating traffic regulations around Florida and can get you up to speed before you hit the water! Stop by the shop or give us a call to learn more.