Is there a speed limit for boats on Florida waterways?
There are many similarities in driving a car and driving a boat, including the rules you must follow when your behind the wheel. As you cruise the highway, there are constantly signs telling you where to go, what’s coming up, and the speed you should be traveling. On the water, there are significantly fewer signs, however, when there are signs, it’s especially important you follow them.
One of the regular signs you’ll see on Florida waterways is the speed limit sign, although it probably won’t look like one you see on the road. In Florida, boat speed is regulated in select areas to facilitate boating safety for everyone on the water, but also to protect manatees, so even if it seems like speeding may not put anyone in immediate danger, there is more to consider than other watercrafts.
As you take to the water, look for these Florida speed warning signs to help ensure your safety and those around you.
Idle Speed, No Wake
When you see this sign, you shouldn’t be going any faster than the speed necessary to maintain your ability to steer and move forward, and most importantly, you should not be producing a wake.
Slow Speed, Minimum Wake
As you might expect, you should be producing little to no wake when you see this sign. Your craft should be completely settled in the water with your bow fully settled in the water.
Slow Speed, Outside Channel – Maximum Speed Zone
These signs are as close as you’ll see to the speed limit signs on the road. They indicate that you should be traveling slowly, but highlight a specific speed (typically 25, 30, or 35 mph). However, unlike speed limits on the road that drivers tend to exceed with regularity, it’s important you adhere to the posted speed limits.
Vessels Excluded Swim Area
As it is clearly stated, your boat shouldn’t reach this area, as it’s typically an area where people will be swimming.
As a Florida boater, it’s your responsibility to be aware of any speed limit signs around you and to adhere to them to keep our waterways safe.