2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXIV VESSELS
Chapter 327 VESSEL SAFETY
SECTION 53Marine sanitation.
327.53 Marine sanitation.—
(1) Every vessel 26 feet or more in length which has an enclosed cabin with berthing facilities shall, while on the waters of the state, be equipped with a toilet. On a vessel other than a houseboat, the toilet may be portable or permanently installed. Every permanently installed toilet shall be properly attached to the appropriate United States Coast Guard certified or labeled marine sanitation device.
(2) Every houseboat shall be equipped with at least one permanently installed toilet which shall be properly connected to a United States Coast Guard certified or labeled Type III marine sanitation device. If the toilet is simultaneously connected to both a Type III marine sanitation device and to another approved marine sanitation device, the valve or other mechanism selecting between the two marine sanitation devices shall be set to direct all sewage to the Type III marine sanitation device and, while the vessel is on the waters of the state, shall be locked or otherwise secured by the boat operator, so as to prevent resetting.
(3) Every floating structure that has an enclosed living space with berthing facilities, or working space with public access, must be equipped with a permanently installed toilet properly connected to a Type III marine sanitation device or permanently attached via plumbing to shoreside sewage disposal. No structure shall be plumbed so as to permit the discharge of sewage into the waters of the state.
(4)(a) Raw sewage shall not be discharged from any vessel, including houseboats, or any floating structure in Florida waters. The operator of any vessel which is plumbed so that a toilet may be flushed directly into the water or so that a holding tank may be emptied into the water shall, while the vessel is on the waters of the state, set the valve or other mechanism directing the sewage so as to prevent direct discharge and lock or otherwise secure the valve so as to prevent resetting.
(b) All waste from Type III marine sanitation devices shall be disposed in an approved sewage pumpout facility.
(c) All waste from portable toilets shall be disposed in an approved waste reception facility.
(5) Every vessel owner, operator, and occupant shall comply with United States Coast Guard regulations pertaining to marine sanitation devices and with United States Environmental Protection Agency regulations pertaining to areas in which the discharge of sewage, treated or untreated, is prohibited.
(6)(a) A violation of this section is a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in s. 327.73. Each violation shall be a separate offense. The owner and operator of any vessel shall be jointly and severally liable for the civil penalty imposed pursuant to this section.
(b) All civil penalties imposed and collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund and shall be used: to implement, administer, and enforce this act; to construct, renovate, or operate pumpout stations and waste reception facilities; and to conduct a program to educate vessel operators about the problem of human body waste discharges from vessels and inform them of the location of pumpout stations and waste reception facilities.
(7) A vessel or floating structure operated or occupied on the waters of this state in violation of this section is declared a nuisance and a hazard to public safety and health. The owner or operator of a vessel or floating structure cited for violating this section shall, within 30 days following the issuance of the citation, correct the violation for which the citation was issued or remove the vessel or floating structure from the waters of this state. If the violation is not corrected within the 30 days and the vessel or floating structure remains on the waters of this state in violation of this section, law enforcement officers charged with the enforcement of this chapter under s. 327.70 shall apply to the appropriate court in the county in which the vessel or floating structure is located to order or otherwise cause the removal of such vessel or floating structure from the waters of this state at the owner’s expense. If the owner cannot be found or otherwise fails to pay the removal costs, the provisions of s. 328.17 shall apply. If the proceeds under s. 328.17 are not sufficient to pay all removal costs, funds appropriated from the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund pursuant to paragraph (6)(b) or s. 328.72(15)(c) may be used.
(8) The owner or operator of a live-aboard vessel as defined in s. 327.02(23), or a houseboat as defined in s. 327.02(17), that is equipped with a marine sanitation device must maintain a record of the date of each pumpout of the marine sanitation device and the location of the pumpout station or waste reception facility. Each record must be maintained for 1 year after the date of the pumpout. This subsection does not apply to marine compost toilets that process and manage human waste using marine compost toilet technologies that comply with United States Coast Guard requirements.
History.—s. 5, ch. 94-241; s. 19, ch. 96-321; s. 29, ch. 99-289; s. 49, ch. 2000-158; s. 18, ch. 2000-362; s. 20, ch. 2021-184.