Florida Boating Information

Idle Speed No Wake

Idle Speed Sign

Idle Speed No Wake can be best described as the slowest speed that a PWC or vessel can travel and still allow the operator to maintain steerage, headway, and control of the vessel and any object he may have under tow.

For a PWC or typical small recreational vessel this is a speed of idle. The operator may find the PWC or vessel to be slower to respond and may require the operator to prepare for maneuvers such as turning or docking.

Slow Speed Minimum Wake

Slow Speed Minimum Wake is best described as a speed where the PWC or vessel is fully off a plane, fully settled in the water and producing a minimum wake. This speed will vary from vessel to vessel and will depend on the size, weight and hull design of the vessel. Your vessel should not produce a wake that creates a hazardous condition that endangers or is likely to endanger or damage other vessels or endanger other persons using the waterway.

Maximum Miles Per Hour

Many Florida waters regulate the maximum speed for PWC’s or vessels. These are posted in Miles Per Hour which is the speed a vessel travels over the bottom, measured in statute miles. The vessel still is required to be operated at a safe speed, not produce a excessive wake or operate at a speed that causes the bow of the vessel to be elevated restricting the operators visibility.

A PWC or vessel’s speed can by calculated by timing the vessel when it travels through a measured mile course at a constant RPM. Divide 60 by this time (in minutes) to get your approximate speed in miles per hour. Calculate your speed at various RPM’s and keep the list on the vessel for reference. A GPS unit may also tell you the speed of your vessel.

No Entry Zone or No Entry Area

PWC or vessel travel is prohibited either year around or seasonally on some Florida waterways. This also includes persons swimming, diving, wading or fishing using poles equipped with a fishing line retrieval mechanism or reel. An example of an area where you might find a No Entry Area or Zone is a warm water discharge canal at a power plant where entry is prohibited during the winter months.

Examples of regulatory signs

Above are examples of regulatory signs you may encounter in Florida waters. They may be displayed on a buoy or on a fixed sign piling or post. It is the responsibility of the PWC or vessel operator or person to be aware of entry or speed regulations for the waters in which they are operating. These regulations are in effect for the protection of the Florida Manatee.

Impaired Operation

It is a violation of Florida law to operate a PWC or other vessel while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. A vessel operator suspected of boating under the influence must submit to a sobriety test and a 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 content is at or above .08 percent. 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.

Mooring To Markers and Buoys

Except in the event of an emergency, it is unlawful to moor or fasten to any lawfully placed navigation aid or regulatory marker. It is also unlawful for any person to anchor or operate a vessel in a manner which will unreasonably interfere with the navigation of other vessels.

Manatees & Sea Grass

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 the law, punishable under federal law up to a $50,000 fine, one year imprisonment or both. Boaters must observe all manatee regulatory zone requirements. Also, sea grasses are the principal food for endangered marine herbivores such as manatees and green sea turtles. They act as natural filters to help purify the water, and provide a suitable environment for a wide variety of marine life. PWC operators and other boaters should make all available attempts to avoid running through grass beds. It is considered a violation to damage sea grass beds in some areas within state waters. 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.

Things To Remember

When out on the water, remember you are sharing it with others. Keep a sharp lookout for other boats, skiers, and other hazards. A little common sense will go a long way in preventing mishaps. The future of personal watercraft sports will be dependent upon the caution and courtesy of PWC operators. Last but not least HAVE FUN while enjoying what Daytona Jetski has to offer you.