Boating Safety & Education

Emergency Locator Beacons/ELBs

Emergency Locator Beacon

Important Update:

Effective July 1, 2017, Florida law allows a reduction in vessel registration fees if the vessel or vessel owner has an applicable ELB. You can find more information by visiting the DHSMV website External Website.

Get the most out of your boating experience by being prepared.  Boating in Florida is more fun when you are ready for anything.  Always wear your life jacket and, before your next trip on the water, make sure to purchase, register, and have onboard your vessel an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) or Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). You never know when it may save your life and the lives of others.

An EPIRB or PLB is used to alert search and rescue (SAR) agencies in the event of an emergency.  It does this by transmitting a coded message on the 406 MHz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest Rescue Coordination Center, which then notifies rescue personnel.  If your EPIRB transmits GPS coordinates, your position can be identified in as little as 2-3 minutes.

An EPIRB is registered to a vessel and may be deployed automatically or manually.  A PLB is registered to a person and may be used on land as well as the water.  PLBs must be manually activated and may need to be held out of the water to function properly even though they are waterproof.

You must register your EPIRB or PLB with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at – it is very easy and only takes a few minutes.  If any of your information changes (phone number, address, emergency contact information, bought a new boat, etc.), you should update your EPIRB/PLB registration.

A national campaign, Saved by the Beacon, led by the National Safe Boating Council, helps recreational boaters understand the importance of emergency locator beacons and how to use them correctly in the case of a boating emergency.  For more information, go to

Governor Scott Recommends Emergency Locator Beacons Adobe PDF

Boating Safety

Recreational Boating Accidents - Carelessness and inattention are the leading causes of boating accidents in Florida. Pay close attention to your surroundings while on the water, and you will be on your way to a safe and enjoyable outing.

Life Jackets | Hypothermia | Rip Current | Float Plan icon_PDF.gif | Safety Equipment

What to do in the event of a hurricane - links to information to help boaters prepare for storms and deal with the aftermath.

Boater Education

Get Your Boater Safety Education Card - Did you know that anyone born on or after January 1, 1988 must have a Boating Safety Education ID Card to legally operate a boat in Florida? Read this to find out more about what the law requires and how to get your card.

Boating Glossary - Terminology you should know before going boating.

Florida Boating Safety Educator of the Year Nominations - You have the opportunity to nominate the Boating Safety Educator of the Year for the State of Florida and to compete for the national award through the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).


Effective October 1, 2011

Florida Virtual School

Florida Virtual School (FLVS®) is now offering high school students (grades 9-12) the ability to complete their Hunter Safety and Boater Safety certification while earning 0.5 credit for high school. The new FLVS physical education course is now available for free to Florida students. To learn more, watch this video:

Florida Virtual School Outdoor Education Course. Free and open to Florida residents ages 12 to 18. The only course in the nation to combine both hunting and boating safety. Participants will develop skills in outdoor activities and learn about the benefits of physical activity while using proper safety procedures to experience wildlife, outdoor and extreme sports. By meeting all of the requirements of the Outdoor Education course, not only will students receive their Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card and be eligible to obtain a Florida Hunter Safety Certificate, they’ll also earn a 0.5 credit for high school, and meet public school requirements for taking an online course and a physical education course.

FWC Facts:
Inflatable PFDs are prohibited for personal watercraft use.

Learn More at AskFWC