Boating Safety

Morning light on downtown Miami
Located next to one of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, boating traffic in the park is heavy. 90 percent of park visitors enter the park by boat.

NPS image by Matt Johnson

Each year people are killed or injured in boating accidents. Many of the accidents could have been avoided. While boating, please keep the following basics in mind -

  • Never drink and drive
  • Never sit on the bow or gunwales while underway
  • Always maintain proper lookout
  • Always operate at a safe speed
  • When a divers down flag is flying, maintain at least a 300 foot distance or slow to idle speed.
  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Observe boating "rules of the road"
  • Learn more from the U.S. Coast Guard or Florida's boating safety page

For those who wish to improve boating skills, free boating education classes are available.

  • The class is free for the public and $50 for those taking it as a requirement.
  • Class topics include; park natural and cultural resources, boating safety, navigation rules, boat groundings, boater liability and how to get involved at Biscayne and Everglades National Parks.
  • Call 305-230-1144 x041 for more information.
  • Spanish-language classes are avialable (Spanish brochure).

Columbus Day weekend information

Safety Equipment saves lives and allows you to relax and enjoy your time on the water. Local chapters of U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary perform courtesy boat inspections at many marinas.

Required equipment -

  • Lifejackets - One per person, correctly sized and all children under six years old must wear a lifejacket (vessels < 26 feet)
  • Throwable type IV flotation device (vessels > 16 feet)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Visual distress kit
  • Sound making device (horn or whistle)
  • Dive flag (if snorkeling or diving) (20 x 24 inches)

Recommended equipment -

  • Anchor and line
  • Radio (with US Coast Guard hailing and distress Channel 16)
  • Nautical chart so you don't run aground
  • First aid kit

Last updated: July 24, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

9700 SW 328th Street
Sir Lancelot Jones Way

Homestead, FL 33033


(305) 230-1144

Contact Us