Boaters in Florida must be mindful of both state and federal maritime laws. At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, we handle cases involving both jurisdictions. If you have been involved in a boating accident in Florida state waters, we can use our thorough understanding of Florida maritime law to help secure the compensation you deserve. Many boaters have questions regarding Florida maritime law, and our team in Daytona, FL, are here to answer them. Contact Chanfrau & Chanfrau to schedule a personal consultation.
What Boaters Need to know about State Statutes
Florida maritime law regulates all maritime occupations — as well as recreational and commercial activities — taking place in the state's rivers, lakes, swamps, and surrounding ocean waters. This covers fishing vessels, motor boats, and jet skis, as well as water sports such as scuba diving. In general, Florida maritime law deals with:
Boat operators in the State of Florida must register their vessels (with the exception of non-motor-powered vessels less than 16 feet in length) with a local tax collector's office in order to legally operate them on state waters. Each registered boat must have its registration number clearly displayed, and registration papers on-board and available for inspection whenever the vessel is operated.
Persons involved in boating accidents must render aid and alert the appropriate authorities as soon as possible following a collision.
Careless or Reckless Operation
Boaters in the state of Florida have an obligation to help ensure the safety of those around them. If a boater has caused a collision or accident as a result of gross negligence or carelessness, he or she can be held responsible for damages.
Excessive speed, particularly in an area where speed limits are in place, can be incredibly dangerous. Boat operators must strictly obey speed restrictions in areas of water where they are posted. Additionally, the vessel must not create excessive wake that could create a hazard for other boaters.
Equipment and Lighting Requirements
All vessels are required to have at least one personal flotation device that is approved by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) for each passenger, as well as all USCG-mandated safety equipment. Children under the age of six must wear a USCG-approved personal flotation device at all times while aboard a vessel that is underway.
Boating Under the Influence
It is unlawful to operate a boat while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the State of Florida, a boat operator is presumed to be under the influence if he or she has a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
Both state and federal cases involving maritime law can be quite complex. If you or someone you love was involved in a boating accident, we are here to help.
Schedule a Consultation with Chanfrau & Chanfrau
At Chanfrau & Chanfrau, we are large enough to serve you professionally, yet small enough to know you personally. Our experienced lawyers are familiar with all state statutes pertaining to recreational and commercial boating, and we can provide you with sound counsel and representation. To learn more about Florida maritime law, contact our law practice today.