The History of SB606: How the Boating Safety Act of 2022 Came to Be
On October 25, 2021, SB606, also known as the Boating Safety Act of 2022, was filed in the Florida Senate. The bill was referred to the Environment and Natural Resources Committee, as well as the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government and the Appropriations Committee. On November 22, 2021, the bill was placed on the agenda of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The committee voted favorably on the bill on November 30, 2021, and it was then referred to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government.
On January 11, 2022, the bill was introduced in the Florida Senate. It was heard by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government on January 21, 2022, and the subcommittee voted in favor of the bill on January 26, 2022. The bill was then referred to the Appropriations Committee. The Appropriations Committee considered the bill on February 16, 2022, and voted in favor of it on February 21, 2022. The bill was then placed on the calendar for a third reading on March 1, 2022, and was passed by the Senate on that date.
The bill was then sent to the Florida House of Representatives, where it was referred to the House Calendar and added to the Special Order Calendar for March 4, 2022. The bill was substituted for a different bill, HB493, and was read twice on March 4, 2022. An amendment was adopted and the bill was placed on the third reading calendar. On March 7, 2022, the bill was read for a third time in the House and passed with 112 votes in favor and 1 vote against. The bill was then returned to the Senate, where it was concurred in with 1 amendment on March 8, 2022. The bill was then passed as amended by the Senate with 36 votes in favor and 1 vote against.
The ultimate goal of SB606 is to improve boating safety and prevent accidents on the water as participation in recreational boating continues to grow. The bill requires all boat rental (livery) companies, both commercial and peer-to-peer operators, to obtain a no-cost permit through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In addition, boat rental operators must secure an insurance policy that meets the specifications set under SB606, deliver pre-rental safety and operational instruction to renters, report any accidents or unnecessarily overdue rentals to the FWC, and display boating safety information in a place visible to the renting public.
The bill was signed by the officers of the Senate and House of Representatives and presented to the Governor on June 9, 2022. It was approved by the Governor on June 20, 2022, and became law on June 21, 2022 as Chapter No. 2022-197.
Under SB606, all boat rental operators (liveries) in Florida, including both commercial and peer-to-peer operators, must comply with the requirements of the bill in order to avoid any potential legal consequences and to help ensure the safety of renters on the water. This includes obtaining a no-cost livery permit from the FWC, securing an insurance policy that meets the specifications set under SB606, delivering pre-rental safety and operational instructions to renters, reporting any accidents or unnecessarily overdue rentals to the FWC, and displaying boating safety information in a visible location for renters to see.
Overall, the history of SB606 is one of swift action by the Florida legislature to address the growing concern about boating safety in the state. The bill was introduced, heard by various committees, and passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives in just over five months. It is now the law of the state, and it is important for marinas and boat rental operators to understand and comply with the requirements of SB606 in order to help ensure the safety of renters on the water and protect their own businesses.