Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 FAQ - WaveRez
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Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 FAQ

| May 3, 2023 | 15 Min Read

| May 3, 2023 | 15 Min Read
Previously, we've discussed the Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 and WaveRez's response; now let's dive into FAQs associated with this act that can help you further understand what watersport boat tour operators should to do to comply.

Update

We’re sure most liveries have been waiting on the latest update on SB606.  Florida legislature recently passed SB 418.

Here are things to note:

  1. If your insurance carrier specifically has language in the coverage that renters are covered, then you will NOT need to provide additional coverage options. If you are unsure, call your agent for clarification.
  2. If your insurance carrier does not cover the renter, you have a couple of options. First is that you can offer a supplemental insurance policy to your renter to meet the required limits. The renter has the option to decline this coverage, but they are required to hold a Florida Boaters Certificate regardless of their age. If you prefer to not to deal with this, you can switch insurance providers where the renter is covered.
  3. FWC is taking an educational approach and working with livery operators to get signed up with a supplemental insurance solution. July 1st, 2023, is NOT a hard deadline.

Here are more details of the bill below:

SB 418 amends Florida Statute 47 327.54 Liveries; safety regulations; penalty.

A livery may not lease or rent or offer to lease or rent any livery vessel unless the livery:

a) Required to have:

  1. Obtains and carries in full force and effect a policy from a licensed insurance carrier in this state which insures the livery against any accident, loss, injury, property damage, or other casualty caused by or resulting from the operation of the livery vessel.
  2. The insurance policy must provide coverage of at least $500,000 per person and $1 million per event.
  3. The livery shall have proof of such insurance available for inspection at the location where livery vessels are being leased or rented or offered for lease or rent.
  4. Shall provide to each renter the insurance carrier’s name and address and the insurance policy number

b) Option 1, In addition to everything that is required (above in part ‘a’):

  • Obtains and carries in full force and effect a policy from a licensed insurance carrier in this state which insures the renter in the same manner as what is required above.

c) Option 2, In addition to everything that is required (above in part ‘a’):

  1. Present the renter with the opportunity to purchase coverage that insures the renter against any accident, loss, injury, property damage, or other casualty caused by or resulting from the operation of the livery vessel of at least $500,000 per person and $1 million per event.
  2. If a renter chooses not to purchase the coverage, the livery must obtain a signed acknowledgment from the renter, which includes an attestation as to whether the renter has a Florida boating safety identification card issued by the commission, a temporary certificate or another form of boating certification authorized pursuant to s. 327.395, and that includes the following statement:
  3. I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM REFUSING TO PURCHASE A VESSEL RENTAL INSURANCE POLICY FOR COVERAGE OF AT LEAST $500,000 PER PERSON AND $1 MILLION PER EVENT FOR ANY DAMAGE OR INJURIES CAUSED DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY BY MY OPERATION OF THE VESSEL.

THE VESSEL RENTAL INSURANCE POLICY COVERAGE IS BEING OFFERED TO ME AT THE FOLLOWING PRICE: [INSERT BINDABLE PRICE HERE OF INSURANCE BEING DECLINED].

I UNDERSTAND THAT I MAY NOT HAVE OTHER INSURANCE TO COVER ANY DAMAGE OR INJURIES CAUSED DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY BY MY OPERATION OF THE VESSEL AND THAT I MAY BE PERSONALLY LIABLE FOR ANY SUCH DAMAGE OR INJURIES DURING THE RENTAL PERIOD.

General Info

  1. FAQs for Liveries from FWC’s wesite can be found here: https://myfwc.com/boating/regulations/faqs-for-liveries/ 
  2. Where can I find details of Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606)
    •  Section 327.54, Florida Statutes and Chapter 68D-34, Florida Administrative Code have recently been amended to impose new requirements on liveries operating in the State of Florida
    • SB 606 can be found here: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/606
  3. When does Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606) go into effect?
    • January 1, 2023
    • FWC will be educating operators & assisting with the application process for the first 6 months of 2023.  Violators will be educated and warned about the new laws.
  4. Can a livery offer a livery vessel for lease or rent without possessing a valid no-cost permit from FWC?
    • No
  5. What is considered a livery?
    •  The Legislature provided a definition of livery, which, with some exceptions, includes any person, partnership, firm, corporation, association or other entity who advertises and offers a livery vessel for use by another in exchange for any type of consideration when they do not also provide the lessee or renter with a captain, crew or any type of staff or personnel to operate, oversee, maintain, or manage the vessel. (See subsection 327.54(1), F.S. for the definition and exceptions.)

What type of vessels makes my business require a livery permit?

  1. If the livery business rents Motorboats, PWC’s, Paddlecraft, Sail boats, or Houseboats then the livery business will need a livery permit. 
  2. The term “Bareboat” is not defined or used in Florida Statutes, a person (i.e., owner, agent, firm, broker) is not a livery IF the renter is provided a specific captain and crew at the time of rental/lease contractual agreement. Regardless of if there are multiple individuals to choose from on the contractual agreement, if it’s actually a crew provided rental this is not a livery as you are conducting passenger for hire operations which is exempted from livery regulations.  As a reminder, if the contractual agreement requires the use of specific/named captain and crew you are not truly allowing the renter to select as required for a valid “bareboat” under federal definitions, you would be subject to Federal Regulations and Requirements as a passenger vessel for hire.
  3. When a renter or lessee hires their own captain and crew or operates the vessel themselves as in a valid bareboat charter- the OWNER, AGENT, FIRM etc., is a livery and must comply with livery regulations. (this would include if the owner, agent, firm etc. provides a list for referral of master and crew as required by bareboat charter requirements to which the renter has the option of choosing from the list OR hiring their own credentialed master and crew). Plainly put, if you are a true “bareboat” by federal definition, you are a Livery by State of Florida definition.
  4. Boating Clubs are classified as a Livery.
  5. If you provide a captain in the price, then you are not considered a livery.

What is required of the livery?

Apply for FWC’s livery permit.  A livery may not offer a livery vessel for lease or rent without possessing a valid no-cost permit from the Commission (subsection 327.54(2), F.S.)
 

Where do I send the forms to request a livery permit?

The forms and required documents can be e-mailed to [email protected]; if you choose to utilize regular mail, please send them to:
FWC Boating&Waterways
Attn: Livery Permit
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600
 

Which documents do I need to send to FWC to obtain a livery permit?

  1. We will need a list of your vessels available for rent, proof of insurance coverage in accordance with FS 327.54, local business license or tax receipt if applicable, business creation records (such as Articles of Incorporation, State records, Sunbiz.org, etc.) if the permit is issued to a business, a copy of a government-issued photo identification card if the permit is issued to an individual, and a completed Livery Permit Certification Form. The Livery Permit Certification Form as well as aFlorida Livery Permit Checklist are available online.
  2. Access the Livery Statute (FS 327.54) here: Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine (state.fl.us).
  3. Be sure to display all safety information signs at your business. They can be found here:
  4. A livery may not lease or rent a livery vessel that is derelict or at risk of becoming derelict (paragraph 327.54(3)(d), F.S.). 
  5. A livery must maintain a copy of Form FWCDLE_313 (Pre-Rental and Pre-Ride Instruction Checklist and Attestation), signed by both the instructor and the renter/lessee, for 90 days for each rental, and must make the form available for inspection by law enforcement upon request (paragraph 327.54(3)(e), F.S.). you may however include more instruction subjects or expound on the current requirements by using additional materials from your livery.
  6. A livery must have a written contract (containing the information required by paragraph 327.54(3)(g), F.S.) with each renter or lessee and must maintain the contract and make it available to law enforcement for inspection for at least one year.

What type of vessels require me to have liability insurance and what is the amount of coverage I need?

  • A livery may not rent or lease a mechanically propelled vessel, unless the livery carries insurance that insures both the livery and the renter against any accident, loss, injury, property damage, or other casualties.  The insurance policy  must provide coverage in the amounts of at least $500,000 per person and $1 million per event, in accordance with subsection 327.54(7), F.S. 
  • If you only rent human powered vessels (paddle craft), you are not required to have insurance.
  • There is still discussion on this in the Florida House & Senate.
  • Be sure to pay attention to:
    1. SB 728
      1. https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2022/606
      2. Boater’s Safety Courses – SB 728 – could require more livery businesses to require boater’s safety certificates for their customers.  Passed on 3/27/23.  Now pending reference review at the State level
      3. If insurance policy doesn’t cover renter, then Livery must require customer to have a Florida Boating license (January 1, 1988 doesn’t apply)
    2. HB 261 & SB 418
      1. If insurance policy doesn’t cover renter, then Livery must offer renter with opportunity to purchase coverage which insures renter.
      2. Customer has ability to purchase or decline coverage

How long is my permit active for?

Livery permits will be renewed annually, the expiration date will be set to the business creation date or birthdate of the individual named on the permit.

Can I apply for a renewal permit before the permit’s due date?

Yes, you may submit the proper paperwork and apply for a renewal permit before the expiration of your current permit. However, the permit will not be active until after the previous permit expiration date.
 

Is there any cost associated with the livery permit?

No, the livery permit and permit request forms are free. If you add or remove vessels or if your information changes, you will need to contact FWC of any changes within 10 days of the change. You can contact them by phone 850-488-5600 or email [email protected].
 

Do I have to display my permit anywhere?

You are not required to display your permit, however if you like you can print your permit and display at your business location. You should also have your digital version of your livery permit saved to your mobile or business devices to easily locate it, when requested by a law enforcement officer or customer.

Who needs to take a livery operator’s course or boating education course?

Any staff or operators providing the pre-rental instruction must have a completed FL boating safety education course approved by NASBLA. Any employee of a company that is contracted with FWC in the Temporary Certificate Program must also have a completed the FWC Online Livery Operator’s Course.

What are the boating safety education requirements for livery staff?

Employees providing the Pre-Rental/Pre-Ride instruction must have completed a Florida Boater Safety Education Course. Proof of completion must be maintained at the rental/business location. Approved Boater Safety Courses can be found on the FWC Boating Safety Courses page.

Who needs a boating safety education ID card to operate a vessel legally?

In order to operate a motorboat of 10 horsepower or greater, Florida law requires anyone who was born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, to successfully complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Boating Safety Education Identification Card issued by the FWC.
Florida does not have a “boating license.” The Boating Safety Education Identification Card is proof of successful completion of the educational requirements and is valid for life.
 

Are some people born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, exempt from the above requirements?

Yes, there are some exemptions. The exemptions are listed below.

  • A person licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel.
  • A person operating on a private lake or pond.
  • An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is at least 18 years old and possesses the required Boating Safety Education Identification Card, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
  • An operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is exempt from the educational requirements, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel.
  • A nonresident who has in his or her possession proof that he or she has completed a NASBLA-approved boater safety course or equivalency examination from another state.
  • A person is operating a vessel within 90 days after the purchase of that vessel and has available for inspection aboard that vessel a bill of sale meeting all the requirements as established in Chapter 328.46(1), Florida Statutes.
  • A person operating a vessel within 90 days after completing an approved boating safety course, as required in Chapter 327.395(1), and has a photographic I.D. and a boater education course completion certificate showing proof of having completed the required boating safety education course. The course completion certificate must provide the student’s first and last name, date of birth, and the date the course was successfully completed.

How old must a person be for a livery to rent them a personal watercraft?

18 years of age. A livery may not knowingly lease, hire or rent a personal watercraft to any person who is under 18 years of age. (This refers to the agreement/contract for the rental – not the operation of the personal watercraft. The minimum operation age is 14 years of age.)

What type of certification of completion of boating safety education (for people who are renting a boat) can a livery accept for an out-of-state visitor?

Visitors from other states (who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988) who want to rent a vessel of 10 horsepower or greater are required to have certification of completion of an approved boating safety education course. Florida law allows a visitor from another state to use proof of completion (in the form of a card, certificate or something similar) from another state as long as it meets the standards established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Most states (or their contractors) issue certification cards to students who successfully complete an approved course. (The card or certificate should have a statement or logo that identifies the course as having met NASBLA standards.) This applies only to visitors from other states; Florida residents must present proof of completion of a Florida boating safety course (approved by NASBLA and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission).

About the Author

Greg Fisher

Greg Fisher is the Co-founder and CEO of WaveRez, a leading platform revolutionizing watersports and activity reservations. With a passion for innovation and a keen understanding of the tourism industry, Greg has been instrumental in driving the company's growth and success. Under his leadership, WaveRez continues to set new standards in customer experience and operational efficiency.
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