The laws regarding whether you are allowed to take babies on boats in Florida is no different to anywhere else in the United States, in other word, they aren’t any. All I recommend is common sense and safety.
If it’s a newborn baby, I certainly wouldn’t take them on a boat in Florida or anywhere else. However, after a few months I don’t see any problem with doing so, and in fact our youngest was on our pontoon boat from 6 months old.
But there is some guidance put out by the US Coast Guard, and it makes sense to follow that guidance.
What they say is that a baby under 18 pounds shouldn’t travel on a boat.
Why do they say this?
Infant Life Jackets and PFDs
It’s due to the fact that it’s not possible to buy life jackets for babies under this weight.
Once a baby reaches 4 to 11 months old, they should be at least 18 pounds by this point, and then you will be able to buy a life jacket or PFD that fits them properly.
So, can you take a baby on a boat in Florida?
Of course, you can, and there’s now law to say you can’t.
Federal PFD Requirement for Children in Florida
Here’s some actual quotes on legal requirements regarding boating in the state of Florida
Children under 6 years of age must wear a USCG–approved Type I, II, or III PFD at all times while on any vessel less than 26 feet in length that is underway upon Florida waters.
- Vessels operating on waters outside the geographical boundaries of Florida (three miles or the edge of the Gulf Stream, whichever is greater, off the Atlantic coast or nine miles off the Gulf of Mexico coast) are subject to the new federal PFD regulation for children.
- On these waters, each child under 13 years of age who is underway on a recreational vessel must wear an appropriate USCG–approved PFD unless the child is below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
Be Safe and Cautious
If you do decide to take your baby on a Florida boat, please make sure you have a personal flotation device (PFD) that is properly fitted and approved by the US Coast Guard.
When taking very young and newborn babies boating in Florida, then my advice would be to play it really safe.
That means keeping in the dock or marina, anchored up, and if you’re going move, do it real slow perhaps around 6 miles per hour in an area where you aren’t going to get hit by any wakes or waves.
Handy Hint: Boating with babies can be made so much easier if you are prepared with all the essential accessories and gear required. Take a look at the best baby boat gear list I currently recommend.
Going on a Vacation Boat Trip in Florida?
If you’re planning on going on vacation in Florida, and a boat trip is going to be part of your itinerary, don’t leave it to chance that the boat operator will have a life jacket that will fit your baby.
You can buy them for young babies, and they don’t a lot of money at all.
In fact, you can explore the best life jackets for babies of this age dependent on how much they weigh.
To get started take a look at these recommended baby life jackets which are sorted by weight. All of them are US Coast Guard approved, so buy one and take with you on your Florida vacation.
Here’s what to look for if you do buy one.