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Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but it could also be known as the Beach State. There are hundreds of beaches in Florida and just about as many boat ramps and marinas. Water sports and recreation are a very large part of Florida life. More boats are owned in Florida than in any other state.

Boat ownership, however, has its responsibilities. Florida has many laws regarding the use of boats on Florida waters. The U.S. Coast Guard also has laws in place for life jackets and flotation devices for boats that enter international waters off of the Florida coast.

Florida boating laws for life jackets are very specific, and violations of these laws could lead to serious harm if the boat is involved in an accident.

Florida Life Jacket Laws

  • All recreational water vehicles must have a life jacket or personal flotation device for each person on the vehicle. These flotation devices must meet US Coast Guard specifications and must be sized accordingly to the people on the boat.
  • Florida life jacket requirements state that children must have size-appropriate life jackets or flotation devices.
  • All recreational water vehicles that are 16 feet or longer must have at least one throwable (lifesaver) personal flotation device onboard, and it must be easily accessible. This flotation device must comply with the USCG.
  • Florida child life jacket laws require that all children age six and under on a recreational water vehicle 26 feet or shorter wear a life jacket at all times. The Florida child life jacket law also requires that these flotation devices fit the child appropriately.
  • Florida life jacket age requirements are different on boats that leave Florida water borders. If any boat is operating in international waters, the US Coast Guard requires that all children age 13 and under must wear a personal flotation device at all times unless they are below the deck or in a cabin.
  • Florida life vest laws also apply to individual watercraft like WaveRunner and Jet Skis. If you are operating one of these vehicles, regardless of your age, you must have on a life jacket.
  • Every Florida life jacket law requires that the personal flotation device you use when operating on Florida waters must meet USCG life jacket requirements for size, construction, and use.

Boating Accidents Are Often Catastrophic

All accidents can lead to life-changing injuries. However, boating accidents pose a greater sense of danger because there is water, often deep water, that is involved. The potential for serious injuries to occur due to a boating accident will always be higher than any other type of accident.

Life jacket rules in Florida should always be followed to protect your life. This is especially true for children who may not be able to swim well or panic in the event of an accident. For their protection, as well as your own, you should always wear a life jacket.

Boating accidents can lead to severe injuries and significant personal property losses. If you have been involved in a boating accident in Florida, it will be in your best interest to speak with a boating accident attorney.

Boating accidents can be complex issues. Different laws apply to water accidents based on the size of the craft, the locations of the accident, and if employees or paying customers were involved. Make sure that you do not lose your right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses by not working with an attorney familiar with maritime law.

Enjoying the water in Florida is just a part of Florida life. Make sure that you enjoy your boat and watercraft safely by always using USCG-approved life jackets when you are on the water.

Florida boating accident attorneys

If you or a loved one was injured in a Florida boating accident, the injury attorneys at Landau Law may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.