Required Safety Equipment You Need on a Boat by Law

Boating in Florida requires certain safety equipment. You cannot go out on a boat without the minimum required safety equipment or you can get into big trouble. Understanding the equipment you need will make a big difference.

If you chose to boat with the Jax Boat Club, you won't have to worry about safety equipment. We provide everything you need to meet or exceed the requirements of the Florida laws.

Minimum Safety Equipment for Boats in Florida

The Florida law states that you must have the following safety equipment for any Class A recreational boat under 16 feet in length including canoes and kayaks:

  • Boat lighting equipment

  • Ventilation system

  • A sound-producing device, such as a bell, whistle or horn

  • Fire extinguishers of the right size and type for the boat

  • Visual Distress Signals if on coastal waters or high sea

  • One Coast Guard-approved Type I, II or III Personal Floatation Device for every person on board or being towed.

If you plan to boat on a Class 1 recreational vessel ranging from 16 feet to less than 26 feet in length, you will also need the following:

  • One throwable Type IV device in serviceable condition and USCG-approved.

  • All passengers under the age of 6 must wear an approved Type I, II or III PFD while the vessel is underway.

  • Backfire Flame Control

  • If on coastal waters or high seas, you will need approved visual distress signals for nighttime and daytime use.

These same requirements must be met for Class 2 and Class 3 recreational vessels. Class 2 and Class 3 vessels also need to have both a whistle and a bell that can be heard from one nautical mile away when operating on Federally controlled waters.

It's important to understand the necessary requirements for your specific boat. Fire extinguishers need to be specifically matched to the boat type and length.

Safe boating requires life jackets for everyone onboard!

Vessel Safety Check

Getting a vessel safety check done will ensure you're ready to hit the water. When you pass this check, you will receive a U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Decal that informs the authorities that your boat is in full compliance with both Federal and State boating laws. It's also done free of charge.

If your boat doesn't pass the check, you are not given a citation. Instead, you receive a report of how to correct any issues.

Violations and Fines

When you're caught boating without the necessary safety equipment required by law, you can be fined for each item you're missing with a maximum fine of $1,000 for each equipment violation. Usually, the fines will range from $50 to $125 depending on what you're missing and how many items you're missing. For example, if you're missing 2 life jackets, you may be fined $50 per life jacket, but if you don't have a horn/whistle, the fine could be $125.

Boating is a fun recreational activity, but you must be safe. When you choose the Jax Boat Club, you don't have to worry. We provide you with all the necessary safety equipment so that you will never be given a violation or caught on the water without the gear you need.

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