The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission communicates boating regulations in the state. This applies to vessels lesser than 16 ft. long, Canoes and Kayaks:
Carry personal flotation devices (PFDs):
The boat must have an approved Type I, II or III for each person on board or being towed on water skies etc. The flotation device Must be USCG-approved, in serviceable condition, and properly stored.
NOTE: A Type V hybrid may substitute for any Type I, II, or III device, but must be worn whenever the vessel is underway and the person is not in the cabin or other enclosed area.
When navigating in a vessel class A every person on board under the age of 6 must wear an approved Type I, II, or III while the vessel is underway.
If you have a personal watercraft (PWC) everyone on or operating it must wear an approved Type I, II, III or V PFD. The inflatable PFDs are prohibited.
Also, every person skiing or aquaplaning must wear an approved Type I, II or III PFD. Inflatable PFDs are prohibited.
Make sure your fire extinguishers are USCG-approved - Must be in serviceable condition. An USCG-approved B-1 type fire extinguisher is required for all recreational motorboats except outboard-powered motorboats less than 26 feet long if constructed in a manner that will not allow gas fumes to accumulate.
If your boat has a built-in fuel tank, an inboard engine, compartments where portable fuel tanks may be stored, or open areas between the hull and deck where flammable or explosive gases could accumulate, you must carry a fire extinguisher. Non-motorized boats are exempt from the fire extinguisher requirements.
NOTE: When an approved fixed fire extinguishing system is installed in the machinery space(s), it may be counted in the place of one B-I type hand-held portable fire extinguisher. Some fire extinguishers require specific mounting brackets for approval. Read the label on your fire extinguisher for this information.
Visual Distress Signal:
It is required on the high sea and coastal waters only, and it has to be carried for nighttime use.
NOTE: Coastal waters means the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and all bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc. where any entrance is over 2 miles wide to the first point where the distance between shorelines narrows to 2 miles.
It could be a bell, horn, whistle etc. The regulation rule says that every vessel less than 12 meters (39.4 ft.) in length must carry an efficient sound-producing device. They don’t have any particular specifications; the vessel just needs to produce signals required by the navigational rules.
Backfire Flame Control:
There is a need to control backfire flame of all gasoline engines installed after April 25, 1940, except outboard motors. These backfire flame arrestors must be USCG approved.
For boats built prior to Aug. 1, 1980 you must have at least two ventilator ducts fitted with cowls or their equivalent to ventilate the bilges of every closed engine and fuel-tank compartment on boats constructed or decked over after April 25, 1940, using gasoline as fuel or other fuels having a flash point of 110 degrees or less.
For boats built after Aug. 1, 1980 you must have at least two ventilator ducts for the purpose of efficiently ventilating every closed compartment that contains a gasoline engine and every closed compartment containing a gasoline tank, except for those having permanently installed tanks which vent outside the boat and contain no unprotected electrical devices. Also, engine compartments containing a gasoline engine having a cranking motor must contain power operated exhaust blowers which can be controlled from the instrument panel.
If you own a recreational vessel, remember that is required to display navigation lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility (fog, rain, haze, etc). The U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Rules specify lighting requirements for every description of watercraft.