Some of our most frequently asked questions have to deal with licensing requirements for renting a boat in Destin. In recent years, some of the rules and regulatory laws have changed, so we are going to go over some (not all) of the boating regulations that you may find most important when renting a boat in Destin. For complete information about boating safety laws, please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Please note that it our company policy is to only rent to persons 21 years of age or older. If you are interested in renting a boat in Destin, and found this page by accident, please visit our homepage.
Boating Safety Education/License Requirements
- Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 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 boating safety education identification card issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
- The following rental operators are exempt:
- An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is least 18 years old and possesses the required Boating Safety Education Identification Card, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
- An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is exempt from the educational requirements, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
- A non-resident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a NASBLA-approved boater safety course or equivalency examination from another state.
- A person operating a vessel within 90 days after completing an approved boating safety course, as required in Chapter 327.395(1), and has a photographic I.D. and a boater education course completion certificate showing proof of having completed the required boating safety education course. The course completion certificate must provide the student’s first and last name, date of birth, and the date the course was successfully completed. (Effective October 1, 2011.)
Life jackets for Children
We provide life jackets for all persons, including children, onboard the boat. Your child will be fitted for the proper size life vest at the time of boarding. Infant vests for under 30lbs are also available, and are included with the price of your rental.
- A child under the age of 6 must wear a USCG-approved Type I, II or III personal flotation device while onboard a vessel under 26 feet in length while the vessel is under way. “Under way” is defined as anytime except when the vessel is anchored, moored, made fast to the shore or aground.
Maximum Loading and Horsepower
All boats have a capacity plate onboard, and we are required to limit the number of passengers to the number stated on the capacity plate. The number does include children.
- No person may operate a boat while exceeding the maximum weight, persons, or horsepower capacity as displayed on the manufacturer’s capacity plate.
Vessel Speed Restrictions
Wake is defined as “the visible track of turbulence left by something moving through water”. When renting a boat it is important to pay attention to your boat’s wake in certain areas. Some areas will be marked as “no wake” or “minimum wake”. This is the boating equivalent of a speed limit sign. Upon your arrival to our facility, we will provide you with a map and go over the location of nearby no wake zones. Please be attentive to signage on the water marking wake zones.
- Any vessel operating in a speed zone posted as “Idle Speed – No Wake” must operate at the minimum speed that allows the vessel to maintain headway and 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
Alcohol is allowed on boats in Destin, however, as with driving a car, please choose a designated driver if you will be drinking alcohol on the boat.
- 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.
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.
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.