News4Jax reports that a man who was injured in a personal watercraft accident in the Matanzas River on Friday afternoon has died. A 63 male died at UF Health Jacksonville. The accident occurred after 3 p.m. just south of the State Road 312 bridge. Two jet skis were traveling together, but only one crashed. St. Johns County rescue crews transported the male to Flagler Hospital with critical injuries after the accident. He was then transported to UF Health. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, who are investigating the accident, believed he hit either a sandbar or some sort of object just below the water’s surface. The owner of Boat Florida Rentals, told News4Jax that can happen without being close to shore. He said boaters also need to watch out for what others are doing. He went on to tell News4Jax that people need to remember that the legal limit for driving a boat with alcohol is .08. So you can’t be intoxicated driving the boat.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation and Commission gives us a summary of Florida’s boating laws, found in Chapter 327 and Chapter 328 of Florida Statutes. Each person operating, riding on, or being towed behind a personal watercraft must wear an approved non-inflatable wearable personal flotation device (PFD). Inflatable PFDs are prohibited for personal watercraft use.
The operator of a personal watercraft must attach the engine cutoff switch lanyard (if equipped by the manufacturer) to his/her person, clothing or PFD.
Personal watercraft may not be operated from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise, even if navigation lights are used. Remember, both federal and state law requires the use of navigation lights from sunset to sunrise.
Maneuvering a personal watercraft by weaving through congested vessel traffic, jumping the wake of another vessel unreasonably close or when visibility around the vessel is obstructed, or swerving at the last possible moment to avoid collision is classified as reckless operation of a vessel (a first-degree misdemeanor).
A person must be at least 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft in Florida.
A person must be at least 18 years of age to rent a personal watercraft in Florida.
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly allow a person under 14 years of age to operate a personal watercraft (a second-degree misdemeanor).
Anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 is required to either have successfully completed a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) approved boating education course or have passed a course equivalency or temporary certificate examination and have in their possession a boating education ID card and a photo identification card before operating a vessel with a motor of 10 HP or more in Florida. Identification cards for persons completing the course or the equivalency exam are good for a lifetime. Temporary Certificate exams are made available to the public through contractors. The temporary certificate is valid for 12 months from the issue date.