Rules for Boaters and Scuba Divers

by Nicole L.

I am a boater and would like to know what the rules are regarding boaters and scuba divers. If there are scuba divers in the water should the divers be marked to let the boaters or water craft know what area they are in? Is there a set rule for this?

Concerned Boater

Hi Nicole,

That's a good question. And one I can appreciate since my husband's surface marker line was once hooked by a passing boat that was fishing. Some scary moments there to say the least.

Unfortunately, there is no set rule regarding divers and boaters. The law is generally done on a state by state basis.

Many (if not most) states do require that a diver fly a flag alerting others that divers are down. If a flag is required, there is usually a limit to how close a boater is allowed to come to the flag.

One law I've seen in several states is that a boater is to stay at least 100 feet away from a dive flag.

In addition, there may also be a rule that requires a diver surface within a certain distance from the dive flag.

That being said, some states (Maine I believe is one) don't require a dive flag to be flown. It varies with each state.

A couple places to start researching are


For the final word though, I would go to your state website and find the exact law in place.

Hopefully this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Thanks for getting in touch and safe boating.


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