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2022 Florida Boating Safety Act – What You Need to Know

February 04, 2022
Legal News

The New Boating Safety Legislation Introduced in the Florida House and Senate

GOP Senator Ileana Garcia and Republican representative Adam Botana have sponsored bills in the Florida Senate and House to improve boating safety and prevent accidents on the water. The Boating Safety Act of 2022 requires rental companies to obtain a no-cost permit through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and will impose additional regulations.

At Mase Mebane Seitz, we know the importance of this and other efforts to reduce the number of boating accidents on Florida waterways. We provide dedicated legal representation to individuals who have been injured in boating accidents. Our lawyers have successfully tried hundreds of cases and will fight to ensure that you receive the maximum recovery on your case.

If you were injured in a South Florida boating accident, contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free, no-obligation consultation. 

New Boating Safety Legislation

As noted in a press release from Senator Ileana Garcia (Miami), she and Representative Adam Botana (Bonita Springs) are sponsoring the Boating Safety Act of 2022, filed as Senate Bill 606 and House Bill 493. The legislation is aimed at improving safety on Florida’s waterways through increased penalties for violations, a permitting program, and new requirements for livery (boat rental) operations.

New rental requirements would include additional safety instruction requirements, the implementation and storage of written agreements for at least one year, and the ability of law enforcement to inspect rental facilities and their documentation. 

Careless Vessel Operation

According to the senator, the bill is part of an overhaul attempting to deter and prevent illegal rental operations. Illegal rental operations likely contributed to a large number of injuries and deaths. In 2020, boating accidents increased 16% when compared with the previous year. 

Many boating accidents are caused by careless vessel operation, which the senator hopes to address with this legislation. Rental companies are now required to give out enhanced instructions on the safe operation of the vessel. 

Increased Penalties

The Boating Safety Act would also increase penalties for a number of violations and create an illegal Boating Strike Team to help support local law enforcement. All of these measures are aimed at stopping bad actors and preserving the natural resources of Florida’s coast.

Penalties would increase for:

  • Boating under the influence 
  • Operating with an expired registration
  • Violating navigational rules
  • Scarring seagrass
  • Violating regulations in a springs protected zone or anchor limitation area
  • Anchoring or mooring in a prohibited area
  • Creating a special hazard with one’s vessel

The “comprehensive approach” to improving boating safety will now move through committees before a final vote. On November 30, 2021, the bill was presented to the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, where it passed unanimously. It is now in the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government.

Hiring a Qualified Attorney

If you are injured in a boating accident, you need legal representation. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you might be entitled to compensation from a liable party. Our experienced trial lawyers will fight to get you the recovery you deserve. Contact our office at (844) 627-3529 for a free consultation today.

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