Pensacola is a well-loved destination for boating enthusiasts. The city rests along Pensacola Bay, which connects to the Gulf of Mexico via the Pensacola Pass. This bay is home to several islands, including Santa Rosa Island, Perdido Key, and Big Lagoon.
Boaters in Pensacola can enjoy fishing, swimming, and scenic cruises, with waterfront restaurants and bars for post-boating meals and drinks. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) oversees commercial boating activities, managing marine resources and ensuring safety and wildlife welfare.
Each Getmyboat operator is required to adhere to local regulations, securing the necessary registrations, passes, permits, and fulfilling all criteria for both vessels and captains. This encompasses the proper utilization of designated docks and commercial boating areas while complying with any additional directives outlined in local laws and facility regulations. To facilitate your boating activities in Pensacola, we have compiled crucial information.
The Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606):
As of January 1, 2023, the Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606) has been instituted to bolster safety on Florida's waterways. This objective is achieved by imposing stricter penalties for violations, requiring permits for boat rental operators, and enacting new safety regulations for boat rental companies.
Every boat captain must possess a valid U.S. Coast Guard license that aligns with the vessel type they operate. Vessels capable of accommodating up to six passengers require a 6-pack license, while those with a capacity exceeding six passengers mandate a Master Captain's license. Captains bear the responsibility for ensuring the secure operation of their charter vessels and the well-being of everyone on board. For comprehensive details about captain's licenses, please visit the Mariners Learning System website.
Vessel Titling and Registration:
To finalize your boat's registration, you can visit the local county tax collector's office or an accredited plate agent. Validating your ownership of the boat can be accomplished by presenting a bill of sale, builder's contract, manufacturer's documentation, federal marine document, or an alternative approved form of verification. Should your boat necessitate titling, you must acquire this title before proceeding with the registration process. For further information, please contact the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Boating Safety Education Card:
If you are at least 18 years old and want to operate a boat with a 10-horsepower engine or more in Florida waters, you must have a Boating Safety Card.
Boat rental establishments necessitate insurance coverage to safeguard passengers, and business interests, and fulfill legal obligations. For comprehensive insights into essential insurance, please get in touch with our partner, BCI.
Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:
Several places provide services for boat rentals, and some of them have designated passenger areas. Before finalizing your plans, be sure to review the pickup and drop-off guidelines with the marina or dock.
17th Avenue Boat Launch: N 17th Ave, Pensacola, FL 32502
Mahogany Mill Public Boat Ramp: 1251 Mahogany Mill Rd, Pensacola, FL 32507
Bayview Park Boat Launch: 2001 E Lloyd St, Pensacola, FL 32503
Florida Fish and Wildlife:
Engaging in paid saltwater fishing charters in Florida necessitates a Charter Captain or Boat License. The U.S. Coast Guard mandates that anyone operating a boat for hire must hold a Captain's license or Merchant Mariner Credential.
A Charter Captain License allows a licensed captain to work on various boats, provided they hold a valid Coast Guard license for passenger-carrying vessels. The boat itself must either be registered for commercial use or hold a special certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard authorizing it for commercial operations.
A Charter Boat License pertains exclusively to a single boat and is valid only for that specific vessel. This applies to boats engaged in commercial activities. To obtain this license, you must demonstrate that the boat is either registered for commercial use or holds a special certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard authorizing it for commercial operations.
To acquire a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Charter Captain license, you must possess a Coast Guard Captain's license. For more information regarding the Coast Guard Captain's license, you can contact 1-888-427-5662 or visit the USCG website.
Registration with the FWC is mandatory for all commercial vessels.
Ensure the presence of necessary safety equipment all boats, which includes personal flotation devices (PFDs) for all passengers, a throwable PFD, and visual distress signals.
All children under the age of 6 must wear a PFD at all times while on board a vessel.
Possession of a valid business license from Escambia County is a prerequisite for commercial vessels.
Commercial boats are obligated to undergo a vessel safety inspection conducted by the FWC.
Adherence to Escambia County's zoning regulations for commercial marine activities is mandatory for all commercial boat operators.
Charter boat or fishing guide service providers must secure a permit from Escambia County.
Operators of ferries or water taxi services need a permit from the City of Pensacola.
Compliance with the City of Pensacola's noise ordinance, which restricts excessive boat noise, is required for commercial boat operators.