Safety Instructions JUST GO RENTAL MIAMI LLC
South Florida is probably one of the most navigated areas of the world with thousands of vessels of all sizes crossing paths every single day. Most of them are experienced boaters, but there are also a large number of careless or inexperienced boaters. Florida regulations require an automobile driving license to operate a recreational boat. Any driving license permit holder can operate a vessel without taking a class or taking a license. Unless boat operators are taught or have experienced rules on the Miami waters, it could potentially dangerous. Miami Boat.com provides you with a few tips on what to do and what to avoid when operating a boat in Miami . The Intercostals Way of Miami as well as the ocean are under the active surveillance of numerous authorities that have jurisdiction. You can find some of these authorities listed below:
- U.S Coast Guard.
- The auxiliary cost guards.
- County law enforcement units.
- Cities law enforcement units.
- Customs and immigration units.
- Wild preservation units. They all cruise Miami waters to make sure that rules as well as laws and regulations are respected by boaters. The most important rules are related with:
- Proper licenses and papers.
- Equipment and safety on board.
- Operating boats.
- Anchoring boats.
- Preserving the environment.
- Preserving the wild life.
The boat regulations sometimes are overlapping each other and sometimes are inconsistent. In fact, the rules are very different that highway traffic laws which are very precise. Overall being careful and respectful is the golden rule when boating in Miami .
Boat operators should respect 7 major sources of law that we will not detail in this article, law and enforcement agencies will make sure that are respected. Rules apply to all vessels of all sizes including personal water crafts also called wave runners and jet skis.
The main navigation rules that must be respected are:
- Speed limits.
- Crossing bridges.
- Crossing boats.
- Passing boats going the same direction.
- Anchoring restrictions.
- Cruising and navigation by night.
- Speed restrictions to respect and manatee protection zones.
- Wildlife conservation.
Violations may results in fines and citations in front of the judge.
There are two sets of navigation rules; inland and international. A nautical chart will show Detail of a nautical chart.you the demarcation lines where the rules change from international to inland and vice versa. In general, these demarcation lines follow the coastline and cross inlets and bays. On the seaward side of the demarcation lines, international rules apply.
We will concentrate on the inland rules, since most of your recreational boating will occur on the landward side of the demarcation lines.
The Nav Rules are written with the understanding that not all boats can maneuver with the same ease. Therefore, Rule 18 states that certain vessels must keep out of the way of other vessels due to their ability to maneuver.
A power driven vessel underway must keep out of the way of the following:
A sailing vessel, under sail only, and vessels propelled by oars or paddles. (Note: when a sailboat has its motor running, it is considered a power driven vessel.)
A vessel engaged in fishing, whose fishing equipment restricts its maneuverability. This does not include a sport fisher or party boat and generally means a commercial fishing vessel.
A vessel with restricted maneuverability such as a dredge or tow boat, a boat engaged in work that restricts it to a certain area, or a vessel transferring supplies to another vessel.
A vessel not under command – broken down.
Each of these vessels must keep out of the way of the next vessel. For example, a sailboat must keep out of the way of a vessel engaged in fishing, which in turn must keep out of the way of a vessel with restricted maneuverability. And everyone must keep out of the way of a vessel not under command.
When two power driven vessels are in sight of one another and the possibility of collision exists, one vessel is designated by the rules as the stand-on vessel and the other is designated as the give-way vessel. The stand-on vessel should maintain its course and speed. The give-way vessel must take early and substantial action to avoid collision.
If it becomes apparent that the actions taken (or not taken) by the give-way vessel are dangerous or insufficient, the stand-on vessel must act to avoid collision.
So, how do you know a risk of collision exists? An example: your boat and another boat are on a course with a constant bearing but a decreasing range. You are both heading to the same point at the same speed. The risk of collision exists if neither of you alter course and/or speed.
Given the dangerous nature of the sea, combined with the characteristics of boating, it is likely that a boating accident can result in serious injury or death. However, it is a common misconception that you assume all of the risks of water activities simply by embarking on a sea vessel. The watercraft operator may be responsible for your injury if:
- You hit a large wave or wake at an unsafe angle or speed;
- You were ejected from the boat;
- The vessel was operated in an improper manner or during rough weather;
- You had contact with the propellers;
- The watercraft was operated at an excessive speed;
- Navigational rules were not followed;
- A collision took place;
- The boat was in disrepair; or
- The vessel was overcrowded or overloaded If you were injured in a boating accident due to someone else’s negligence, our Broward County maritime accident lawyers can assist you. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and
suffering. If a violation of navigational regulations took place, the law may even provide for a rebuttable presumption in your favor. If you or someone you know has been involved in a watercraft accident, please call the Palm Beach boating accident attorneys of The Goldstar Firm P.L.. We will represent you every step of the way. Our Miami-Dade marine/boat accident attorneys are available 24/7. We can be reached for a free consultation at 305.764.9907 or 1.888.413.8353.
All vessels operating with mechanical propulsion devices (such as gas or electric outboards) are required to be registered.
Vessels must be registered and numbered within thirty (30) days of purchase.
Registration numbers must be displayed on the forward half of the vessel on both sides above the waterline. The numbers must be bold block letters at least 3” high in a color contrasting to the hull.
The vessel registration decal must be renewed annually and is to be displayed within six (6) inches of, either before or after, the registration numbers on the port (left) side.
Documented vessels without a state registration in full force and effect, must also obtain a Florida registration and display the validation decal on the port side of the vessel when using Florida waters.
The operator of a vessel involved in a boating accident where there is personal injury beyond immediate first- aid, death, disappearance of any person under circumstances which indicate death or injury, or if there is damage to the vessel(s) and/or personal property of at least $2000, must, by the quickest means possible, give notice to one of the following: the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the sheriff of the county in which the accident occurred, or the police chief of the municipality in which the accident occurred, if applicable.
It is unlawful for any person operating a vessel involved in a boating accident to leave the scene without giving all possible aid to the involved persons and without reporting the accident to the proper authorities.
RECKLESS AND CARELESS OPERATION
Anyone who operates a vessel with willful disregard for the safety of persons or property will be cited for reckless operation (a first-degree misdemeanor).
All operators are responsible for operating their vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner with regard for other vessel traffic, posted restrictions, the presence of a divers-down flag, and other circumstances so as not to endanger people or property. Failure to do so is considered careless operation (a non-criminal infraction).
A violation of the Federal Navigation Rules is also a violation of Florida law.
MANDATORY VIOLATOR EDUCATION
Florida law requires that anyone convicted of a criminal boating violation, a non-criminal boating infraction which resulted in a boating accident, or two non-criminal boating safety infractions within a 12-month period, must enroll in, attend, and successfully complete a NASBLA/state approved classroom boater education course. Correspondence or on-line course applications do not meet these requirements.
VESSEL SPEED RESTRICTIONS
Any vessel operating in a speed zone posted as “Idle Speed – No Wake” must operate at the minimum speed that will maintain steerageway.
Any vessel operating in a speed zone posted as “Slow Down – Minimum Wake” must operate fully off plane and completely settled in water. The vessel’s wake must not be excessive nor create a hazard to other vessels.
BOATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE
It is a violation of Florida law to operate a vessel while impaired by alcohol or other drugs. A vessel operator suspected of boating under the influence must submit to sobriety tests and a physical or chemical test to determine blood or breath alcohol content.
In Florida, a vessel operator is presumed to be under the influence if their blood or breath alcohol level is at or above .08.
Any person under 21 years of age who is found to have a breath alcohol level of .02 or higher and operates or is in actual physical control of a vessel is in violation of Florida law.
PERSONAL WATERCRAFT REGULATIONS
Each person operating, riding on, or being towed behind a personal watercraft must wear an approved non- inflatable Type I, II, III, or V personal flotation device. Inflatable personal flotation devices are prohibited.
The operator of a personal watercraft must attach the engine cutoff switch lanyard (if equipped by the manufacturer) to his/her person, clothing, or PFD.
Personal watercraft may not be operated from 1⁄2 hour after sunset to 1⁄2 hour before sunrise.
Maneuvering a personal watercraft by weaving through congested vessel traffic, jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably close or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed, or swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision is classified as reckless operation of a vessel (a first-degree misdemeanor).
A person must be at least 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft in this state. A person must be at least 18 years of age to rent a personal watercraft in this state.
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (a second-degree misdemeanor).
MOORING TO MARKER OR BUOYS
Except in the event of an emergency, it is unlawful to moor or fasten to any lawfully placed navigation aid or regulatory maker.
BOATER SAFETY EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
Anyone 21 years of age and under who operates a vessel powered by 10 horsepower or more must pass an approved boater safety course and have in his/her possession photographic identification and a boater safety identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A person is exempt from this requirement if there is a person on board who is not affected by this law or is at least 18 years of age and holds a boater education I.D. card. This person must be attendant to and take responsibility for the safe operation of the vessel.
Anyone who is convicted of a criminal boating violation, any boating infraction resulting in a reportable boating accident, or two non-criminal boating safety violations within a 12-month period must attend and successfully complete an approved boating safety course and file proof with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The violator’s privilege to operate a vessel in the state will be suspended until proof of course completion is filed.
The size of divers-down flags displayed on vessels must be at least 20 inches by 24 inches, and a stiffener is required to keep the flag unfurled. Dive flags carried on floats may still be 12 inches by 12 inches. Also, divers- down flags on vessels must be displayed above the vessel’s highest point so that the flag’s visibility is not obstructed in any direction.
Divers must make reasonable efforts to stay within 300 feet of a divers-down flag on open waters (all waterways other than rivers, inlets, or navigation channels) and within 100 feet of a flag within rivers, inlets, or navigation channels.
Vessel operators must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from divers-down flags on open waters and at least 100 feet from flags on rivers, inlets, or navigation channels. Vessels approaching divers-down flags closer than 300 feet in open water and 100 feet in rivers, inlets, and navigation channels must slow to idle speed.
INTERFERENCE WITH NAVIGATION
Except in the event of an emergency, it is unlawful for any person to anchor or operate a vessel in a manner that will unreasonably interfere with the navigation of other vessels.
EQUIPMENT AND LIGHTING REQUIREMENTS
The owner and/or operator of a vessel is responsible to carry, store, maintain, and use the safety equipment required by the U.S.C.G. safety equipment requirements.
A child under the age of six (6) must wear a U.S.C.G. approved Type I, II, or III personal flotation device while onboard a vessel under 26 feet in length while the vessel is underway. “Underway” is defined as anytime except when the vessel is anchored, moored, made fast to the shore, or aground.
The use of sirens or flashing, occulting, or revolving lights is prohibited except where expressly allowed by law.
MAXIMUM LOADING AND HORSEPOWER
No person may operate a monohull boat of less than 20 feet in length while exceeding the maximum weight, persons, or horsepower capacity as displayed on the manufacturer’s capacity plate.
MARINE SANITATION DEVICES Vessels operating in Florida waters must comply with the U.S.C.G. requirements relating to marine sanitation devices, if applicable.
MUFFLING DEVICES All vessels must be equipped with an effective muffling device. The use of cutouts is prohibited, except for vessels competing in a regatta or official boat race and such vessels while on trial runs.
LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY
Law enforcement officers of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Sheriff’s deputies of the various counties, and any other authorized enforcement officer, shall have the authority to order the removal of vessels deemed to be an interference or hazard to public safety, enforce all boating safety laws, or cause any inspection to be made of all vessels in accordance to state law. A law enforcement officer may stop any vessel for the purpose of checking for compliance with boating safety equipment requirements.
Manatees are protected by state and federal law. It is illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal, including manatees. Anything that disrupts a manatee’s normal behavior is a violation of law, punishable under federal law up to a $50,000 fine, one-year imprisonment, or both. Boaters must observe all manatee protection zone requirements.
SEA GRASS AWARENESS
Sea grasses are the principal food for endangered marine herbivores such as manatees and green sea turtles, act as natural filters to help purify the water, and provide a suitable environment for a wide variety of marine life. Boaters should make all available attempts to avoid running through sea grass beds. Navigation charts identify sea grass beds as light green or marked as “grs” on the chart. Boaters should make all possible attempts to stay within channels when unfamiliar with a waterway. Avoid taking shortcuts through sea grass beds to avoid causing propeller scars. It is a violation of Florida law to damage sea grass beds in some areas within state waters.