Florida leads the country in the number of boating deaths after that number increased by 10% in the last year. As a result, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) has asked Florida lawmakers to pass a law mandating education courses for all boaters. Currently, only boaters under the age of 21 must take mandatory boater education courses.
The Florida FWC is also asking Florida lawmakers to increase penalties for drunken boating, aka boating under the influence or BUI, to make those laws more consistent with DUI laws in Florida. At the next meeting in September, the FWC plans to discuss a proposal that would be submitted to the Florida legislature requesting the change in boating under the influence penalties. However, keep in mind that current BUI penalties carry significant penalties similar to the Florida DUI laws. Additionally, the boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs law pays special attention to offenders under 21 years of age. It is specifically against the law for anyone under 21 to operate a boat with any measurable blood or breath alcohol level, i.e. .02 or higher (the legal limit for people over 21 is .08). Penalties for this crime include community service, a mandatory boater education course and the temporary loss of the privilege to operate a boat.