he Florida Boating Safety Act (SB 606) that went into effect on January 1, 2023 has required boat rental operators (liveries) to be compliant with rules that were made to improve boating safety in Florida. Among other things, the law requires the following rules for a boat rental business to be compliant:

  • Obtain a no-cost permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) to operate a livery in the state of FL.
  • Provide renters with pre-rental safety and operational instructions.
  • Purchase an insurance policy which insures the livery and the renter against any accident, loss, injury, or damage resulting from the operation of the vessel.
  • Obtain the important information from the renter including: Full name, DOB and address of the renter, emergency contact, and number of passengers

At BookingCentral, we hosted a webinar that addressed the Florida Boating Safety Act (SB 606) and answered the key questions about the law. You can view the full webinar and key takeaways here.

SB 418 Addresses insurance requirements

When the law passed in January of 2023, there was a question about the insurance requirements, specifically the part that required the livery to insure the renter. Boat rental operators were having difficulty obtaining the insurance. There were limited insurance carriers that would allow for it, and the cost to get this type of policy was expensive.

The FWC recognized the issue and were not going to penalize liveries during the ‚Äúeducation period‚ÄĚ. During this time the state legislature was reviewing the issues with the insurance requirements from the law.

SB 418, is the new law that takes effect on July 1, 2023, and amends the part of SB 606 in regards to insurance. The new law now does not require the boat rental operator to carry an insurance policy that covers the renter, but instead requires them to offer the renter insurance for purchase at the time of check in. In summary, the new law states:

  • The livery must have insurance that has coverage of at least 500,000 per person or 1 million per event.
  • The livery must have proof of the insurance at the location where the vessels are being rented.
  • The livery must offer the renter the option to purchase insurance.
  • If the renter declines the insurance, the livery must get signed acknowledgement of the refusal from the renter on file using the text indicated from the law.

SB 418 is good news for boat rental operators who want to stay compliant with the law. The new law will make it easier for the livery to obtain insurance coverage for their business, and removes any confusion from the original law. Because of this, after the law takes effect on July 1, 2023, FWC will be more vigilant in enforcing the law, so it will be more important than ever for liveries to be in compliance.

At BookingCentral we support boat rental businesses to stay compliant with law by offering a Pre-Check In and Check in/Check out feature as well as insurance partners. If you are a boat rental operator, and have questions about the law, please reach out to our team. Let's talk!

Jun 27, 2023
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