(1) Pursuant to section 327.391 F.S., all Airboat Operator Courses developed for the purposes of training airboat operators carrying passengers for hire must be approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. This chapter establishes the minimum standards for airboat for hire operator courses, course providers, course instructors and state specific course content.
(2) Each Airboat Operator Course Provider;
    (a) Shall require its instructors to demonstrate knowledge of boating safety and the current laws and regulations pertaining to the operation of airboats, as well as teaching skills in the area of boating safety, and shall ensure that all instructors meet the qualifications set forth in subsection (2 and 3).
    (b) Is responsible for maintaining an ongoing quality control program for their course. Providers shall periodically update or recertify their instructors. Quality of instruction will be assured through this means with each provider auditing its own program.
    (c) Shall maintain books, records, and documents directly pertinent to the performance and successful completion of an approved Airboat Operators Course in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles consistently applied. Such records shall be available for inspection and audit purposes for no less than five (5) years following course approval.
    (d) Shall confirm that students have proof of successful completion of:
    1. A boater safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and this Commission or a captain’s license issued by the United States Coast Guard; and
    2. A Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation course; and
    3. A First Aid Course.
    (e) Shall supply to an examinee who has received a passing score on the examination and passed the on the water practical evaluations, either an electronic or printable certificate that contains the below information:
    1. Certificates must include the name of the Provider; date of issue; the student’s first name, middle initial, last name, date of birth, current mailing address; the passing score on the examination, including the date of the successful completion, and the primary instructor for the classroom and on the water training.
    (3) Each Airboat Instructor shall have knowledge of boating safety, and the current laws and regulations pertaining to the operation of airboats, as well as teaching skills in the area of boating safety and airboat operation.
    (4) Each Airboat Instructor must meet the following criteria:
    (a) Must be at least 21 years of age.
    (b) Have obtained either a High-School Diploma or GED.
    (c) Have a boating privilege that is current and has not had their privilege to operate a vessel in Florida suspended in the past three years.
    (d) No felony convictions within the previous five years.
    (e) Must have a minimum of 120 hours of documented airboat operation time within last three years, to be completed at a minimum of 40 hours per year.
    (5) Each Airboat Operator Course taught pursuant to Florida Statutes § 327.391, must meet the minimum instruction requirements established by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and maintain current approval from the Commission.
    (a) The course will be a minimum of 24 hours total instruction and testing time, to include the following minimums criteria:
    1. 8 hours of classroom instruction/written testing
    2. 14 hours of on the water instruction, practice, and testing of operational practicals where
    a. The student to instructor ratio of 3:1 maximum for the on-the-water instruction is maintained, and
    b. Each student has 4 hours of individual operating time.
    (b) Each course approved by FWC will contain the same information required in the FWC supplied course material based on the United States Department of Interior United States Fish and Wildlife service Airboat Training Module’s Manual including the on-the-water practicals and testing, (FWC Airboat Operator Course Development Manual effective date 10/2018) is hereby incorporated by reference and is available at http://www.flrules.org/Gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-09910, or by contacting FWC Boating and Waterwys Section at 620 South Meridian Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399 or (850) 488-5600.
    (c) An approved course will contain and use the following;
    1. A boating safety workbook or text, or the electronic equivalent.
    2. A final exam of not less than 50 questions, including a minimum of 10 Florida-specific questions, and require a minimum passing score of 80 percent.
    3. Course lesson plans minimum requirements:
    a. Subject
    b. References (Manual section or other lesson reference material, i.e. navigation rules as provided in the United States Coast Guard Navigation Rules Handbook previously known as COMDTINST M16672.2D) which is available at https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/pdf/navRules/CG_NRHB_20180126.pdf
    c. Objectives (Standards being taught)
    d. Safety Considerations (Practical exercises i.e. double hearing protection, water depth for maneuvers, maximum speed, weather considerations, First Aid, etc.)
    e. Assessment (How is the student graded, written or demonstration, what is pass and what is fail)
    f. Procedure
    g. Instructor actions (ex. Pre-flight checklist)
    h. Desired student outcome (ex. Student should be able to demonstrate how to check the oil, identify proper nomenclature of equipment and components on the checklist such as oil pressure gauge, oil filter, etc.)
    4. A syllabus or course outline.
    5. A list of course objectives.
    6. The on-the-water practicals and testing must include shallow water operation, deep water operation, docking, beaching, and transitions from water to land and back to water.
    (d) Each course must be updated and re-approved by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission every three years.
    (e) Airboat Operators carrying passengers for hire will take refresher training at least every 5 years. The refresher training will contain a minimum of 8 hours of instruction and testing. Included in this 8 hours will be an exam meeting the final exam criteria and 6 on the water hours including successful demonstration and testing of the water practical criteria by the examinee.
    (f) Any person administering the Airboat Operators Course and examinations is prohibited from providing assistance of any kind to the examinee during the examination and must not allow, suffer, or permit any other person to assist the examinee during the examination. The term “assistance” does not include the provision of reasonable accommodations if required under the Americans with Disabilities Act or s. 501 of the Rehabilitation Act.
    (6) Minimum state specific course topic content required by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission should include:
    (a) Florida specific boating requirements.
    (b) Florida’s adoption of all federal equipment requirements.
    (c) Ecosystem Awareness, based on local issues.
    (d) Boating accident requirements — remaining on scene; rendering assistance; reporting accidents.
    (e) Problems seeing other vessels and being seen by them.
    (f) Boating Restricted Areas and Regulatory markers including Idle Speed, Slow Speed, and mile per hour restrictions.
    (g) Operator responsibility (ethics), courtesy and good judgment on the water.
    (h) Avoiding careless, reckless, and negligent operation of vessels.
    (i) The effects of alcohol, controlled substances, and stressors.
    (j) Navigation Rules including maintaining proper lookout, safe speed, and requirements of give way or stand on vessels.
    (k) Aids to navigation; buoys and other waterway markers.
    (l) Awareness of changes in weather or water conditions and proper responses to those changes.
    (m) Boating accidents including causes and prevention of airboat accidents.
    (n) Noise, nuisances, environmental and other operational concerns.
Rulemaking Authority 327.391 FS. Law Implemented Florida Statutes § 327.391. History—New 10-1-18.