Florida Maritime Boundaries

Although most states have a maritime boundary of three nautical miles from the shoreline, Florida’s maritime boundary is not always so.

The Atlantic boundary of the state is:

[D]ue east [from the mouth of the St. Marys River] to the edge of the Gulf Stream or a distance of three geographic miles whichever is the greater distance; thence in a southerly direction along the edge of the Gulf Stream or along a line three geographic miles from the Atlantic coastline and three leagues distant from the Gulf of Mexico coastline, whichever is greater, to and through the Straits of Florida. Art. II, ยง 1(a), Fla. Const.

However this moving boundary can range from a distance close to shore to 40 miles out; therefore, evidence has to be presented of the boundary line for a particular legal event or else the court will use the three nautical mile standard for analysis of the Florida maritime boundary.

The Gulf Coast boundary is nine nautical miles out from shore.

Florida jurisdiction applies to the navigable waters, the marginal sea adjacent to the land, the high seas when navigated as part of a journey or ride from Florida shores, and all inland lakes, rivers, and canals within the state. F.S. 327.02(44). However this does not include private lakes and ponds.

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