Here’s how it works for boaters…A boating license is not required in Florida, but boater education is mandatory for all Florida residents born after January 1, 1988 who operate a powered watercraft of ten horsepower or greater. Once you obtain your recreational credentials, you will be issued a Florida Boating Safety ID. You must be at least 14 years of age to operate a powered watercraft; and it is illegal to rent, hire or lease a watercraft if you are under 18 years of age. You also need a boat towing permit if you tow a vessel larger than eight feet, six inches.
As far as fishing – whether saltwater or freshwater – if you cast a line or catch and release in Florida, you are required to have a fishing license in your possession. This applies to harvesting shellfish like clams, crabs and lobsters as well. Florida residents who are exempt include:
- Those under 16 and over 65 with proof of residency and age
- Recreational pier fishermen in possession of a pier fishing license
- Fishermen on a for-hire vessel
- Military members who are on leave for 30 days or less
- Fishermen in their own county who are fishing with live or natural bait on poles without a fish retrieval mechanism
- Those with proof of eligibility for food stamps, temporary cash assistance or Medicaid
- Those with proof that they are clients of developmental disabilities services.