Florida’s beautiful open waters draw travelers and new residents year-round. But before you hit the water with your boat, you’ll need to take a few steps. Contrary to what you might expect, the state doesn’t mandate or offer a “boating license” in the strictest sense of the word. But if you intend to operate any type of motorboat boasting at least ten horsepower, you’ll need to attend an approved boating safety class and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification card.
For older residents, there are likely fewer steps that must be taken, though any boat safety refresher is a good idea if it’s been some time since you have been in the water. Keep in mind that this requirement went into effect in 2010 and now applies to operators born after Jan 1, 1988. There are additional exemptions in place for people licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard or operating on smaller private lakes.
If you’re not sure if the requirement applies to you, don’t leave it up to chance; visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to ensure that you are in alignment with the law.
To learn more about all things boating in Jacksonville and northern Florida, visit the community of water lovers and boaters at the Jax Boat Club.