Marine Patrol Unit

Boating on our waterways is a popular pastime for residents and visitors but it can quickly become dangerous if you do not follow marine laws and regulations. The Highland Beach Marine Unit enforces maritime laws to ensure the safety of our waterways.

Our Marine Unit enforces federal and state laws and requirements for all boats, and it is important that all owners/operators know these rules and regulations and comply with them while on the water. 

 Boating Safety Rules & Regulations        

  • The boat must be registered, and the numbers properly displayed.
  • There must be at least one Personal Flotation Device (PFD) in good condition for each person on the boat. If there are children, make sure there is a PFD that fits each child. All PFDs must be Coast Guard-approved, easily accessible and not locked in a compartment.
  • Fire extinguishers must be aboard the boat and number and size of extinguishers are determined by the size of the vessel.
  • Navigation lights must be present and operational.
  • A Sound Producing Device or bell must be onboard.
  • The vessel condition must be good.
  • Not required, but a really good idea to have on the vessel is a marine radio and a well-stocked first-aid kit.
  • Motorized and self-propelled watercraft are not allowed to launch from the beach.
  • Boaters must observe all manatee protection zone requirements.
  • Except in the event of an emergency, it is unlawful to moor or fasten to any lawfully placed navigation aid or regulatory maker. 

Responsible Boating 

  • Maintain a safe speed and obey all posted signage and rules of navigation.
  • Excessive use of alcohol should be avoided and there should be a “designated operator” who does not consume alcohol at all.
  • Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and respond accordingly.
  • Make sure someone on land knows your “float plan” or the general area you plan to navigate.
  • Scan the water in all directions on a regular basis for hazardous situations.
  • Children under 6 years of age must wear an approved lifeguard jacket at all times while on any vessel less than 26 feet in length. 
  • Channel 16 is designated as the national distress, safety and calling frequency.

All boat owners should consider having a Vessel Safety Check. This is a free check conducted by the local Coast Guard Auxiliary for boaters who wish to make sure that their vessel meets all federal and local safety requirements.

For more information on the Vessel Safety Check and information on local or online Boating Education Courses visit

If you are a Florida resident to take the Boat Florida Course on boating safety. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission offers a list of Florida’s boating rules and regulations at

Boat safely and enjoy our waterways!