Main Content

 

    UNDERWATER OPERATIONS
 
       

 

All persons diving in Florida waters must display a divers-down flag. Diving means swimming at or below the surface of the water while equipped with a mask and snorkel, or any other underwater breathing apparatus. This flag must be at least 20" in height.

The Navigation Rules require vessels which are restricted in their ability to maneuver because of diving activity to exhibit a rigid Letter “A” flag. The “Alpha flag” must be rigid and at least 1 meter (3'3") in height. This flag is a navigational signal advertising only that the vessel’s maneuverability is restricted because of diving activity. It is displayed on the vessel in addition to, not in place of, the Florida divers-down flag.

Changes In rules Regarding Divers-down Flags in Florida

• The size of divers-down flags displayed on vessels has been increased from 12” x 12” to 20” to 24” and requires a stiffener to keep the flag unfurled. (Note: Dive flags carried on floats may still be 12” x 12”.)

• Dive flags on vessels must be displayed so that visibility to the flag is not obstructed.

• Vessel operators must make reasonable efforts to maintain a distance of 100 feet from any divers-down flag while on a river, inlet, or navigation channel; divers must make a reasonable effort to stay within 100 feet of the divers-down flag on rivers, inlets, or navigation channels and within 200 feet on all waters other than rivers, inlets, or navigation channels; vessel operators must make a reasonable effort to maintain a distance of 300 feet from vessels displaying dive flags on these waters.

• Vessels may approach within 100 feet or 300 feet of a divers-down flag at idle speed.

• “Buzzing” a dive flag has been added to the description of reckless operation of a vessel, which is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000.00 and/or up to 6 months in jail