How Old Do You Need to Be to Operate a Jet Ski in Florida?

August 17, 2018 6:17 am Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’re a resident of Florida or vacationing in the area and are interested in jet ski rentals in Venice, FL, it’s important to be aware of the regulations the state has in place when it comes to the usage and rental of personal watercrafts.

The most common question we get at Cool Breeze Boats and Jet Ski Rentals is how old one has to be to be able to use a jet ski themselves. In Florida, state law is that a person must be at least 14 years old to operate a personal watercraft, and must be at least 18 years old to rent a personal watercraft.

These, however, are only two of the important regulations set by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Here is an overview of some of the other regulations you should be aware of if you’re planning on renting jet skis while here in Florida:

  • Anyone who operates, rides on or is towed behind a personal watercraft in Florida is required to wear a non-inflatable wearable personal flotation device (PFD) approved by the state. Inflatable PFDs are prohibited when using personal watercrafts.
  • A person operating a personal watercraft is required to attach the engine cutoff switch lanyard to his or her person, clothing or PFD, if such a lanyard is equipped by the manufacturer.
  • Reckless operation of a vessel is a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida and includes behavior such as maneuvering a personal watercraft by weaving through tight, congested boat traffic, jumping wakes of other vessels unreasonably close to them or when visibility close to them is poor, or swerving to avoid collision at the last possible moment.
  • Operating hours for personal watercraft are from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Outside of those hours, personal watercraft cannot be operated on Florida waters, even if navigational lights are used. In addition, navigational lights are required by federal and state law from sunset to sunrise.
  • It is illegal for anyone to knowingly allow a person under 14 years old to operate a personal watercraft. This is a second-degree misdemeanor subject to criminal penalties and fines.
  • Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 is required by Florida law to have either completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boating education course, or have completed and passed a course equivalency or a temporary certificate examination. They must also have in their possession a boating education ID card and photo ID while operating a vessel with a motor of 10 horsepower or more. ID cards for people who complete these courses are valid for life. Temporary certificates are valid for 12 months from the date they were issued.

For more information about regulations for personal watercraft in Florida, we encourage you to contact Cool Breeze Boats and Jet Ski Rentals before you decide to take out your jet ski rentals in Venice, FL. It’s important to make sure you comply with all of these regulations for your safety and the safety of others.

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