Starting January 1, 2023, Florida Senate Bill 606, cited as the “Boating Safety Act of 2022,” requires all boat rental (livery) companies, both commercial and peer-to-peer operators to, amongst other things, to obtain and carry an insurance policy which insures both the livery and renter. Buoy's standard Livery and Renter Liability Policy (“Policy”) provides coverage in accordance with SB606 requirements.
SB606 was signed into law in June 2022 and will go into effect on January 1st, 2023. The law generally amends the Florida statutory sections pertaining to boater safety laws. Specifically, SB606 will significantly impact and alter Florida laws relating to the regulation of liveries (i.e., boat rental operations). SB606 will require liveries to (1) secure a no-cost livery permit from the FWC prior to offering a vessel for lease or rent; (2) secure an insurance policy which meets the specifications set under SB606; (3) deliver pre-rental safety and operational instruction to Renters; and, (4) report any accidents or unnecessarily overdue rentals to the FWC.
SB606 will require the FWC to take an active role in implementation and enforcement of livery regulation. FWC is the agency that will be charged with livery permit applications, issuances, and renewals. Furthermore, the FWC must verify that liveries operating under a permit are in compliance with insurance and safety requirements set by the law.
This text is intended to briefly break down the critical components of SB606.
SB606: Florida Senate Bill 606 amending Fla. Stat. § 327.54 and other statutory sections. Livery: Under SB606, a “Livery” is a person who offers a vessel for rent. A livery does not provide the renter with a captain, crew, or any type of staff or personnel to operate, oversee, maintain, or manage the vessel. Buoy: Mobile application currently in prototype stage. The app may do the following: (1) allow liveries to submit livery permit applications and corresponding documentation; (2) verify insurance policies; (3) built in pre-rental safety and boat operation instruction during rental check-in; (4) accident reporting and unnecessary overdue rental reporting; and, (5) allows liveries to maintain documents required by SB606 CICO: “Check-In/Check-Out” (“CICO”) refers to the pre-rental and post-rental requirements.
FWC Resource Guide
Below is a list of resources that the FWC has released over the past few months in order to better prepare everyone for the upcoming changes.
Buoy's standard Policy will require insureds to be in compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations concerning the operation and rental of the livery vessel. Under SB606, the following are some key areas that Liveries and/or Renters must comply with:
1. Livery Permit
First, SB606 requires Liveries to secure a no-cost livery permit from the FWC before offering any boats for lease or rent. In order to qualify for the permit, the Livery must: (1) provide the FWC with a list of all vessels offered by the livery for rent; (2) have valid insurance in compliance with what is mandated by the statute; (3) have the requisite amount of USCG-approved life jackets sufficient to accommodate the capacity of all vessels offered for rent; (4) have on site all safety equipment required by Florida and Federal laws; (5) display boating safety information in a place visible to the renting public.
2. Insurance Requirements
Second, SB606 requires a livery to obtain and carry an insurance policy which insures 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. Insurance requirements do not apply to human-powered vessels, such as kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, etc.
Buoy's standard Policy provides coverage for the Livery, Renter, and Vessel.
Third, SB606 requires liveries to provide pre-rental or pre-ride instruction. The instruction must include (1) operational characteristics of the rented vessel; (2) safe vessel operation and vessel right-of-way; (3) boat operator's responsibility for the safe and proper operation of the vessel; (4) waterway characteristics such as navigational hazards, boating-restricted areas, and water depths; and, (5) emergency procedures. The Renter receiving the instruction must provide the livery with a statement attesting to each component of the instruction. Further, The FWC is required to establish by rule the content of the statement form.
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