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Items required for Florida PWC riders

Florida waters offer residents the opportunity to try numerous types of vehicles that aren’t usable on land. While many reach satisfaction with a simple boat ride, the thrill seekers rent personal watercraft (PWC) such as a jet ski to travel the water at fast speeds.

Unfortunately, these high-speed vehicles also cause a high number of accidents. Several PWC riders are not mindful of their surroundings and can crash into boats, shorelines, and other marine vehicles if they are not careful.

These operators also require certain items in their possession to establish safety on the water. Breaking these laws can put others at risk of boat crashes and serious personal injuries. Some of these rules include:

A non-inflatable PFD

Regardless if the person is the operator, passenger, or a tuber that the PWC is towing, everyone involved must wear a non-inflatable personal floatation device (PFD). The state bans inflatable PFDs on these vehicles because a crash might cause the device to deflate. Without a properly functioning PFD, the user could drown if they are unconscious or unable to swim.

A lanyard attached to cutoff switch

If it comes with the vehicle, riders must connect an engine cutoff switch lanyard to their body or clothing. This lanyard is responsible for shutting the PWC’s engine off if the rider falls off the vehicle. If it is not detached, the vehicle can still go forward and potentially crash into nearby watercraft or people.

A boater education card and photo ID

Riders born in 1988 or later require a boating education card. This certifies that they completed a boating course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) or have a temporary certificate along with their photo ID before operating a vehicle of 10 HP in Florida.

Several PWC riders do not have these certifications which means they lack the proper training to handle these machines. Photo IDs are important because of the state’s age restrictions on the vehicle. Riders must be at least 14 years old to operate a PWC and at least 18 to buy one. People who allow those under 14 years old to operate one can face second-degree misdemeanor charges.

The consequences

PWC riders who do not possess these quintessential tools put themselves and others on the water at risk. If they crash and cause serious injury, the victim can reference the lack of these items against the riders to earn potential compensation for damages.

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