Boating Laws

Orange County Boating Regulations

Subject to change. Please Visit myfwc.com for the most current list of Boating Regulations

Generally.

(1)
All boats shall carry the safety equipment required by F.S. § 327.50. Each child under the age of six (6) years who is a passenger in a boat shall wear a Coast Guard approved lifesaving device at all times.

(2)
Each person being towed by a boat shall wear a Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III lifesaving device suitable for such use. The provisions of this subsection (2) do not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition or a person preparing to participate or participating in an official regatta, boat race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition.

(b)
Class A motorboats. All Class A motorboats (those motorboats less than sixteen (16) feet in length) shall have the following safety and lighting equipment:

(1)
Safety equipment:

a.
One (1) wearable lifesaving device in good and serviceable 1. condition approved by the Coast Guard per each person aboard.

2.
Each person being towed by a motorboat shall wear a Coast Guard approved Type I, II or III lifesaving device suitable for such use. The provisions of this subsection 2. do not apply to a performer engaged in a professional exhibition or a person preparing to participate or participating in an official regatta, boat race, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition.

b.
One (1) oar or paddle. Personal watercraft are exempt from this provision.

c.
One (1) anchor and line in appropriate size and length. Personal watercraft are exempt from this provision.

d.
One (1) Coast Guard approved or Underwriters’ Laboratory “Marine Type,” Class B, Size I fire extinguisher. This is not required on boats propelled by outboard motor and not carrying passengers for hire, if the motorboat is of open construction.

(2)
Lighting requirements. Between sunset and sunrise the following lights shall be required:

a.
One (1) white light aft, such light not to be obstructed by any part of the vessel so as to be visible in all directions.

b.
One (1) combination red and green light on fore part of boat showing green to starboard (right) and red to port (left), so fixed as to show the light from dead ahead to ten (10) points off the beam on their respective sides.

c.
Any boat may carry and exhibit the lights required by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea in lieu of the lights prescribed in this section.

(c)
Class I Motorboats. All Class I motorboats (motorboats sixteen (16) feet or greater in length) shall have the following safety and lighting equipment:

(d)
All boats—Night light. Between sunset and sunrise every boat or motorboat shall carry a lighting device capable of shining a white light around the horizon (three hundred sixty (360) degrees) and shall display such light in sufficient time as to avoid a collision with another vessel.

(e)
Same—Lifesaving devices. Every boat or motorboat shall be equipped with at least one (1) adequate wearable lifesaving device for every occupant.

(Code 1965, § 4-4 ; Ord. No. 83-37, § 4, 9-19-83; Ord. No. 85-29, § 1, 10-7-85; Ord. No. 87-20, § 1, 6-29-87; Ord. No. 95-19, § 2, 7-25-95)

Sec. 8-31. – General operation of boats and personal watercraft.

(a)
All boats and motorboats shall, whenever possible, keep at least three hundred (300) feet behind any boat towing a skier and shall stay clear of, by at least one hundred (100) feet, any boat or motorboat anchored or used for fishing. When a ski jump is in use, all other boats shall, whenever possible, stay at least one hundred (100) feet away on either side and five hundred (500) feet behind the ski jump.

(b)
No person shall operate any boat recklessly, overload any boat, indulge in any motorboat race, make sudden turns at excessive speed, follow too closely to other boats, or operate any boat in such a way that it may endanger other boats, life or property.

(c)
All motorboat operators shall sit within the confines of the boat and shall require that their passengers do likewise. Bowriding and gunwhale riding are strictly prohibited.

(d)
Care shall be taken by the operators of all motorboats and personal watercraft to prevent damage from their wash, bow wave or stern wave, or from objects towed by such boats to other boats, docks, piers, shorelines and boathouses. Boats, motorboats and personal watercraft shall not create a wake while operating within a canal, or within one hundred (100) feet of the shoreline, docks, piers, bridges or boathouses, or any other object arising from the water (excluding ski jumps or slalom courses) except when picking up or dropping off a waterskier. The one hundred-foot distance shall be measured from the boat, motorboat or personal watercraft itself or from any extension thereof, including but not limited to, a skier, aquaplane or other device being towed.

(e)
All boats and motorboats towing water skiers, aquaplanes or other devices shall operate in a counterclockwise direction of the waterway whenever possible.

(Code 1965, § 4-5 ; Ord. No. 83-37, § 5, 9-19-83; Ord. No. 95-19, § 3, 7-25-95)

Sec. 8-32. – Speed limits; posting.

The board of county commissioners may, by resolution, impose a speed limit on any waterway when it is determined that a speed limit is necessary to protect the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of the county. Such speed limit shall be lawfully posted in or near the waterway in a location to be visible to the public.

(Code 1965, § 4-6; Ord. No. 83-37, § 6, 9-19-83)

State law reference— Violation of speed limits, F.S. § 327.33(2).

Sec. 8-33. – Personal watercraft.

(a)
Personal watercraft under power shall keep at least three hundred (300) feet behind any boat towing a skier and shall stay clear of, by at least one hundred (100) feet, any vessel anchored or used for fishing or otherwise not under power. When a ski jump is in use, all personal watercraft shall stay clear of the area three hundred (300) feet on either side and five hundred (500) feet ahead of, and five hundred (500) feet behind, the ski jump.

(b)
Personal watercraft are prohibited on ski jumps not explicitly designated for their use.

(c)
No person shall create a wake while operating a personal watercraft within one hundred (100) feet of any persons in the water.

(d)
No person shall operate a personal watercraft while exceeding the manufacturer’s recommended maximum weight or number of occupants.

(Ord. No. 95-19, § 4, 7-25-95)

Sec. 8-34. – Swimmers and skin divers.

(a)
No person shall swim from the shore more than one hundred (100) feet unless accompanied by a boat or identified by a standard buoy and flag.

(b)
No person shall scuba or skin dive unless identified by a standard scuba or skin diving flag.