(1) It is unlawful to operate a vessel in a reckless manner. A person is guilty of reckless operation of a vessel who operates any vessel, or manipulates any water skis, aquaplane, or similar device, in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property at a speed or in a manner as to endanger, or likely to endanger, life or limb, or damage the property of, or injure any person. Reckless operation of a vessel includes, but is not limited to, a violation of s. 327.331(6). Any person who violates a provision of this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(2) Any person operating a vessel upon the waters of this state shall operate the vessel in a reasonable and prudent manner, having regard for other waterborne traffic, posted speed and wake restrictions, and all other attendant circumstances so as not to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person. The failure to operate a vessel in a manner described in this subsection constitutes careless operation. However, vessel wake and shoreline wash resulting from the reasonable and prudent operation of a vessel shall, absent negligence, not constitute damage or endangerment to property. Any person who violates the provisions of this subsection commits a noncriminal violation as defined in s. 775.08.
(3) Each person operating a vessel upon the waters of this state shall comply with the navigation rules.
(a) A person whose violation of the navigation rules results in a boating accident, but whose violation did not constitute reckless operation of a vessel, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(b) A person whose violation of the navigation rules does not result in a boating accident and does not constitute reckless operation of a vessel is guilty of a noncriminal violation as defined in s. 775.08.
(c) Law enforcement vessels may deviate from the navigational rules when such diversion is necessary to the performance of their duties and when such deviation may be safely accomplished.
(4) Unless otherwise provided in this chapter, the ascertainment of fault in vessel operations and boating accidents shall be determined according to the navigation rules.
History.—s. 1, ch. 59-400; s. 3, ch. 63-105; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 81-100; s. 6, ch. 84-188; s. 6, ch. 86-35; s. 2, ch. 88-133; s. 2, ch. 89-136; s. 45, ch. 91-224; s. 1, ch. 92-92; s. 6, ch. 2000-362.