Florida Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606), Effective as of 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. Please keep in mind, this is not legal advice. This article was originally published on Oct. 19, 2022, and last updated on Wednesday, May 24, 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.
- The original implementation of the law was January 1, 2023, with a 6-month moratorium. Florida Senate Bill 606 (SB 606) goes into effect on June 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, carry livery 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 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.”
Learn more about Boatsetter’s commitment to safety, including our exclusive peer-to-peer insurance policy powered by GEICO/BoatUS.
How do boat rental operators become compliant under SB-606?
Under SB 606, boat rental operators will be required to:
- Secure a no-cost livery permit from the FWC prior to offering a vessel for lease or rent
- Carry a livery insurance policy that meets the specifications set under SB 606
- Offer supplemental insurance to renters as optional
- 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 the 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.
Enhanced check-in/check-out is HERE
Boatsetter has built a dynamic check-in and check-out that will be applicable to all FL bookings. Our enhanced check-in/check-out system will help you to meet all safety requirements needed for your bookings to follow SB 606 specificities.
Note: Completing check-in and check-out is legally required by FL law.
Boatsetter and Buoy partnership
As specified by the Boating Safety Act of 2022 (SB 606), Florida boat rental operators must carry supplemental insurance to provide as optional to renters. We’ve partnered with Buoy, a trip-based boat insurance provider, to facilitate securing coverage. The best part of all, Buoy will provide coverage for your renters at no additional cost to Boatsetter Owners!
Learn more about the Boatsetter and Buoy partnership.
Additionally, Boatsetter plans to:
- Release a new compliance tool that will streamline implementation and permit issuance
- Provide continued communication and support for operators throughout 2023