For those new to boating, Florida’s licensing laws can be a little confusing. We’re glad that you want to follow all the requirements to get out on the water safely. Let’s look a little bit more at what Florida requires from its boaters and when you need a Captains License.
Requirements for Recreational Boating
Florida doesn’t require a boating license to operate a recreational boat. However, if you were born after 1987, they do require that you take a boating safety course.
Boating Safety Course
This course can be completed online or in a classroom setting to fit your needs. You will have to pass this course successfully and then wait to receive a boating safety education identification card from the state.
· Get started on the course early. There is a wait time to receive your identification card.
· Double check to see if your course provider will automatically forward your results to the state or if you need to submit them yourself.
· For more information check out the Florida boaters guide. This goes into more detail about Florida boating laws and safety practices.
Once you have passed the course and submitted proof of completion, you will be issued an identification card. You should keep this card with you in case you are asked for it. After doing the class you will want to have proof that you have followed all the requirements to be out on the water.
When Do I Need a Captains License?
There are circumstances in which you would need to obtain a Captain’s License. These are required if you’re going to be operating a boat that has paying customers on board. If for example you want to take your love of fishing and turn it into a business, you can apply for a Captain’s License and began taking paying customers out on the water.
Six-Pack Captains License
In the beginning stages of a small business, you’ll be looking at obtaining your six-pack Captain’s License. This allows you to take up to six paying customers, along with your crew, on a variety of excursions.
This license is issued by the US Coast Guard and comes with its own set of requirements that you will have to meet prior to obtaining it.
The list of requirements can take some time to complete but for those who are serious about getting their Captains License it’s worth the effort.
- 360 days as a crew member. A minimum of 90 of those days have to be within the last 3 years. Along with 90 days of sea time. (This must be documented and signed by witnesses)
- Pass the Coast Guard Exam. (Courses for the exam are available)
- Complete Application and Pay for Captains License (CG Form 719B) and provide:
- Proof of Payment
- Social Security Card
- Proof of US citizenship or Green Card
- Copy of TWIC card (background check) or application if it is in process.
- 3 written, reliable character references
- Medical Certificate
- Current CPR and First Aid Certification
- Random Drug Test Results within past 3 Months
After all of this work is done, it’s time to wait. Luckily, it typically only takes a few weeks to process before you receive your license. Then you can get out on the water and start making some money while doing what you love.
We know that the process of buying and getting started boating here in Florida can involve a lot of moving parts. Not only can we help you get into the right boat at the right price we can also help make sure that you have all of the knowledge that you need to get started the right way.
As we said most boaters in Florida are not required to have any licensing, just proof of the boating safety course required by the state. If you have any other questions about licensing, the safety course, or boating in general don’t hesitate to call or stop by.