Riding a jet ski is fun, exciting, and a great way to spend your summer in Florida. Are you ready to get started? You’ll need more than a jet ski, a body of water, a lifejacket, and fuel to ride a jet ski, however as rules and regulations about who can ride a jet ski vary greatly from state to state. Let’s take a look at everything you need to do to ride a jet ski legally in Florida in this quick guide.
What Do I Need to Ride a Jet Ski in Florida?
Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card
The State of Florida requires all boaters operating vessels with 10 horsepower (as well as more powerful vessels) to successfully complete a boating safety education program. Experienced boaters born before January 1, 1988, are an exception — they don’t need a boating license of any kind to operate a personal watercraft (PWC).
Individuals not born before January 1, 1988, will need a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card to operate a jet ski in Florida. Obtaining a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card requires you to complete a short boating safety course, which may be completed online. If you are new to jet skiing, you may prefer to take a more in-depth course.
Visitors to the state of Florida also need to prove they are sufficiently skilled and knowledgeable to ride a jet ski and can get a temporary boating certificate after a quick 25-question exam.
Florida Requires Jet Skiers To Register Their PWC
Do you have a Florida Boating Safety Education Identification Card? Congratulations! You’re now able to rent a jet ski in Florida and enjoy your time on the water. Jet skiers who want to invest in their own PWC must register their new jet skis with the state before riding them, however.
Registration fees depend on the length of your vessel, as this determines its class.
Boaters receive validation stickers and registration numbers after registering their jet skis with the State of Florida. Both the validation stickers and registration numbers have to be displayed at all times to legally ride a jet ski in Florida. However, it’s up to you whether you paint the registration number onto your jet ski or use a decal to display it.
Coast-Guard-Approved Personal Flotation Devices
Florida jet skiers must use a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device while operating a PWC. Approved personal flotation devices include offshore life jackets, near-shore vests, flotation aids, and special-use devices.
What Else Should You Keep in Mind When Riding a Jet Ski in Florida?
You’re legally allowed to ride a jet ski in Florida if you’ve followed all the previous steps, however, you’ll still be bound by state laws regarding the operation of PWC:
- You cannot disturb wildlife or other boaters while riding your jet ski.
- It is illegal to ride a jet ski within 500 meters of a designated swimming area.
- You may not ride a jet ski between sunset and sunrise.
- If the manufacturer of your jet ski installed a ventilator or flame arrestor, you may not remove them. You must carry a fire extinguisher.
- You aren’t allowed to ride a jet ski in unsafe conditions.
- You can’t exceed the speed limit, which is displayed near the shore, or go faster than your PWC’s manufacturer specifies.
- You can’t overload your jet ski.
- You can’t discharge oil into the water.
Stay Safe, and Have Fun!
Your safety and that of your fellow boaters is Florida’s top priority — and it should be yours, too. While the hoops you have to jump through to ride a jet ski in Florida may seem excessive, completing a boating safety course is great for everyone. Boater safety courses you the skills and knowledge to navigate the waters safely, so you can spend more time focusing on having fun!
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