Is Your Palmetto Boat At Risk Under a New Florida Law?

Palmetto Boat

A new Florida law took effect in July in order to assist county and local officials as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission with maintaining Florida waterways. If Palmetto boat owners’ vessels meet certain unsatisfactory conditions, authorities are now able to issue non-criminal citations to those who allow their boats to become “at risk” of becoming in a state of disrepair.

Your vessel is deemed “at risk” if it’s observed in these conditions:

  • Your vessel is taking on or has taken on water without a means to drain
  • Your vessel has spaces that are designed to be enclosed, but instead they are not being sealed off and remaining exposed for an extended period of time
  • Your vessel has broken loose or appears to be on the verge of breaking loose from its anchor
  • Your vessel has been left unattended or stored aground and is being prevented from getting underway, is tilted from water intrusion or is sunk or partially sunk

Should an officer see your vessel meeting at least one of the above criteria, you’ll be issued a non-criminal citation, which states you must correct the issue within 30 days. Failure to correct the problem will result in escalated penalties. For instance, vessel owners will be issued additional fines every 30 days until the problem has been corrected.

The new Florida law also reminds vessel owners to adhere to the proper laws when selling their vessels.

Both the seller and the buyer must take certain measures during the sale of a vessel and before new ownership of the vessel is finalized. Sellers must notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles within 30 days of the transaction, and buyers must make sure the vessel is titled in their name. Both parties must carry out these procedures, or failure to do so may result in a legal issue for the former owner if the vessel becomes derelict while in possession of the new owner.

Make sure to double check and triple check your vessel before you embark on the beautiful waters of the Manatee River in your Palmetto boat!

Read our Top 5 Palmetto Boating Safety Tips.