Ileana Garcia and Adam Botana push for boating safety measures after increase in accidents

GOP Sen. Ileana Garcia is set to appear before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, pushing for legislation it says will help improve boat safety and reduce illegal vessel rentals in Florida’s waterways.

Garcia is joined by the Republican representative. Adam botana of Bonita Springs as major sponsors in the Senate and House, respectively. The Safe Boating Act of 2022 will require people who rent boats to obtain a license free of charge from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. To qualify for this license, the person renting the boat must provide a list of the rented vessels, have valid insurance, have a sufficient number of flotation devices, and provide other safety equipment required by federal and state laws.

“The Boating Safety Act of 2022 protects Floridians and visitors, our marine life and natural resources by addressing the harmful actions of bad actors while ensuring uninterrupted use of our waterways by responsible enthusiasts and supporting educating boaters, ”Garcia said in a statement ahead of Tuesday’s hearing.

“Giving people the knowledge they need to change their boating habits will have lasting effects and benefit our waterways for generations to come. “

In recent months, Garcia has pushed to crack down on illegal boat charters as accidents increase in 2020. Data shows that there were 836 boating accidents last year, a jump of 16% from 2019. Most fatalities were caused by people falling from the boat and drowning, with 88 % of victims not wearing a life jacket.

Garcia is from Miami, which is a popular place for residents and tourists looking to get out on the water. The majority of accidents occurred in waters near Miami-Dade County. As lawmakers prepare for the 2022 legislative session, Garcia and Botana want officials to make sure these trips are made with the proper crew and safety equipment on board.

“My family has been in the boating and livery business for over 15 years now and I think this bill makes good sense,” Botana added. “It will help FWC fight bad actors across the state of Florida. It does not hinder any business and it is a good bill – which is why I am honored to lead it.

The charters already require a safety instruction before departure. The bills would increase these standards, which will be set by the FWC, to include the identification of navigation hazards and navigation restriction areas as well as emergency procedures in the event of a sinking ship or a fall by- on board.

The invoices would also require written agreements between the parties with a list of the names and addresses of those on board as well as emergency contacts and a log of times the vessel is expected to be returned. These contracts must be maintained for at least one year after the conclusion of the agreement.

Among other provisions, the measures would also make these agreements, as well as rental facilities, open to inspection by law enforcement in the event of an accident. Those who manage charter operations would also be required to report any accidents.


Post views:
242

Comments are closed.