St. Petersburg, located on Florida's western coast, is a major hub for commercial boating, with numerous ports and marinas catering to various types of vessels, including fishing and tour boats. Additionally, the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide opportunities for activities like swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
All GetMyBoat operators must comply with local regulations. This entails securing the necessary registrations, passes, permits, and adhering to vessel and captain requirements, as well as utilizing designated docks and boating areas for commercial operations, in accordance with local laws and facility regulations. To assist you, we've compiled essential information for boating in St. Petersburg, FL.
Florida Fish and Wildlife:
Before conducting paid saltwater fishing trips in Florida waters, a special license known as a Charter Captain or Boat License is required. To guide individuals in saltwater fishing, you must adhere to U.S. Coast Guard regulations. Operators of boats for hire must hold either a Captain's license or Merchant Mariner Credential.
A Charter Captain License permits certified captains to work on different vessels. To obtain this license, a valid Coast Guard License for passenger-carrying vessels is necessary. Additionally, any vessel used by a charter captain for commercial purposes must be registered for commercial use or possess a special certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard authorizing commercial use.
Charter Boat Licenses are specific to individual vessels and can only be used for the designated boat. These licenses are available for boats utilized for business purposes and require proof of registration for commercial use or a special certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard allowing commercial activities.
To acquire an FWC Charter Captain license, you must first possess a Coast Guard Captain's license. For information on the Coast Guard Captain's license, please call 1-888-427-5662 or visit the USCG website for USCG charter boat captain details.
Every captain must hold a valid U.S. Coast Guard license, which they must provide a copy of to the Commission for verification. For vessels carrying six or fewer passengers, a 6-pack license is required, whereas those with more than six passengers must obtain a Master's Captain's license. Each captain bears full responsibility for the safe operation of the charter boat and the welfare of all on board. Additional information on acquiring the license can be found at Mariners Learning System.
Boating Safety Education Card:
If your birth date falls on or after January 1, 1988, and you intend to operate a boat in Florida waters equipped with a 10 horsepower or higher engine, you must possess a Boating Safety Card. Visit FWC for additional information.
To ensure the safety of passengers, safeguard your business, and comply with the law while operating a boat rental service, it is essential to have the appropriate insurance coverage. For guidance on the necessary coverage, please contact our partner, BCI.
The Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606):
SB 606 is a recently enacted law that became effective on January 1, 2023. This law aims to enhance safety on Florida's waterways by imposing stricter penalties for violations, establishing a permitting program for boat rental operators, and introducing new requirements for boat rental operations.
Vessel Titling and Registration:
To register your boat, you must visit the county tax collector or license plate agent. You can demonstrate ownership by providing a bill of sale, builder's contract, manufacturer's document, federal marine document, or another accepted document. If your boat requires titling, you must complete this process before obtaining registration. Additional information can be found at Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles .
Boat Ramp Use:
Prior to utilizing any of the public boat ramps within the city, commercial vessels must secure a permit. This permit necessitates an annual fee and mandates that the permit sticker be placed on the commercial vessel in accordance with the permit's specified method and location, ensuring its visibility at all times. More information can be obtained by calling (727) 892-5000 or (727) 893-7345.
Passenger Pick Up/ Drop Off:
Numerous locations provide facilities for the pickup and return of rental boats, and here are some with designated passenger zones. Before confirming your plans, ensure to verify the pickup and drop-off procedures with the appropriate marina or dock.
- Jungle Prada de Narvaez Park Boat Ramp: Located at 8322 Elbow Ln N, St. Petersburg, FL 33710
- St. Petersburg Municipal Marina: Located at500 1st Ave SE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701