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Bill Summary Details

Operation and Safety of Motor Vehicles and Vessels (Support)

CS/CS/CS/HB 639 (Sirois) and CS/CS/SB 1086 (Hutson) amend various laws relating to vessels and anchoring and mooring restrictions. The bills define “human-powered vessel” and impose requirements for the operation of human-powered vessels within the boundaries of a marked channel of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway. The bills make multiple revisions to laws governing derelict vessel identification and removal. They provide that a vessel owner may receive notice that a vessel is at risk of becoming derelict where in-person notice is recorded on an agency-approved body camera. The bills also authorize specified officers and agencies to relocate an at-risk vessel to a location further from a mangrove or upland vegetation. The bills authorize the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to establish a derelict vessel prevention program, which may include provisions for removal of nuisance, derelict or at-risk vessels; a vessel “turn-in” program for owners; and removal of abandoned vessels. The bills specify conditions under which vessels with repeated violations may be declared a public nuisance and provide requirements for notice to vessel owners and remedies. They amend the definition of “derelict vessel” to include criteria for determining whether a vessel is considered wrecked, junked or substantially dismantled. The bills amend provisions relating to anchoring or mooring limitations to clarify that distance restrictions apply to both public and private marinas and apply only to public vessel launching or loading facilities. They authorize municipalities to establish boating-restricted areas within the boundaries of a permitted public mooring field and a buffer around the mooring field of up to 100 feet. They also authorize local governments to establish vessel-exclusion zones within the portion of the Intracoastal Waterway within their jurisdictions, except local governments may not establish such a zone for public bathing beaches or swim areas within the waterway. The bills create provisions addressing vessel speeds within specified distances of activated emergency vessels and construction barges. They require owners or operators of live-aboard vessels to maintain documentation relating to marine sanitation devices. (O’Hara)