Located in Lee County along Florida's Gulf Coast, Cape Coral is renowned for its extensive canal system, making it a highly desirable destination for boating and a variety of water-related activities. the city offers numerous suitable boating locations, including its vast network of canals spanning over 400 miles, as well as convenient access to the Gulf of Mexico.
All operators affiliated with GetMyBoat are obligated to adhere to and ensure full compliance with local regulations. This entails acquiring the requisite registrations, permits, passes, and meeting vessel and captain requirements, in addition to employing appropriate docks and designated commercial boating areas, and adhering to any other stipulations outlined in local laws and facility regulations. To assist you, we have compiled the essential information for boating in Cape Coral.
Boating Safety Education Card:
If you were born after January 1, 1988, and intend to operate a boat with an engine of 10 horsepower or more in Florida waters, you are required to hold a Boating Safety Card.
The Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606):
The Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606), in effect since January 1, 2023, is designed to enhance safety on Florida's waterways. It accomplishes this goal by imposing stricter penalties for violations, mandating permits for boat rental operators, and introducing new safety regulations for businesses involved in boat rentals.
Every boat captain must possess a valid U.S. Coast Guard license and provide a copy for validation by the Commission. Vessels with a capacity of six or fewer passengers require a 6-pack license, while those accommodating more than six passengers need a Master's Captain's license. Each captain bears full responsibility for the safe operation of the charter vessel and the well-being of all individuals on board. Additional information on obtaining this license can be obtained through Mariners Learning System & USCG.
To ensure passenger safety, protect your business, and meet legal requirements while running a boat rental service, it is crucial to have the appropriate insurance coverage. For guidance on the necessary coverage, please contact our partner, Boat Charter Insurance.
Vessel Titling and Registration:
To register your boat, visit the official county tax collector or a license plate agent. To establish ownership of the vessel, you may submit a bill of sale, a builder's contract, a manufacturer's document, a federal marine document, or another approved form of documentation. If your boat requires a title, it must be obtained before proceeding with the registration process. Further information is available through the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Florida Fish and Wildlife:
Before conducting paid saltwater fishing trips, you must obtain a specific license, known as a Charter Captain or Boat License. In Florida, guiding individuals for saltwater fishing necessitates compliance with regulations set by the U.S. Coast Guard. Anyone operating a boat for hire must hold either a Captain's license or a Merchant Mariner Credential.
A Charter Captain License allows a certified captain to work on various boats, requiring a valid Coast Guard License for passenger-carrying vessels. Furthermore, any boat used by a charter captain for commercial purposes must either be registered for commercial use or possess a special certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard, confirming its suitability for commercial operations.
Charter Boat Licenses are specific to individual vessels and are valid only for the designated boat. These licenses apply to boats engaged in commercial activities. To obtain one, you must demonstrate that the vessel is registered for commercial use or holds a special certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard authorizing its use for business purposes.
To obtain an FWC Charter Captain license, you must hold a Coast Guard Captain's license. For information about the Coast Guard Captain's license, you can contact 1-888-427-5662. Detailed information about USCG charter boat captain requirements can also be found on the USCG website.
Boat Trailer Parking Program:
The Cape Coral FL Boat Trailer Parking Program costs $15 per day for boaters to park their trailers at the improved ramps while they go out on the water. It was created to reduce ramp congestion, provide security, and enhance services for local boaters.
For-profit businesses in Cape Coral offering water-related services need a $100 commercial permit, valid for one year. You can purchase these permits at City Hall's Parks & Recreation counter or online. For more information visit the City of Cape Coral’s website.
Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:
Several locations permit boat drop-offs and pickups for rentals, and here are a few with designated passenger areas. Prior to confirming your plans, ensure you verify the pickup and drop-off policies with the marina or dock.
- Horton Park & Boat Ramp: Located at 2600 SE 26th Pl, Cape Coral, FL 33904.
- Cape Coral Yacht Club Boat Ramp: Located at 1048 Dolphin Dr, Cape Coral, FL 33904.
- BMX Park Boat Ramp: Located at 1509 SW 7th Ct, Cape Coral, FL 33991.
- A valid business license is a requirement for all commercial boats.
- The City of Cape Coral mandates annual inspections for all commercial boats.
- Commercial fishing boats must possess a valid commercial fishing license issued by the FWC.
- Parking or storage of commercial vessels on public streets or rights-of-way is strictly prohibited.
- Commercial vessels are required to operate safely and responsibly, which entails adhering to posted speed and wake restrictions and avoiding reckless or careless operation.
- When navigating the city's numerous canals and bridges, exercise caution. Some canals have narrow channels and low bridges, necessitating slow and careful navigation.
- Possession of a valid Florida commercial boat operator's license is mandatory for commercial boat operators.
For additional details regarding boating in Cape Coral, feel free to reach out to the Marine Service Division at: (239) 574-0809.