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TITLE XXIV

VESSELS

Last update: 2013-11-01


  • Yacht And Ship Brokers
  • Vessel Safety
  • Vessels: Title Certificates; Liens; Registration
    • Vessels; Title Certificates; Liens (ss. 328.01-328.30)
    • Vessel Registration (ss. 328.40-328.80)
  • Version 2013-11-01
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  • Version 2011-11-08

Chapter 326

YACHT AND SHIP BROKERS

326.001 - Short title

Sections 326.001-326.006 may be cited as the “Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act.”


History.- ss. 1, 7, ch. 88-282; s. 4, ch. 91-429.

326.002 - Definitions

As used in ss. 326.001-326.006, the term:
  • (1) “Broker” means a person who, for or in expectation of compensation: sells, offers, or negotiates to sell; buys, offers, or negotiates to buy; solicits or obtains listings of; or negotiates the purchase, sale, or exchange of, yachts for other persons.

  • (2) “Division” means the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

  • (3) “Salesperson” means a person who, for or in expectation of compensation, is employed by a broker to perform any acts of a broker.

  • (4) “Yacht” means any vessel which is propelled by sail or machinery in the water which exceeds 32 feet in length, and which weighs less than 300 gross tons.

  • (5) “Person” means an individual, partnership, firm, corporation, association, or other entity.

History.- ss. 2, 7, ch. 88-282; s. 2, ch. 89-128; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 34, ch. 94-218; s. 950, ch. 95-148; s. 14, ch. 2008-240.

326.003 - Administration

The division shall:
  • (1) Administer ss. 326.001-326.006 and collect fees sufficient to administer ss. 326.001-326.006.

  • (2) Adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement ss. 326.001-326.006 and to classify brokers and salespersons and regulate their activities.

  • (3) Enforce the provisions of ss. 326.001-326.006 against any person who operates as a broker or salesperson without a license.

History.- ss. 3, 7, ch. 88-282; s. 3, ch. 89-128; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1, ch. 93-55; s. 446, ch. 95-148; s. 66, ch. 98-200.

326.004 - Licensing

  • (1) A person may not act as a broker or salesperson unless licensed under the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act. The division shall adopt rules establishing a procedure for the biennial renewal of licenses.

  • (2) A broker may not engage in business as a broker under a fictitious name unless his or her license is issued in such name.

  • (3) A license is not required for:

    • (a) A person who sells his or her own yacht.

    • (b) An attorney at law for services rendered in his or her professional capacity.

    • (c) A receiver, trustee, or other person acting under a court order.

    • (d) A transaction involving the sale of a new yacht.

    • (e) A transaction involving the foreclosure of a security interest in a yacht.

  • (4) Any person who purchases a used yacht for resale must transfer title to such yacht into his or her name and maintain the title or bill of sale in his or her possession to be exempt from licensure.

  • (5) The division by rule shall establish fees for application, initial licensing, biennial renewal, and reinstatement of licenses in an amount not to exceed $500. The fees must be set in an amount that is adequate to proportionately fund the expenses of the division in ss. 326.001-326.006.

  • (6) The division may deny a license to any applicant who does not:

    • (a) Furnish proof satisfactory to the division that he or she is of good moral character.

    • (b) Certify that he or she has never been convicted of a felony.

    • (c) Post the bond required by the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act.

    • (d) Demonstrate that he or she is a resident of this state or that he or she conducts business in this state.

    • (e) Furnish a full set of fingerprints taken within the 6 months immediately preceding the submission of the application.

    • (f) Have a current license and has operated as a broker or salesperson without a license.

  • (7)(a) Before any license may be issued to a yacht or ship broker, he or she must deliver to the division a good and sufficient surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit, executed by the broker as principal, in the sum of $25,000.

    • (b) Surety bonds and irrevocable letters of credit must be in a form to be approved by the division and must be conditioned upon the broker complying with the terms of any written contract made by such broker in connection with the sale or exchange of any yacht or ship and not violating any of the provisions of the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act in the conduct of the business for which he or she is licensed. The bonds and letters of credit must be delivered to the division and in favor of any person in a transaction who suffers any loss as a result of any violation of the conditions in ss. 326.001-326.006. When the division determines that a person has incurred a loss as a result of a violation of the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act, it shall notify the person in writing of the existence of the bond or letter of credit. The bonds and letters of credit must cover the license period, and a new bond or letter of credit or a proper continuation certificate must be delivered to the division at the beginning of each license period. However, the aggregate liability of the surety in any one year may not exceed the sum of the bond or, in the case of a letter of credit, the aggregate liability of the issuing bank may not exceed the sum of the credit.

    • (c) Surety bonds must be executed by a surety company authorized to do business in the state as surety, and irrevocable letters of credit must be issued by a bank authorized to do business in the state as a bank.

    • (d) Irrevocable letters of credit must be engaged by a bank as an agreement to honor demands for payment as specified in this section.

    The security for a broker must remain on deposit for a period of 1 year after he or she ceases to be a broker.

  • (8) A person may not be licensed as a broker unless he or she has been a salesperson for at least 2 consecutive years, and may not be licensed as a broker after October 1, 1990, unless he or she has been licensed as a salesperson for at least 2 consecutive years.

  • (9) An applicant for a salesperson’s license or its renewal must deposit with the division a bond or equivalent securities in the sum of $10,000 subject to the conditions in subsection (7).

  • (10) Upon a final judgment being rendered against a yacht broker or salesperson for a violation of ss. 326.001-326.006 which results in any action being commenced on the bond or letter of credit, the division may require the filing of a new bond or letter of credit and immediately on the recovery in any action on such bond or letter of credit, the broker or salesperson involved must file a new bond or letter of credit. His or her failure to do so within 10 days constitutes grounds for the suspension or revocation of his or her license.

  • (11) Any person injured by the fraud, deceit, or willful negligence of any broker or salesperson or by the failure of any broker or salesperson to comply with the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act or other law may file an action for damages upon the respective bonds against the principals and the surety.

  • (12) If a surety notifies the division that it is no longer the surety for a licensee, the division shall notify the licensee of such withdrawal by certified mail, return receipt requested, addressed to the licensee’s principal office. Upon the termination of such surety the licensee’s license is automatically suspended until he or she files a new bond with the division.

  • (13) Each broker must maintain a principal place of business in this state and may establish branch offices in the state. A separate license must be maintained for each branch office. The division shall establish by rule a fee not to exceed $100 for each branch office license.

  • (14)(a) Each license must be prominently displayed in the office of the broker.

    • (b) Each salesperson’s license must remain in the possession of the employing broker until canceled or until the salesperson leaves such employment. Immediately upon a salesperson’s withdrawal from the employment of a broker, the broker must return the salesperson’s license to the division for cancellation.

  • (15) The division shall provide by rule for the issuance of a temporary 90-day license to an applicant while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducts a national criminal history analysis of the applicant by means of fingerprint identification.

History.- ss. 4, 7, ch. 88-282; s. 4, ch. 89-128; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1, ch. 92-13; s. 2, ch. 93-55; s. 447, ch. 95-148.

326.005 - Escrow depository, closing transactions

  • (1) A broker shall place any funds received pursuant to a transaction into a trust account in a savings and loan association, bank, trust company, or other financial institution located in this state having a net worth in excess of $5 million until he or she disburses such funds. A separate record shall be maintained of all such moneys received and the disposition thereof.

  • (2) At the closing of a transaction in which title to a yacht is transferred, a broker shall provide the seller and purchaser with an itemized closing statement, including the selling price and all charges and credits, a description of any yachts exchanged, and the amount of any consideration. If the transaction is closed through escrow and the escrow holder renders a closing statement which reveals such information, that shall be deemed compliance with this subsection on the part of the licensed broker.

  • (3) A broker who intentionally fails to comply with the provisions of this section concerning the establishment of a trust account, deposits of funds into a trust account, and withdrawal therefrom, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. The failure to establish a trust account or to place funds therein as required in this section is prima facie evidence of an intentional and purposeful violation of this section.

History.- ss. 5, 7, ch. 88-282; s. 5, ch. 89-128; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 448, ch. 95-148.

326.006 - Powers and duties of division

  • (1) Proceedings under the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act shall be conducted pursuant to chapter 120.

  • (2) The division has the power to enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter and rules adopted under this chapter relating to the sale and ownership of yachts and ships. In performing its duties, the division has the following powers and duties:

    • (a) The division may make necessary public or private investigations within or outside this state to determine whether any person has violated this chapter or any rule or order issued under this chapter, to aid in the enforcement of this chapter, or to aid in the adoption of rules or forms under this chapter.

    • (b) The division may require or permit any person to file a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the division determines, as to the facts and circumstances concerning a matter to be investigated.

    • (c) For the purpose of any investigation under this chapter, the division director or any officer or employee designated by the division director may administer oaths or affirmations, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any matter that is relevant to the investigation, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts or any other matter reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of material evidence. Upon the failure by a person to obey a subpoena or to answer questions propounded by the investigating officer and upon reasonable notice to all persons affected thereby, the division may apply to the circuit court for an order compelling compliance.

    • (d) Notwithstanding any remedies available to a yacht or ship purchaser, if the division has reasonable cause to believe that a violation of any provision of this chapter or rule adopted under this chapter has occurred, the division may institute enforcement proceedings in its own name against any broker or salesperson or any of his or her assignees or agents, or against any unlicensed person or any of his or her assignees or agents, as follows:

      • 1. The division may permit a person whose conduct or actions are under investigation to waive formal proceedings and enter into a consent proceeding whereby orders, rules, or letters of censure or warning, whether formal or informal, may be entered against the person.

      • 2. The division may issue an order requiring the broker or salesperson or any of his or her assignees or agents, or requiring any unlicensed person or any of his or her assignees or agents, to cease and desist from the unlawful practice and take such affirmative action as in the judgment of the division will carry out the purposes of this chapter.

      • 3. The division may bring an action in circuit court on behalf of a class of yacht or ship purchasers for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or restitution.

      • 4. The division may impose a civil penalty against a broker or salesperson or any of his or her assignees or agents, or against an unlicensed person or any of his or her assignees or agents, for any violation of this chapter or a rule adopted under this chapter. A penalty may be imposed for each day of continuing violation, but in no event may the penalty for any offense exceed $10,000. All amounts collected must be deposited with the Chief Financial Officer to the credit of the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund. If a broker, salesperson, or unlicensed person working for a broker, fails to pay the civil penalty, the division shall issue an order suspending the broker’s license until such time as the civil penalty is paid or may pursue enforcement of the penalty in a court of competent jurisdiction. The order imposing the civil penalty or the order of suspension may not become effective until 20 days after the date of such order. Any action commenced by the division must be brought in the county in which the division has its executive offices or in the county where the violation occurred.

    • (e) The division may suspend or revoke the license of a broker or salesperson who:

      • 1. Makes a substantial and intentional misrepresentation, with respect to a transaction involving a yacht, upon which any person has relied.

      • 2. Makes a false warranty, with respect to a transaction involving a yacht, of a character likely to influence, persuade, or induce any person with whom business is transacted.

      • 3. Engages in continued misrepresentation or makes false warranties with respect to transactions involving a yacht, whether or not relied upon by another person.

      • 4. Acts for both the buyer and seller in a transaction involving a yacht without the knowledge and written consent of both parties.

      • 5. Commingles the money or other property of his or her principal with his or her own.

      • 6. Commits fraud or dishonest acts in the conduct of any transaction involving a yacht.

      • 7. Allows an unlicensed person to use his or her name to evade the provisions of the Yacht and Ship Brokers’ Act.

      • 8. Violates any law governing the transactions involving a yacht, including any provision relating to the collection or payment of sales or use taxes.

    • (f) The division may suspend or revoke the license of a broker or salesperson who has:

      • 1. Procured a license for himself or herself or another by fraud, misrepresentation, falsification, or deceit.

      • 2. Been found guilty of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude.

  • (3) All fees must be deposited in the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund as provided by law.

History.- ss. 6, 7, ch. 88-282; s. 6, ch. 89-128; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 3, ch. 93-55; s. 449, ch. 95-148; s. 366, ch. 2003-261; s. 15, ch. 2008-240.

Chapter 327

VESSEL SAFETY

327.01 - Short title

This chapter shall be known as the “Florida Vessel Safety Law.”


History.- s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 1, ch. 84-184; s. 5, ch. 99-289.

Note.- Former s. 371.011.


327.02 - Definitions

As used in this chapter and in chapter 328, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning, the term:
  • (1) “Airboat” means a vessel that is primarily designed for use in shallow waters and powered by an internal combustion engine with an airplane-type propeller mounted above the stern and used to push air across a set of rudders.

  • (2) “Alien” means a person who is not a citizen of the United States.

  • (3) “Boating accident” means a collision, accident, or casualty involving a vessel in or upon, or entering into or exiting from, the water, including capsizing, collision with another vessel or object, sinking, personal injury, death, disappearance of any person from on board under circumstances which indicate the possibility of death or injury, or property damage to any vessel or dock.

  • (4) “Canoe” means a light, narrow vessel with curved sides and with both ends pointed. A canoe-like vessel with a transom may not be excluded from the definition of a canoe if the width of its transom is less than 45 percent of the width of its beam or it has been designated as a canoe by the United States Coast Guard.

  • (5) “Commercial vessel” means:

    • (a) Any vessel primarily engaged in the taking or landing of saltwater fish or saltwater products or freshwater fish or freshwater products, or any vessel licensed pursuant to s. 379.361 from which commercial quantities of saltwater products are harvested, from within and without the waters of this state for sale either to the consumer, retail dealer, or wholesale dealer.

    • (b) Any other vessel, except a recreational vessel as defined in this section.

  • (6) “Commission” means the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

  • (7) “Dealer” means any person authorized by the Department of Revenue to buy, sell, resell, or otherwise distribute vessels. Such person shall have a valid sales tax certificate of registration issued by the Department of Revenue and a valid commercial or occupational license required by any county, municipality, or political subdivision of the state in which the person operates.

  • (8) “Division” means the Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

  • (9) “Documented vessel” means a vessel for which a valid certificate of documentation is outstanding pursuant to 46 C.F.R. part 67.

  • (10) “Floating structure” means a floating entity, with or without accommodations built thereon, which is not primarily used as a means of transportation on water but which serves purposes or provides services typically associated with a structure or other improvement to real property. The term “floating structure” includes, but is not limited to, each entity used as a residence, place of business or office with public access, hotel or motel, restaurant or lounge, clubhouse, meeting facility, storage or parking facility, mining platform, dredge, dragline, or similar facility or entity represented as such. Floating structures are expressly excluded from the definition of the term “vessel” provided in this section. Incidental movement upon water or resting partially or entirely on the bottom shall not, in and of itself, preclude an entity from classification as a floating structure.

  • (11) “Florida Intracoastal Waterway” means the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, the Georgia state line north of Fernandina to Miami; the Port Canaveral lock and canal to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Miami to Key West; the Okeechobee Waterway, Stuart to Fort Myers; the St. Johns River, Jacksonville to Sanford; the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Anclote to Fort Myers; the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Carrabelle to Tampa Bay; Carrabelle to Anclote open bay section (using Gulf of Mexico); the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, Carrabelle to the Alabama state line west of Pensacola; and the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee, and Flint Rivers in Florida.

  • (12) “Homemade vessel” means any vessel built after October 31, 1972, for which a federal hull identification number is not required to be assigned by the manufacturer pursuant to federal law, or any vessel constructed or assembled prior to November 1, 1972, by other than a licensed manufacturer for his or her own use or the use of a specific person. A vessel assembled from a manufacturer’s kit or constructed from an unfinished manufactured hull shall be considered to be a homemade vessel if such a vessel is not required to have a hull identification number assigned by the United States Coast Guard. A rebuilt or reconstructed vessel shall in no event be construed to be a homemade vessel.

  • (13) “Houseboat” means any vessel which is used primarily as a residence for a minimum of 21 days during any 30-day period, in a county of this state, and this residential use of the vessel is to the preclusion of the use of the vessel as a means of transportation.

  • (14) “Length” means the measurement from end to end over the deck parallel to the centerline excluding sheer.

  • (15) “Lien” means a security interest which is reserved or created by a written agreement recorded with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles pursuant to s. 328.15 which secures payment or performance of an obligation and is generally valid against third parties.

  • (16) “Lienholder” means a person holding a security interest in a vessel, which interest is recorded with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles pursuant to s. 328.15.

  • (17) “Live-aboard vessel” means:

    • (a) Any vessel used solely as a residence and not for navigation;

    • (b) Any vessel represented as a place of business or a professional or other commercial enterprise; or

    • (c) Any vessel for which a declaration of domicile has been filed pursuant to s. 222.17.

    A commercial fishing boat is expressly excluded from the term “live-aboard vessel.”

  • (18) “Livery vessel” means any vessel leased, rented, or chartered to another for consideration.

  • (19) “Manufactured vessel” means any vessel built after October 31, 1972, for which a federal hull identification number is required pursuant to federal law, or any vessel constructed or assembled prior to November 1, 1972, by a duly licensed manufacturer.

  • (20) “Marina” means a licensed commercial facility which provides secured public moorings or dry storage for vessels on a leased basis. A commercial establishment authorized by a licensed vessel manufacturer as a dealership shall be considered a marina for nonjudicial sale purposes.

  • (21) “Marine sanitation device” means any equipment other than a toilet, for installation on board a vessel, which is designed to receive, retain, treat, or discharge sewage, and any process to treat such sewage. Marine sanitation device Types I, II, and III shall be defined as provided in 33 C.F.R. part 159.

  • (22) “Marker” means any channel mark or other aid to navigation, information or regulatory mark, isolated danger mark, safe water mark, special mark, inland waters obstruction mark, or mooring buoy in, on, or over the waters of the state or the shores thereof, and includes, but is not limited to, a sign, beacon, buoy, or light.

  • (23) “Motorboat” means any vessel equipped with machinery for propulsion, irrespective of whether the propulsion machinery is in actual operation.

  • (24) “Muffler” means an automotive-style sound-suppression device or system designed to effectively abate the sound of exhaust gases emitted from an internal combustion engine and prevent excessive sound when installed on such an engine.

  • (25) “Navigation rules” means:

    • (a) For vessels on waters outside of established navigational lines of demarcation as specified in 33 C.F.R. part 80, the International Navigational Rules Act of 1977, 33 U.S.C. s. 1602, as amended, including the appendix and annexes thereto, through October 1, 2012.

    • (b) For vessels on all waters not outside of such established lines of demarcation, the Inland Navigational Rules Act of 1980, 33 C.F.R. parts 83-90, as amended, through October 1, 2012.

  • (26) “Nonresident” means a citizen of the United States who has not established residence in this state and has not continuously resided in this state for 1 year and in one county for the 6 months immediately preceding the initiation of a vessel titling or registration action.

  • (27) “Operate” means to be in charge of or in command of or in actual physical control of a vessel upon the waters of this state, or to exercise control over or to have responsibility for a vessel’s navigation or safety while the vessel is underway upon the waters of this state, or to control or steer a vessel being towed by another vessel upon the waters of the state.

  • (28) “Owner” means a person, other than a lienholder, having the property in or title to a vessel. The term includes a person entitled to the use or possession of a vessel subject to an interest in another person, reserved or created by agreement and securing payment of performance of an obligation, but the term excludes a lessee under a lease not intended as security.

  • (29) “Person” means an individual, partnership, firm, corporation, association, or other entity.

  • (30) “Personal watercraft” means a vessel less than 16 feet in length which uses an inboard motor powering a water jet pump, as its primary source of motive power and which is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel.

  • (31) “Portable toilet” means a device consisting of a lid, seat, containment vessel, and support structure that is specifically designed to receive, retain, and discharge human waste and that is capable of being removed from a vessel by hand.

  • (32) “Prohibited activity” means such activity as will impede or disturb navigation or creates a safety hazard on waterways of this state.

  • (33) “Racing shell,” “rowing scull,” or “racing kayak” means a manually propelled vessel which is recognized by national or international racing associations for use in competitive racing and in which all occupants, with the exception of a coxswain, if one is provided, row, scull, or paddle and which is not designed to carry and does not carry any equipment not solely for competitive racing.

  • (34) “Recreational vessel” means any vessel:

    • (a) Manufactured and used primarily for noncommercial purposes; or

    • (b) Leased, rented, or chartered to a person for the person’s noncommercial use.

  • (35) “Registration” means a state operating license on a vessel which is issued with an identifying number, an annual certificate of registration, and a decal designating the year for which a registration fee is paid.

  • (36) “Resident” means a citizen of the United States who has established residence in this state and has continuously resided in this state for 1 year and in one county for the 6 months immediately preceding the initiation of a vessel titling or registration action.

  • (37) “Sailboat” means any vessel whose sole source of propulsion is the wind.

  • (38) “Unclaimed vessel” means any undocumented vessel, including its machinery, rigging, and accessories, which is in the physical possession of any marina, garage, or repair shop for repairs, improvements, or other work with the knowledge of the vessel owner and for which the costs of such services have been unpaid for a period in excess of 90 days from the date written notice of the completed work is given by the marina, garage, or repair shop to the vessel owner.

  • (39) “Vessel” is synonymous with boat as referenced in s. 1(b), Art. VII of the State Constitution and includes every description of watercraft, barge, and airboat, other than a seaplane on the water, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water.

  • (40) “Waters of this state” means any navigable waters of the United States within the territorial limits of this state, and the marginal sea adjacent to this state and the high seas when navigated as a part of a journey or ride to or from the shore of this state, and all the inland lakes, rivers, and canals under the jurisdiction of this state.

History.- s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 63-103; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 17, ch. 69-216; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 70-336; s. 132, ch. 71-377; s. 1, ch. 72-16; s. 1, ch. 72-55; ss. 1, 15, ch. 74-327; s. 23, ch. 79-334; s. 1, ch. 81-100; s. 1, ch. 81-114; s. 76, ch. 82-226; s. 1, ch. 83-20; s. 2, ch. 84-184; s. 1, ch. 85-252; s. 1, ch. 88-133; s. 1, ch. 89-136; s. 2, ch. 89-250; s. 2, ch. 94-241; s. 152, ch. 94-356; s. 951, ch. 95-148; s. 1, ch. 95-333; s. 3, ch. 98-308; ss. 18, 89, ch. 99-245; s. 2, ch. 2000-362; s. 1, ch. 2006-172; s. 194, ch. 2008-247; s. 6, ch. 2009-86; s. 1, ch. 2013-194.

Note.- Former s. 371.021.


327.04 - Rules

The commission has authority to adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement the provisions of this chapter conferring powers or duties upon it.


History.- s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 4, ch. 63-103; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 154, ch. 94-356; s. 48, ch. 95-333; s. 53, ch. 96-413; s. 67, ch. 98-200; s. 8, ch. 99-289; s. 3, ch. 2000-362.

Note.- Former s. 371.161.


327.30 - Collisions, accidents, and casualties

  • (1) It is the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty, so far as he or she can do so without serious danger to the operator’s own vessel, crew, and passengers, if any, to render to other persons affected by the collision, accident, or other casualty such assistance as is practicable and necessary in order to save them from or minimize any danger caused by the collision, accident, or other casualty, and also to give his or her name, address, and identification of his or her vessel in writing to any person injured and to the owner of any property damaged in the collision, accident, or other casualty. The operator of a vessel involved in an accident with an unattended vessel shall take all reasonable steps to locate and notify the owner or person in charge of such vessel of the accident, furnishing to such owner his or her name, address, and registration number and reporting as required under this section.

  • (2) In the case of collision, accident, or other casualty involving a vessel in or upon or entering into or exiting from the water, including capsizing, collision with another vessel or object, sinking, personal injury requiring medical treatment beyond immediate first aid, death, disappearance of any person from on board under circumstances which indicate the possibility of death or injury, or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000, the operator shall without delay, by the quickest means available give notice of the accident to one of the following agencies: the Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; the sheriff of the county within which the accident occurred; or the police chief of the municipality within which the accident occurred, if applicable.

  • (3) The statutory duty of a person to make a report or give information to a law enforcement officer making a written report relating to an accident does not extend to information that would violate the privilege of such person against self-incrimination.

  • (4) Each coroner or other official performing like functions, upon learning of the death of a person in his or her jurisdiction as a result of a boating accident, shall immediately notify the nearest office of the Department of Law Enforcement.

  • (5) It is unlawful for a person operating a vessel involved in an accident or injury to leave the scene of the accident or injury without giving all possible aid to all persons involved and making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or persons affected and subsequently complying with and notifying the appropriate law enforcement official as required under this section. Any person who violates this subsection with respect to an accident resulting in personal injury commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. Any person who violates this subsection with respect to an accident resulting in property damage only commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

  • (6) Any law enforcement officer who investigates a boating collision or accident may arrest or cite the operator of any vessel involved in the accident or collision when, based upon personal investigation, the officer has probable cause to believe that the operator has committed any offense in connection with the accident or collision.

History.- s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 4, ch. 61-511; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 34, ch. 79-65; s. 5, ch. 81-100; s. 24, ch. 87-243; s. 1, ch. 87-392; s. 3, ch. 89-117; s. 44, ch. 91-224; s. 455, ch. 95-148; s. 16, ch. 96-330; s. 41, ch. 97-96; s. 22, ch. 99-245; s. 2, ch. 2003-143.

Note.- Former s. 371.141.


327.301 - Written reports of accidents

  • (1) The operator of a vessel that is in any manner involved in an accident resulting in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of any person or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000 shall, within the time limits specified in 33 C.F.R. s. 173.55, forward a written report of the accident to the division. Whenever the operator of the vessel is incapable of making a written report, the owner of the vessel shall, within the time limits specified in 33 C.F.R. s. 173.55, make the report not made by the operator. However, when the investigating officer has made a written report of the accident pursuant to subsection (3), a written report need not be forwarded to the division by the operator.

  • (2) The division may require any operator of a vessel involved in an accident of which written report must be made as provided in this section to file supplemental written reports whenever the original report is insufficient in the opinion of the division, and may require any witness to the accident to render a report to the division.

  • (3) Every law enforcement officer who in the regular course of duty investigates a boating accident that resulted in bodily injury, death, or disappearance of any person or damage to any vessel or other property in an apparent aggregate amount of at least $2,000 shall, within 24 hours after completing the investigation, forward a written report of the accident to the division. However, in every case in which an accident report is required by this section and a written report by a law enforcement officer is not prepared, the law enforcement officer shall provide each party involved in the accident a short-form report, prescribed by the division, to be completed by the party. The short-form report must include, but is not limited to: the date, time, and location of the accident; a description of the vessels involved; the names and addresses of the parties involved; the names and addresses of witnesses; and the name, badge number, and law enforcement agency of the officer investigating the accident. Accident reports made by law enforcement officers may not be used for commercial solicitation purposes; however, use of an accident report for purposes of publication in a newspaper or other news periodical or a radio or television broadcast shall not be construed as a “commercial purpose.”

  • (4) Except as specified in this subsection, each accident report made by a person involved in an accident and any statement made by such person to a law enforcement officer for the purpose of completing an accident report required by this section is without prejudice to the individual reporting. Such report or statement may not be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal. However, subject to the applicable rules of evidence, a law enforcement officer who is a witness in a criminal trial may testify as to any statement made to the officer by the person involved in the accident if that person’s privilege against self-incrimination is not violated. The results of breath, urine, and blood tests administered as provided in s. 327.352 or s. 327.353 are not confidential and shall be admissible into evidence in accordance with the provisions of s. 327.354. Accident reports made by persons involved in accidents may not be used for commercial solicitation purposes; however, use of an accident report for purposes of publication in a newspaper or other news periodical or a radio or television broadcast shall not be construed as a “commercial purpose.”

  • (5) For the purposes of this section, a written report includes a report generated through the use of information technology resources as defined in s. 282.0041.

  • (6) If the vessel is leased, rented, or chartered at the time of the accident, the person who offered the vessel for lease, rental, or charter shall be responsible for complying with this section and s. 327.30.

  • (7) Any person failing to file the written report required under subsection (1) or a supplemental written report when required by the division under subsection (2) is guilty of a noncriminal infraction.

History.- s. 17, ch. 96-330; s. 48, ch. 2002-1; s. 2, ch. 2004-74.

327.302 - Accident report forms

  • (1) The commission shall prepare and, upon request, supply to police departments, sheriffs, and other appropriate agencies or individuals forms for accident reports as required in this chapter, suitable with respect to the persons required to make such reports and the purposes to be served. The forms must call for sufficiently detailed information to disclose, with reference to a boating accident, the cause and conditions existing at the time of the accident and the persons and vessels involved. Accident report forms may call for the policy numbers of liability insurance and the names of carriers covering any vessel involved in an accident required to be reported under this chapter.

  • (2) Every accident report required to be made in writing must be made on the appropriate form approved by the commission and must contain all the information required therein unless not available. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, an accident report produced electronically by a law enforcement officer must, at a minimum, contain the same information as is required on those forms approved by the commission.

History.- s. 5, ch. 2000-362.

327.31 - Transmittal of information

In accordance with any request made by an authorized official or agency of the United States, any information compiled or otherwise available to the Division of Law Enforcement concerning boating accidents or other data shall be transmitted to that official or agency of the United States and annual statistics shall be assembled as required by federal law.


History.- s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 18, ch. 96-330.

Note.- Former s. 371.151.