2023 Florida Statutes< Back to Statute Search
Title XXIV VESSELS
Chapter 327 VESSEL SAFETY
SECTION 70Enforcement of this chapter and chapter 328.
327.70 Enforcement of this chapter and chapter 328.—
(1) This chapter and chapter 328 shall be enforced by the Division of Law Enforcement of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and its officers, the sheriffs of the various counties and their deputies, municipal police officers, and any other law enforcement officer as defined in s. 943.10, all of whom may order the removal of vessels deemed to be an interference or a hazard to public safety, enforce the provisions of this chapter and chapter 328, or cause any inspections to be made of all vessels in accordance with this chapter and chapter 328.
(2)(a)1. Upon demonstrated compliance with the safety equipment carriage and use requirements of this chapter during a safety inspection initiated by a law enforcement officer, the operator of a vessel shall be issued a safety inspection decal signifying that the vessel is deemed to have met the safety equipment carriage and use requirements of this chapter at the time and location of such inspection. The commission may designate by rule the timeframe for expiration of, and the specific design for, the safety inspection decal. However, a decal may not be valid for less than 1 calendar year or more than 5 years and, at a minimum, must meet the standards specified in this paragraph. All decals issued by the commission on or before December 31, 2018, are no longer valid after that date.
2. The safety inspection decal, if displayed, must be located within 6 inches of the inspected vessel’s properly displayed vessel registration decal. For nonmotorized vessels that are not required to be registered, the safety inspection decal, if displayed, must be located above the waterline on the forward half of the port side of the vessel.
(b) If a vessel properly displays a valid safety inspection decal created or approved by the division, a law enforcement officer may not stop the vessel for the sole purpose of inspecting the vessel for compliance with the safety equipment carriage and use requirements of this chapter unless there is reasonable suspicion that a violation of a safety equipment carriage or use requirement has occurred or is occurring. This subsection does not restrict a law enforcement officer from stopping a vessel for any other lawful purpose.
(3)(a) Noncriminal violations of the following statutes may be enforced by a uniform boating citation mailed to the registered owner of an unattended vessel anchored, aground, or moored on the waters of this state:
1. Section 327.33(3)(b), relating to navigation rules.
2. Section 327.44, relating to interference with navigation.
3. Section 327.50(2), relating to required lights and shapes.
4. Section 327.53, relating to marine sanitation.
5. Section 328.48(5), relating to display of decal.
6. Section 328.52(2), relating to display of number.
7. Section 327.4107, relating to vessels at risk of becoming derelict.
8. Section 327.4109, relating to prohibited anchoring or mooring.
(b) Citations issued to livery vessels under this subsection are the responsibility of the lessee of the vessel if the livery has included a warning of this responsibility as a part of the rental agreement and has provided to the agency issuing the citation the name, address, and date of birth of the lessee when requested by that agency. The livery is not responsible for the payment of citations if the livery provides the required warning and lessee information.
(c) A noncriminal violation of s. 327.4108 may be enforced by a uniform boating citation issued to the operator of a vessel unlawfully anchored in an anchoring limitation area.
(d) A noncriminal violation of s. 327.4109 may be enforced by a uniform boating citation issued to the owner or operator of a vessel or floating structure unlawfully anchored or moored in a prohibited area.
(4) Such officers shall have the power and duty to issue such orders and to make such investigations, reports, and arrests in connection with any violation of the provisions of this chapter and chapter 328 as are necessary to effectuate the intent and purpose of this chapter and chapter 328.
(5) The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or any other law enforcement agency may make any investigation necessary to secure information required to carry out and enforce the provisions of this chapter and chapter 328.
History.—s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 3, ch. 72-16; s. 10, ch. 74-327; s. 3, ch. 78-181; ss. 10, 12, ch. 84-188; s. 30, ch. 99-245; s. 17, ch. 2009-86; s. 2, ch. 2016-96; s. 2, ch. 2016-108; s. 2, ch. 2016-134; s. 10, ch. 2017-163; s. 1, ch. 2018-27.
Note.—Former s. 371.67.