Recent Push in Florida to Raise Age for Watercraft Use


As summer’s heat is squarely upon us, more and more families head to our nation’s lakes, rivers, and oceans to enjoy boating, jet skiing, and other water sports. What many people don’t realize is that there are children operating many of those watercraft with very little operating experience and training.

In Florida, one of the nation’s most popular places for watercraft and water sports, children 14 and older can legally operate a personal watercraft and ride through the water at speeds greater than 60 mph.

In March 2007, 14-year-old high school freshman Tyler Goldberg slammed the Sea-Doo he was driving into a dock, suffered massive chest, neck and head injuries, and died two weeks later. Tyler’s mother, Lee Nossen, is now pushing Florida lawmakers to raise the minimum watercraft operating age to 16; Mrs. Nossen’s efforts are supported by national boating groups and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Soon after Tyler’s funeral, Nossen, along with several local prominent attorneys and doctors, formed the Tyler Scott Goldberg Foundation, which is lobbying to raise the minimum age to 16. The Foundation also wants anyone under 21 to be required to take a training class on personal watercraft use.