Adapting Boat Rentals to Florida's Boating Safety Act

July 3, 2023


As of July 1, 2023, the Boating Safety Act of 2022, also known as SB 606, has been enforced, bringing about significant changes to the boating industry in Florida. The Act, which was approved by the Governor on June 20, 2022, has direct implications for boat rental businesses, also known as liveries.

The Boating Safety Act of 2022: An Overview

The Boating Safety Act of 2022 introduced a number of new regulations designed to enhance safety on the water. Some of the key elements of the Act include:

  • Authorizing a court to impose a specified fine for certain boating collisions and accidents.
  • Requiring certain boating safety education courses and temporary certificate examinations to include specified components.
  • Requiring operators of vessels used in the instruction of water sports and activities to use engine cutoff switches and wear operative links to the switches under certain conditions.
  • Prohibiting liveries from offering a vessel for lease or rent without a livery permit.

The Significance of the Livery Permit and Insurance Requirement

One of the major changes that the Act introduced is the requirement for liveries to obtain a livery permit before they can rent or lease a vessel. To qualify for this permit, liveries are required to offer their renters the option to purchase insurance that covers them during the rental period.

A service like Buoy has proven to be a valuable tool for liveries looking to fulfill this requirement. Buoy offers a digital insurance solution that provides boat rental companies and their renters with the ability to get insured on a per-trip basis. It also assists liveries in applying for the FWC Livery Permit at no additional cost.

Understanding How Buoy Works

Buoy's service is designed to be simple and easy to use. The process involves three key steps:

  1. Register Your Fleet: Create an account and register your boat(s). Depending on your fleet size, this should take no more than 15 minutes.
  2. At the Dock: Have the renter sign up on Buoy and search for your listed boat by the registration number. Buoy helps your renters purchase insurance and complete the required pre-charter safety instructions and inspect the boat’s condition, all in a paperless manner.
  3. Check-Out: Complete the check-out process with the renter when they return the boat at the end of their charter.

What Does Buoy Cover?

Buoy's insurance offering is comprehensive, providing liability insurance that covers both the renter and the rental company during the rental period. This coverage dovetails with your existing commercial hull insurance policy, ensuring your boats are protected even when they're not being rented out. The coverage includes:

  • Admitted coverage
  • Protection for both the renter and the livery
  • Liability limits up to $500,000 per person, $1M per occurrence
  • Liability that could include damage to the rented boat.

How Much Does Buoy Cost?

The cost of insurance on Buoy is borne by the renter, with the price varying based on factors such as the duration of the charter, the season of the year, the type of boat, and the age of the renter.

What Now?

Now that the Boating Safety Act of 2022 has been implemented, it's crucial for Florida's boat rental companies to adapt. With a service like Buoy, compliance with the new law can be made easy and efficient, allowing your business to sail smoothly into the future. Schedule a call with a Buoy specialist, and they will guide you in navigating the new law.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice.

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