Tens of thousands of lakes and rivers make Central Florida a boater’s paradise. 

Whether you’re enjoying fishing, cruising or watersports, it’s important to equip your boat with basic safety equipment before heading out onto the water. In fact, the state of Florida requires it. Florida law also requires anyone 21 years old or younger to take an approved boating safety course and earn a boating safety ID card to operate a boat with 10 horsepower or more. 

Life jackets. All recreational vessels must carry one wearable life jacket for each person on board. Life jackets must meet the U.S. Coast Guard’s specifications, standards, and regulations for performance, construction or materials. Boats 16 feet and longer (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one throwable (Type IV) device. The Coast recommends wearing life jackets for water skiing and other towed activities, operating a personal watercraft and whitewater boating.

Fire extinguisher. A minimum of one USCG-approved B-1 type fire extinguisher.

Visual distress signals. All Class A vessels require visual distress signals, especially if operating on the water after dark.

Sound producing devices. Boats less than 40 feet long must carry an effective sound generating device such as a whistle, horn, bell or similar type of instrument.

First aid kit. Pack a waterproof box with the essentials: bandages, gauze, medical tape, antibiotic ointment.

Additional safety equipment. Oars or paddles, bilge pump, anchor and anchor lines.

For more safety guidelines and boating information, download a free boating guide from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission