Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606) Goes into Effect Jan. 1, 2023
Editor’s Note: The Boatsetter team is actively monitoring news and updates regarding SB 606. As we learn more information from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), we’ll share all helpful information with you. This article was originally published on Oct. 19, 2022 and last updated on Monday, Dec. 19, 2023.
As participation in recreational boating continues to grow and more first-time boaters get out on the water, Florida boating laws are constantly evolving to promote safe boating practices.
Here at Boatsetter, we are proud to be the world’s only legally compliant and insured peer-to-peer boat rental marketplace, committed to ensuring safety and protection for both our owners and renters. In doing so, our team actively monitors and engages with federal and state officials to understand changes to boating regulations and take appropriate action within our boat rental community.
- Florida Senate Bill 606 (SB 606) goes into effect on January 1, 2023.
- SB 606 requires boat rental operators (commercial and peer-to-peer) to obtain a no-cost permit through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, secure insurance, provide pre-rental instructions, and report accidents or overdue rentals to the FWC.
- Boatsetter is taking multiple steps to provide new tools, support, and resources for current and new members of the Boatsetter owner community.
What is SB 606?
As of January 1, 2023, a new Florida boating law titled SB 606 impacting boat rental companies (or a ‘livery,’ meaning a person and/or company who offers a vessel(s) for rent) will go into effect requiring rental operators to obtain a no-cost permit through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The law, also known as the Boating Safety Act of 2022, was first introduced in November 2021 and signed into law in June 2022, with the hope of improving safety on Florida’s waterways through increased penalties for violations, a permitting program, and new requirements for boat rental operations.
“The Boating Safety Act of 2022 protects Floridians and visitors, our marine life and natural resources by addressing the harmful actions of bad actors while ensuring an uninterrupted use of our waterways by responsible enthusiasts and supporting boater education,” said Senator Ileana Garcia. “Equipping the public with the knowledge they need to change their boating habits will have lasting impacts and benefit our waterways for generations to come.”
How do boat rental operators become compliant under SB-606?
Under SB 606, boat rental companies will be required to:
- Secure a no-cost livery permit from the FWC prior to offering a vessel for lease or rent
- Secure an insurance policy which meets the specifications set under SB 606
- Deliver pre-rental safety and operational instruction to Renters
- Report any accidents or unnecessarily overdue rentals to the FWC
Of course, this law also requires that both boat rental operators and renters must comply with Florida’s boating safety education requirements (in accordance with Fla. Stat. § 327.395)—meaning both the person renting out the vessel as well as the person renting the vessel should both have a boating safety identification card unless they meet the statutory exemptions.
SB 606 will require the FWC to take an active role in implementation and enforcement of boat rental regulation, including the management of permit applications, issuances, and renewals. The FWC must verify that boat rental operators operating under a permit are in compliance with insurance and safety requirements set by the law.
At the heart of this new regulation is a goal to eliminate the operation of illegal boat rental and charter operators. The United States Coast Guard (USCG) believes that many unlicensed operators are at the root of the problem leading to a number of boating accidents on Florida waterways.
Illegal boat rental companies and charters have found a way to avoid inspection, and therefore lack proper emergency safety gear onboard, including navigation and communication equipment. Likewise, these operators often do not have proper licensing or adequate insurance that is necessary to cover potential damages if one of their vessels is involved in a boating accident.
How is Boatsetter supporting our boat owners and commercial rental operators in preparation for SB 606?
The Boatsetter team is already hard at work compiling support guidelines for boat rental operators that will detail the specific requirements and a list of action items necessary to comply with SB 606. Our goal is to proactively support our peer-to-peer owners and commercial operators by making this process as easy as possible to prepare for a great year of boating in 2023.
Coming soon: Enhanced check-in/check-out
Boatsetter is building a dynamic check-in and check-out that will be applicable to all FL bookings. We’re doing the heavy lifting so you can easily meet all safety requirements needed for your bookings to stay compliant with SB 606. We’ll route you automatically through to the correct check-in and check-out process each time. We’ll let you know once this update is live!
Note: Completing check-in and check-out will be legally required by FL law.
SB 606 Webinar Schedule
- Mark your calendar for Boatsetter’s free SB 606 Webinar info session scheduled for 2pm EST on Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2022, covering a brief overview of the law, important FAQs, recent MEA (Marina Enforcement Alert), insurance updates, and general updates related to Boatsetter platform and feature enhancements.
- Boat owners and commercial operators are encouraged to join the the US Coast Guard SB 606 webinar (in English) scheduled for January 17, 2023 at 6PM – 9PM EST.
- Español: Se les recomienda a propietarios de embarcaciones y operadores comerciales que se unan al webinario en español de la Guardia Costera Americana (USCG) sobre la nueva ley SB606, agendado para el 24 de Enero del 2023 de 6 – 9pm EST).
Likewise, in case you missed Boatsetter’s SB 606 Educational Webinar that was hosted on Dec. 6, 2022, be sure to view the full presentation here.
Additionally, Boatsetter plans to:
- Release a new compliance tool that will streamline implementation and permit issuance
- Provide continued communication and support for operators ahead of Jan. 1, 2023