If you’re planning on renting a boat in Florida, it’s important to be aware of the state’s boating laws and regulations.
In order to offer a vessel for lease or rent in Florida, boat rental operators (liveries), whether they are commercial or peer-to-peer, must meet certain requirements. These include obtaining a no-cost livery permit from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and securing an insurance policy that meets the specifications outlined in the 2022 Florida Senate Bill 606 (SB606), aka The Boating Safety Act 2022. Additionally, operators must provide renters with pre-rental safety and operational instructions, report any accidents or overdue rentals to the FWC, and display boating safety information in a visible location for the public to see. These requirements are not exhaustive, and other obligations may also apply. One key aspect of these laws is the requirement for boat rental insurance.
Under SB 606, all boat rental companies are required to carry insurance that covers both their boats and their customers. This insurance is intended to protect both the rental company and renters in the event of an accident or other incident while on the water.
There are several types of coverage that may be included in a boat rental insurance policy. These can include:
- Property damage: This covers damage to the boat itself, as well as any damage to other boats or property caused by the rented boat.
- Liability: This covers any injuries or damages suffered by other people as a result of an accident involving the rented boat.
- Medical payments: This covers medical expenses for injuries sustained by the renters or passengers on the rented boat.
- Uninsured boater: This covers damages or injuries caused by an uninsured boater in an accident involving the rented boat.
In addition to the insurance requirement, the Florida Boating Safety Act also sets out a number of rules and regulations designed to promote safe boating practices. These include:
- Requiring all boats to carry certain safety equipment, such as life jackets and a fire extinguisher.
- Prohibiting the operation of a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Requiring boat operators to have a valid boater education card if they were born on or after January 1, 1988.
- Setting speed limits and other rules for boat operation in different areas of the state.
By following these laws and regulations, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable boating experience in Florida.