Florida Regulatory Guide

Florida has regulations related to the operation of vessel, including boats used for leasing. These regulations cover various aspects of vessel operation, such as equipment requirements, safety procedures, and licensing requirements for operators. On this page, we navigate you through everything you need to have in place in order to ensure that your boat rental business is compliant with Florida’s regulations, along with some other important things to keep in mind.

Boxes you need to tick

These are requirements as defined by law:

Age Requirement

Renters must be minimum 18 years old

Insurance Requirement

Insurance policy for both the livery and the renter for any accident, loss, injury, property damage, or other casualty resulting from the operation of the boat.

The policy must provide coverage of at least $500,000 per person and $1 million per event. The livery must maintain proof of such insurance and make it available upon inspection. The FWC must verify valid insurance during the livery permit approval process.

Livery Pre-Rental and Pre-Ride Instruction Checklist

Renters must follow livery pre-rental and pre-ride instruction checklist

Boating Safety Education Requirement

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 must obtain a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card.

Anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, who will be operating a boat in Florida waters with an engine of ten (10) horsepower or more is required to complete an approved boating safety course and obtain a Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card. This card, which does not expire, certifies the person named on the card has successfully completed the required boating safety education course.

Rental Agreement

The livery must have a written agreement with the renter or lessee that includes the renter/lessee’s name, address, date of birth, emergency contact name and address and telephone number.

The agreement must include the number of people onboard the vessel and the vessel’s expected return time. Renter agreements must be maintained for one (1) year and must be made available to law enforcement upon request.

Livery Operator Permit Requirement

Renters must obtain a state issued, no-cost Livery Operator Permit if they are renting motorboats, personal watercraft (PWC), paddlecraft, sailboats, or houseboats that are being operated on the waters of the state.

Keep in mind when renting out boats


Safety Equipment
Safety Sign Display Requirement
Record Requirement

Not required

Recommended Video

The information provided is intended to be general and informative, and should not be interpreted as regulatory, legal, or insurance advice. It does not constitute professional advice from a licensed insurance agent and does not establish an attorney-client or insurer-insured relationship. This information should not replace the counsel of a qualified legal, regulatory, or insurance professional. Always consult with a qualified professional for legal, regulatory, or insurance advice pertaining to your specific circumstances.

Boat Rental Accident Reporting

Each vessel owner or operator must immediately (as soon as it is possible) contact the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) by dialing: 1 888 404 3922 or # FWC Cellular or the sheriff of the county in which the accident occurred; or the police chief of the municipality where the accident occurred.

You must also complete this form and mail it to the (unless a law enforcement officer completes a written Accident Investigation Report):

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Boating & Waterways Section

620 South Meridian Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-1600

State and federal law require that the vessel operator must report any accident that involves any of the following:

·      A person's death;

·      An injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid;

·      The disappearance of a person from the boat under circumstances that indicate death or injury; or

·      Total property damage to all boats, docks, etc. involved in the accident exceeding $2,000.00


The report must be submitted

·      If a person dies - Within 24 hours

·      If an injury requiring medical treatment beyond first aid - Within 48 hours

·      The disappearance of a person from the boat under circumstances that indicate death or injury - Within 48 hours

·      Property damage only - Within 10 days

Report Accident

Federal Regulation

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) regularly provides updates on recentchanges in regulation and have overviews of specific requirements for boatrental companies

Buoy is your one-stop shop for compliance & insurance

Buoy provides boat rental companies with peace of mind while saving time and money. When using Buoy’s insurance solution, we will help you get fully compliant free of charge.

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