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The Florida Statutes

The 2014 Florida Statutes

Title XXIV
VESSELS
Chapter 328
VESSELS: TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS; REGISTRATION
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CHAPTER 328
CHAPTER 328
VESSELS: TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS; REGISTRATION
PART I
VESSELS; TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS
(ss. 328.01-328.30)
PART II
VESSEL REGISTRATION
(ss. 328.40-328.80)
PART I
VESSELS; TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS
328.01 Application for certificate of title.
328.03 Certificate of title required.
328.05 Crimes relating to certificates of title to, or other indicia of ownership of, vessels; penalties.
328.07 Hull identification number required.
328.09 Refusal to issue and authority to cancel a certificate of title or registration.
328.11 Duplicate certificate of title.
328.13 Manufacturer’s statement of origin to be furnished.
328.15 Notice of lien on vessel; recording.
328.16 Issuance in duplicate; delivery; liens and encumbrances.
328.165 Cancellation of certificates.
328.17 Nonjudicial sale of vessels.
328.18 Power to conduct investigations.
328.19 Penalty.
328.195 Legislative intent.
328.20 Disposition of fees.
328.21 Transfer without delivery of certificate; operation or use without certificate; failure to surrender; other violations.
328.30 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.
328.01 Application for certificate of title.
(1)(a) The owner of a vessel which is required to be titled shall apply to the county tax collector for a certificate of title. The application shall include the true name of the owner, the residence or business address of the owner, and the complete description of the vessel, including the hull identification number, except that an application for a certificate of title for a homemade vessel shall state all the foregoing information except the hull identification number. The application shall be signed by the owner and shall be accompanied by personal or business identification and the prescribed fee. An individual applicant must provide a valid driver license or identification card issued by this state or another state or a valid passport. A business applicant must provide a federal employer identification number, if applicable, verification that the business is authorized to conduct business in the state, or a Florida city or county business license or number.
(b) The owner of an undocumented vessel that is exempt from titling may apply to the county tax collector for a certificate of title by filing an application accompanied by the prescribed fee.
(2)(a) The owner of a manufactured vessel that was initially sold in this state for which vessel an application for an initial title is made shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application the original copy of the manufacturer’s statement of origin for that vessel.
(b) The owner of a manufactured vessel that was initially sold in another state or country for which vessel an application for an initial title is made shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application:
1. The original copy of the manufacturer’s statement of origin if the vessel was initially sold or manufactured in a state or country requiring the issuance of such a statement or the original copy of the executed bill of sale if the vessel was initially sold or manufactured in a state or country not requiring the issuance of a manufacturer’s statement of origin; and
2. The most recent certificate of registration for the vessel, if such a certificate was issued.
(c) In making application for an initial title, the owner of a homemade vessel shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application:
1. A notarized statement of the builder or its equivalent, whichever is acceptable to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, if the vessel is less than 16 feet in length; or
2. A certificate of inspection from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a notarized statement of the builder or its equivalent, whichever is acceptable to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, if the vessel is 16 feet or more in length.
(d) The owner of a nontitled vessel registered or previously registered in another state or country for which an application for title is made in this state shall establish proof of ownership by surrendering, with the submission of the application, the original copy of the most current certificate of registration issued by the other state or country.
(e) The owner of a vessel titled in another state or country for which an application for title is made in this state shall not be issued a title unless and until all existing titles to the vessel are surrendered to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The department shall retain the evidence of title which is presented by the applicant and on the basis of which the certificate of title is issued. The department shall use reasonable diligence in ascertaining whether the facts in the application are true; and, if satisfied that the applicant is the owner of the vessel and that the application is in the proper form, the department shall issue a certificate of title.
(f) In making application for the titling of a vessel previously documented by the Federal Government, the current owner shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application a copy of the canceled documentation papers or a properly executed release-from-documentation certificate provided by the United States Coast Guard. In the event such documentation papers or certification are in the name of a person other than the current owner, the current owner shall provide the original copy of all subsequently executed bills of sale applicable to the vessel.
(3)(a) In making application for a title upon transfer of ownership of a vessel, the new owner shall surrender to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the last title document issued for that vessel. The document shall be properly executed. Proper execution includes, but is not limited to, the previous owner’s signature and certification that the vessel to be transferred is debt-free or is subject to a lien. If a lien exists, the previous owner shall furnish the new owner, on forms supplied by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the names and addresses of all lienholders and the dates of all liens, together with a statement from each lienholder that the lienholder has knowledge of and consents to the transfer of title to the new owner.
(b) If the application for transfer of title is based upon a contractual default, the recorded lienholder shall establish proof of right to ownership by submitting with the application the original certificate of title and a copy of the applicable contract upon which the claim of ownership is made. If the claim is based upon a court order or judgment, a copy of such document shall accompany the application for transfer of title. If, on the basis of departmental records, there appears to be any other lien on the vessel, the certificate of title must contain a statement of such a lien, unless the application for a certificate of title is either accompanied by proper evidence of the satisfaction or extinction of the lien or contains a statement certifying that any lienholder named on the last-issued certificate of title has been sent notice by certified mail, at least 5 days before the application was filed, of the applicant’s intention to seek a repossessed title. If such notice is given and no written protest to the department is presented by a subsequent lienholder within 15 days after the date on which the notice was mailed, the certificate of title shall be issued showing no liens. If the former owner or any subsequent lienholder files a written protest under oath within the 15-day period, the department shall not issue the repossessed certificate for 10 days thereafter. If, within the 10-day period, no injunction or other order of a court of competent jurisdiction has been served on the department commanding it not to deliver the certificate, the department shall deliver the repossessed certificate to the applicant, or as is otherwise directed in the application, showing no other liens than those shown in the application.
(c) In making application for transfer of title from a deceased titled owner, the new owner or surviving coowner shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application the original certificate of title and the decedent’s probated last will and testament or letters of administration appointing the personal representative of the decedent. In lieu of a probated last will and testament or letters of administration, a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, a copy of the decedent’s last will and testament, and an affidavit by the decedent’s surviving spouse or heirs affirming rights of ownership may be accepted by the department. If the decedent died intestate, a court order awarding the ownership of the vessel or an affidavit by the decedent’s surviving spouse or heirs establishing or releasing all rights of ownership and a copy of the decedent’s death certificate shall be submitted to the department.
(d) An owner or coowner who has made a bona fide sale or transfer of a vessel and has delivered possession thereof to a purchaser shall not, by reason of any of the provisions of this chapter, be considered the owner or coowner of the vessel so as to be subject to civil liability for the operation of the vessel thereafter by another if the owner or coowner has fulfilled either of the following requirements:
1. The owner or coowner has delivered to the department, or has placed in the United States mail, addressed to the department, either the certificate of title, properly endorsed, or a notice in the form prescribed by the department; or
2. The owner or coowner has made proper endorsement and delivery of the certificate of title as provided by this chapter. As used in this subparagraph, the term “proper endorsement” means:
a. The signature of one coowner if the vessel is held in joint tenancy, signified by the vessel’s being registered in the names of two or more persons as coowners in the alternative by the use of the word “or.” In a joint tenancy, each coowner is considered to have granted to each of the other coowners the absolute right to dispose of the title and interest in the vessel, and, upon the death of a coowner, the interest of the decedent in the jointly held vessel passes to the surviving coowner or coowners. This sub-subparagraph is applicable even if the coowners are husband and wife; or
b. The signatures of every coowner or of the respective personal representatives of the coowners if the vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as coowners in the conjunctive by the use of the word “and.”

The department shall adopt suitable language that must appear upon the certificate of title to effectuate the manner in which the interest in or title to the vessel is held.

(4) If the owner cannot furnish the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with all the required ownership documentation, the department may, at its discretion, issue a title conditioned on the owner’s agreement to indemnify the department and its agents and defend the title against all claims or actions arising out of such issuance.
(5)(a) An application for an initial title or a title transfer shall include payment of the applicable state sales tax or proof of payment of such tax.
(b) An application for a title transfer between individuals, which transfer is not exempt from the payment of sales tax, shall include payment of the appropriate sales tax payable on the selling price for the complete vessel rig, which includes the vessel and its motor, trailer, and accessories, if any. If the applicant submits with his or her application an itemized, properly executed bill of sale which separately describes and itemizes the prices paid for each component of the rig, only the vessel and trailer will be subject to the sales tax.
(6) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall prescribe and provide suitable forms for applications, certificates of title, notices of security interests, and other notices and forms necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 11, ch. 74-327; s. 4, ch. 80-266; s. 12, ch. 81-100; s. 11, ch. 84-184; s. 12, ch. 85-81; s. 159, ch. 94-356; s. 956, ch. 95-148; s. 57, ch. 95-333; s. 61, ch. 96-413; s. 37, ch. 99-245; s. 58, ch. 99-248; s. 70, ch. 2013-160.
Note.Former s. 371.75.
328.03 Certificate of title required.
(1) Each vessel that is operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must be titled by this state pursuant to this chapter, unless it is:
(a) A vessel operated, used, or stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds;
(b) A vessel owned by the United States Government;
(c) A non-motor-powered vessel less than 16 feet in length;
(d) A federally documented vessel;
(e) A vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which was awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, if the vessel is not located in this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days;
(f) A vessel from a country other than the United States temporarily used, operated, or stored on the waters of this state for a period that is not in excess of 90 days;
(g) An amphibious vessel for which a vehicle title is issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles;
(h) A vessel used solely for demonstration, testing, or sales promotional purposes by the manufacturer or dealer; or
(i) A vessel owned and operated by the state or a political subdivision thereof.
(2) A person shall not operate, use, or store a vessel for which a certificate of title is required unless the owner has received from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles a valid certificate of title for such vessel. However, such vessel may be operated, used, or stored for a period of up to 180 days after the date of application for a certificate of title while the application is pending.
(3) A person shall not sell, assign, or transfer a vessel titled by the state without delivering to the purchaser or transferee a valid certificate of title with an assignment on it showing the transfer of title to the purchaser or transferee. A person shall not purchase or otherwise acquire a vessel required to be titled by the state without obtaining a certificate of title for the vessel in his or her name. The purchaser or transferee shall, within 30 days after a change in vessel ownership, file an application for a title transfer with the county tax collector. An additional $10 fee shall be charged against the purchaser or transferee if he or she files a title transfer application after the 30-day period. The county tax collector shall be entitled to retain $5 of the additional amount.
(4) A certificate of title is prima facie evidence of the ownership of the vessel. A certificate of title is good for the life of the vessel so long as the certificate is owned or held by the legal holder. If a titled vessel is destroyed or abandoned, the owner, with the consent of any recorded lienholders, shall, within 30 days after the destruction or abandonment, surrender to the department for cancellation any and all title documents. If a titled vessel is insured and the insurer has paid the owner for the total loss of the vessel, the insurer shall obtain the title to the vessel and, within 30 days after receiving the title, forward the title to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for cancellation. The insurer may retain the certificate of title when payment for the loss was made because of the theft of the vessel.
(5) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall provide labeled places on the title where the seller’s price shall be indicated when a vessel is sold and where a selling dealer shall record his or her valid sales tax certificate of registration number.
(6)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall charge a fee of $5.25 for issuing each certificate of title. The tax collector shall be entitled to retain $3.75 of the fee.
(b) Beginning July 1, 1996, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall use security procedures, processes, and materials in the preparation and issuance of each certificate of title to prohibit, to the extent possible, a person’s ability to alter, counterfeit, duplicate, or modify the certificate.
(7) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall charge a fee of $4 in addition to that charged in subsection (6) for each initial certificate of title issued for a vessel previously registered outside this state.
(8) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall make regulations necessary and convenient to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 24, 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 12, ch. 74-327; ss. 7, 8, ch. 79-359; s. 52, ch. 80-274; s. 13, ch. 81-100; s. 21, ch. 83-218; s. 11, ch. 84-184; s. 3, ch. 85-108; s. 7, ch. 85-324; s. 1, ch. 87-291; s. 467, ch. 95-148; s. 58, ch. 95-333; s. 62, ch. 96-413; s. 20, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.76.
328.05 Crimes relating to certificates of title to, or other indicia of ownership of, vessels; penalties.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to procure or attempt to procure a certificate of title or duplicate certificate of title to a vessel, or to pass or attempt to pass a certificate of title or duplicate certificate of title to a vessel or any assignment thereof, if such person knows or has reason to believe that such vessel is stolen. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(2) It is unlawful for any person, knowingly and with intent to defraud, to have in his or her possession, sell, offer to sell, counterfeit, or supply a blank, forged, fictitious, counterfeit, stolen, or fraudulently or unlawfully obtained certificate of title, duplicate certificate of title, registration, bill of sale, or other indicia of ownership of a vessel or to conspire to do any of the foregoing. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(3) It is unlawful:
(a) To alter or forge any certificate of title to a vessel or any assignment thereof or any cancellation of any lien on a vessel.
(b) To retain or use such certificate, assignment, or cancellation knowing that it has been altered or forged.
(c) To use a false or fictitious name, give a false or fictitious address, or make any false statement in any application or affidavit required under the provisions of this chapter or in a bill of sale or sworn statement of ownership or otherwise commit a fraud in any application.
(d) To knowingly obtain goods, services, credit, or money by means of an invalid, duplicate, fictitious, forged, counterfeit, stolen, or unlawfully obtained certificate of title, registration, bill of sale, or other indicia of ownership of a vessel.
(e) To knowingly obtain goods, services, credit, or money by means of a certificate of title to a vessel which certificate is required by law to be surrendered to the department.

Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. A violation of any provision of this subsection with respect to any vessel shall constitute such vessel as contraband which may be seized by a law enforcement agency, or the division, and which shall be subject to forfeiture pursuant to ss. 932.701-932.704.

(4) This section is not exclusive of any other penalties prescribed by any existing or future laws for the larceny or unauthorized taking of vessels, but is supplementary thereto.
History.s. 4, ch. 80-266; s. 11, ch. 84-184; s. 3, ch. 85-252; s. 28, ch. 87-243; s. 9, ch. 87-392; s. 468, ch. 95-148.
Note.Former s. 371.763.
328.07 Hull identification number required.
(1) No person shall operate, use, or store on the waters of this state a vessel the construction of which began after October 31, 1972, for which the department has issued a certificate of title or which is required by law to be registered, unless the vessel displays the assigned hull identification number affixed by the manufacturer as required by the United States Coast Guard or by the department for a homemade vessel or other vessel for which a hull identification number is not required by the United States Coast Guard. The hull identification number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, or otherwise permanently affixed to the outboard side of the transom or, if there is no transom, to the outermost starboard side at the end of the hull that bears the rudder or other steering mechanism, above the waterline of the vessel in such a way that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious and evident. The characters of the hull identification number must be no less than 12 in number and no less than one-fourth inch in height.
(2) No person shall operate, use, or store on the waters of this state a vessel the construction of which was completed before November 1, 1972, for which the department has issued a certificate of title or which is required by law to be registered, unless the vessel displays a hull identification number. The hull identification number shall be clearly imprinted in the transom or on the hull by stamping, impressing, or marking with pressure. In lieu of imprinting, the hull identification number may be displayed on a plate in a permanent manner. A vessel for which the manufacturer has provided no hull identification number or a homemade vessel shall be assigned a hull identification number by the department which shall be affixed to the vessel pursuant to this section.
(3)(a) No person, firm, association, or corporation shall destroy, remove, alter, cover, or deface the hull identification number or hull serial number, or plate bearing such number, of any vessel, except to make necessary repairs which require the removal of the hull identification number and immediately upon completion of such repairs shall reaffix the hull identification number in accordance with subsection (2).
(b) If any of the hull identification numbers required by the United States Coast Guard for a vessel manufactured after October 31, 1972, do not exist or have been altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced or the real identity of the vessel cannot be determined, the vessel may be seized as contraband property by a law enforcement agency or the division, and shall be subject to forfeiture pursuant to ss. 932.701-932.706. Such vessel may not be sold or operated on the waters of the state unless the division receives a request from a law enforcement agency providing adequate documentation or is directed by written order of a court of competent jurisdiction to issue to the vessel a replacement hull identification number which shall thereafter be used for identification purposes. No vessel shall be forfeited under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act when the owner unknowingly, inadvertently, or neglectfully altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced the vessel hull identification number.
(4)(a) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess, manufacture, sell or exchange, offer to sell or exchange, supply in blank, or give away any counterfeit manufacturer’s vessel hull identification number plate or decal or any manufacturer’s vessel hull identification plate or decal which is assigned to another vessel to be used for the purpose of identification of any vessel; to authorize, direct, aid in exchange, or give away such counterfeit manufacturer’s vessel hull identification number plate or decal or any manufacturer’s vessel hull identification number plate or decal which is assigned to another vessel; or to conspire to do any of the foregoing. However, nothing in this subsection shall be applicable to any approved hull identification number plate or decal issued as a replacement by the manufacturer, the department, or another state.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly buy, sell, offer for sale, receive, dispose of, conceal, or have in his or her possession any vessel or part thereof on which the assigned identification number has been altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced or maintain such vessel in any manner which conceals or misrepresents the true identity of the vessel.
(c) Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(5) The failure to have the hull identification number clearly displayed in compliance with this section shall be probable cause for any Division of Law Enforcement officer or other authorized law enforcement officer to make further inspection of the vessel in question to ascertain the true identity thereof.
(6) Each vessel manufactured after the effective date of this act for sale in the state shall have a hull identification number displayed prior to sale or delivery for sale in accordance with the regulations set forth in 33 C.F.R. part 181. The hull identification number shall not be altered or replaced by the manufacturer or manufacturer’s representative for the purpose of upgrading the model year of a vessel after being offered for sale or delivered to any dealer.
(7) No person or firm shall assign the same hull identification number to more than one vessel.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 74-327; s. 5, ch. 80-266; s. 5, ch. 83-102; s. 2, ch. 84-129; s. 12, ch. 84-184; s. 1, ch. 86-73; s. 10, ch. 92-54; s. 469, ch. 95-148; s. 66, ch. 2008-4; s. 21, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.77.
328.09 Refusal to issue and authority to cancel a certificate of title or registration.
(1) If the department determines at any time that an applicant for a certificate of title or registration gave a false statement or false or incomplete information in applying for the certificate or otherwise failed to comply with the applicable provisions pertaining to the application for a certificate, it may refuse to issue the certificate.
(2) If the department determines at any time that an owner or dealer named in a certificate of title or registration gave a false statement or false or incomplete information in applying for the certificate or otherwise failed to comply with the applicable provisions pertaining to the application for a certificate, it may cancel the certificate.
(3) The department may cancel any pending application or any certificate if it determines that any title or registration fee or sales tax pertaining to such registration has not been paid, provided such fee or tax is not paid upon reasonable notice.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 74-327; s. 23, ch. 78-95; s. 13, ch. 84-184.
Note.Former s. 371.78.
328.11 Duplicate certificate of title.
(1) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may issue a duplicate certificate of title upon application by the person entitled to hold such a certificate if the department is satisfied that the original certificate has been lost, destroyed, or mutilated. The department shall charge a fee of $6 for issuing a duplicate certificate.
(2) In addition to the fee imposed by subsection (1), the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall charge a fee of $5 for expedited service in issuing a duplicate certificate of title. Application for such expedited service may be made by mail or in person. The department shall issue each certificate of title applied for under this subsection within 5 working days after receipt of a proper application or shall refund the additional $5 fee upon written request by the applicant.
(3) If, following the issuance of an original, duplicate, or corrected certificate of title by the department, the certificate is lost in transit and is not delivered to the addressee, the owner of the vessel or the holder of a lien thereon may, within 180 days after the date of issuance of the title, apply to the department for reissuance of the certificate of title. An additional fee may not be charged for reissuance under this subsection.
(4) The department shall implement a system to verify that the application is signed by a person authorized to receive a duplicate title certificate under this section if the address shown on the application is different from the address shown for the applicant on the records of the department.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 74-327; s. 14, ch. 84-184; s. 2, ch. 87-291; s. 59, ch. 95-333; s. 63, ch. 96-413; s. 59, ch. 99-248.
Note.Former s. 371.79.
328.13 Manufacturer’s statement of origin to be furnished.
(1) Any person selling a new vessel in this state shall furnish a manufacturer’s statement of origin to the purchaser of the vessel. The statement shall be signed and dated by an authorized representative of the manufacturer and shall indicate the complete name and address of the purchaser. The statement shall provide a complete description of the vessel, which shall include, but is not limited to, the hull identification number, hull length, hull material, type of propulsion, and model year of the vessel. The statement of origin shall be in English or accompanied by an English translation if the vessel was purchased outside the United States, and shall contain as many assignments thereon as may be necessary to show title in the name of the purchaser.
(2) It is unlawful for a vessel manufacturer, manufacturer’s representative, or dealer to issue a manufacturer’s certificate of origin describing a vessel, knowing that such description is false or that the vessel described does not exist or for any person to obtain or attempt to obtain such manufacturer’s certificate of origin knowing the description is false or having reason to believe the vessel does not exist. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.s. 1, ch. 69-167; s. 6, ch. 80-266; s. 15, ch. 84-184; s. 64, ch. 96-413.
Note.Former s. 371.791.
328.15 Notice of lien on vessel; recording.
(1) No lien for purchase money or as security for a debt in the form of retain title contract, conditional bill of sale, chattel mortgage, or otherwise on a vessel shall be enforceable in any of the courts of this state against creditors or subsequent purchasers for a valuable consideration and without notice unless a sworn notice of such lien is recorded. The lien certificate shall contain the following information:
(a) Name and address of the registered owner;
(b) Date of lien;
(c) Description of the vessel to include make, type, motor and serial number; and
(d) Name and address of lienholder.

The lien shall be recorded by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and shall be effective as constructive notice when filed. The date of filing of the notice of lien is the date of its receipt by the department’s central office in Tallahassee, if first filed there, or otherwise by the office of a county tax collector or of the tax collector’s agent.

(2)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall not enter any lien upon its lien records, whether it is a first lien or a subordinate lien, unless the official certificate of title issued for the vessel is furnished with the notice of lien, so that the record of lien, whether original or subordinate, may be noted upon the face thereof. After the department records the lien, it shall send the certificate of title to the holder of the first lien who shall hold such certificate until the lien is satisfied in full.
(b) When a vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as coowners in the alternative by the use of the word “or,” whether or not the coowners are husband and wife, each coowner is considered to have granted to any other coowner the absolute right to place a lien or encumbrance on the vessel, and the signature of one coowner constitutes proper execution of the notice of lien. When a vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as coowners in the conjunctive by the use of the word “and,” the signature of each coowner is required in order to place a lien or encumbrance on the vessel.
(c) If the owner of the vessel as shown on the title certificate or the director of the state child support enforcement program desires to place a second or subsequent lien or encumbrance against the vessel when the title certificate is in the possession of the first lienholder, the owner shall send a written request to the first lienholder by certified mail and such first lienholder shall forward the certificate to the department for endorsement. The department shall return the certificate to the first lienholder, as indicated in the notice of lien filed by the first lienholder, after endorsing the second or subsequent lien on the certificate and on the duplicate. If the first lienholder fails, neglects, or refuses to forward the certificate of title to the department within 10 days after the date of the owner’s or the director’s request, the department, on written request of the subsequent lienholder or an assignee thereof, shall demand of the first lienholder the return of such certificate for the notation of the second or subsequent lien or encumbrance.
(3) Upon the payment of any such lien, the debtor or the registered owner of the motorboat shall be entitled to demand and receive from the lienholder a satisfaction of the lien which shall likewise be filed with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(4) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles under precautionary rules and regulations to be promulgated by it may permit the use, in substitution of the formal satisfaction of lien, of other methods of satisfaction, such as perforation, appropriate stamp, or otherwise, as it deems reasonable and adequate.
(5)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt rules to administer this section. The department may by rule require that a notice of satisfaction of a lien be notarized. The department shall prepare the forms of the notice of lien and the satisfaction of lien to be supplied, at a charge not to exceed 50 percent more than cost, to applicants for recording the liens or satisfactions and shall keep a record of such notices of lien and satisfactions available for inspection by the public at all reasonable times. The division may furnish certified copies of such satisfactions for a fee of $1, which are admissible in evidence in all courts of this state under the same conditions and to the same effect as certified copies of other public records.
(b) The department shall establish and administer an electronic titling program that requires the recording of vessel title information for new, transferred, and corrected certificates of title. Lienholders shall electronically transmit liens and lien satisfactions to the department in a format determined by the department. Individuals and lienholders who the department determines are not normally engaged in the business or practice of financing vessels are not required to participate in the electronic titling program.
(6) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is entitled to a fee of $1 for the recording of each notice of lien. No fee shall be charged for recording the satisfaction of a lien. All of the fees collected shall be paid into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund.
(7)(a) Should any person, firm, or corporation holding such lien, which has been recorded by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, upon payment of such lien and on demand, fail or refuse, within 30 days after such payment and demand, to furnish the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel a satisfaction of the lien, then, in that event, such person, firm, or corporation shall be held liable for all costs, damages, and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, lawfully incurred by the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel in any suit which may be brought in the courts of this state for the cancellation of such lien.
(b) Following satisfaction of a lien, the lienholder shall enter a satisfaction thereof in the space provided on the face of the certificate of title. If there are no subsequent liens shown thereon, the certificate shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien or encumbrance and an executed satisfaction on a form provided by the department shall be forwarded to the department by the lienholder within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.
(c) If the certificate of title shows a subsequent lien not then being discharged, an executed satisfaction of the first lien shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien and the certificate of title showing satisfaction of the first lien shall be forwarded by the lienholder to the department within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.
(d) If, upon receipt of a title certificate showing satisfaction of the first lien, the department determines from its records that there are no subsequent liens or encumbrances upon the vessel, the department shall forward to the owner, as shown on the face of the title, a corrected certificate showing no liens or encumbrances. If there is a subsequent lien not being discharged, the certificate of title shall be reissued showing the second or subsequent lienholder as the first lienholder and shall be delivered to the new first lienholder. The first lienholder shall be entitled to retain the certificate of title until his or her lien is satisfied. Upon satisfaction of the lien, the lienholder shall be subject to the procedures required of a first lienholder in this subsection and in subsection (2).
(8) When the original certificate of title cannot be returned to the department by the lienholder and evidence satisfactory to the department is produced that all liens or encumbrances have been satisfied, upon application by the owner for a duplicate copy of the certificate of title, upon the form prescribed by the department, accompanied by the fee prescribed in this chapter, a duplicate copy of the certificate of title without statement of liens or encumbrances shall be issued by the department and delivered to the owner.
(9) Any person who fails, within 10 days after receipt of a demand by the department by certified mail, to return a certificate of title to the department as required by paragraph (2)(c) or who, upon satisfaction of a lien, fails within 10 days after receipt of such demand to forward the appropriate document to the department as required by paragraph (7)(b) or paragraph (7)(c) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(10) The department shall use the last known address as shown by its records when sending any notice required by this section.
(11) If the original lienholder sells and assigns his or her lien to some other person, and if the assignee desires to have his or her name substituted on the certificate of title as the holder of the lien, he or she may, after delivering the original certificate of title to the department and providing a sworn statement of the assignment, have his or her name substituted as a lienholder. Upon substitution of the assignee’s name as lienholder, the department shall deliver the certificate of title to the assignee as the first lienholder.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 14, ch. 74-327; s. 7, ch. 80-266; s. 16, ch. 84-184; s. 13, ch. 85-81; s. 4, ch. 85-252; s. 9, ch. 88-176; s. 160, ch. 94-356; s. 60, ch. 95-333; s. 20, ch. 96-321; s. 65, ch. 96-413; s. 60, ch. 99-248; s. 39, ch. 2000-313; s. 16, ch. 2004-335; s. 67, ch. 2012-181.
Note.Former s. 371.81.
328.16 Issuance in duplicate; delivery; liens and encumbrances.
(1) The department shall assign a number to each certificate of title and shall issue each certificate of title and each corrected certificate in duplicate. The database record shall serve as the duplicate title certificate.
(2) An authorized person must sign the original certificate of title and each corrected certificate and, if there are no liens or encumbrances on the vessel, as shown in the records of the department or as shown in the application, must deliver the certificate to the applicant or to another person as directed by the applicant or person, agent, or attorney submitting the application. If there are one or more liens or encumbrances on the vessel, the department must deliver the certificate to the first lienholder as shown by department records. The department shall deliver to the first lienholder, along with the certificate, a form to be subsequently used by the lienholder as a satisfaction. If the application for certificate of title shows the name of a first lienholder which is different from the name of the first lienholder as shown by the records of the department, the certificate shall not be issued to any person until after the department notifies all parties who appear to hold a lien and the applicant for the certificate, in writing by certified mail. If the parties do not amicably resolve the conflict within 10 days after the date the notice was mailed, the department shall serve notice in writing by certified mail on all persons that appear to hold liens on that particular vessel, including the applicant for the certificate, to show cause within 15 days after the date the notice is mailed why it should not issue and deliver the certificate to the person indicated in the notice of lien filed by the lienholder whose name appears in the application as the first lienholder without showing any lien or liens as outstanding other than those appearing in the application or those filed subsequent to the filing of the application for the certificate of title. If, within the 15-day period, any person other than the lienholder shown in the application or a party filing a subsequent lien, in answer to the notice to show cause, appears in person or by a representative, or responds in writing, and files a written statement under oath that his or her lien on that particular vessel is still outstanding, the department shall not issue the certificate to anyone until after the conflict has been settled by the lien claimants involved or by a court of competent jurisdiction. If the conflict is not settled amicably within 10 days after the final date for filing an answer to the notice to show cause, the complaining party shall have 10 days to obtain a ruling, or a stay order, from a court of competent jurisdiction. If a ruling or stay order is not issued and served on the department within the 10-day period, the department shall issue the certificate showing no liens, except those shown in the application or thereafter filed, to the original applicant if there are no liens shown in the application and none are thereafter filed, or to the person indicated in the notice of lien filed by the lienholder whose name appears in the application as the first lienholder if there are liens shown in the application or thereafter filed. A duplicate certificate or corrected certificate must show only such lien or liens as were shown in the application and subsequently filed liens that may be outstanding.
(3) Except as provided in s. 328.15(11), the certificate of title shall be retained by the first lienholder. The first lienholder is entitled to retain the certificate until the first lien is satisfied.
(4) Notwithstanding any requirements in this section or in s. 328.15 indicating that a lien on a vessel shall be noted on the face of the Florida certificate of title, if there are one or more liens or encumbrances on a vessel, the department shall electronically transmit the lien to the first lienholder and notify the first lienholder of any additional liens. Subsequent lien satisfactions shall be electronically transmitted to the department and must include the name and address of the person or entity satisfying the lien. When electronic transmission of liens and lien satisfactions are used, the issuance of a certificate of title may be waived until the last lien is satisfied and a clear certificate of title is issued to the owner of the vessel.
(5) The owner of a vessel, upon which a lien has been filed with the department or noted upon a certificate of title for a period of 5 years, may apply to the department in writing for such lien to be removed from the department files or from the certificate of title. The application must be accompanied by evidence satisfactory to the department that the applicant has notified the lienholder by certified mail, not less than 20 days prior to the date of the application, of his or her intention to apply to the department for removal of the lien. Ten days after receipt of the application, the department may remove the lien from its files or from the certificate of title, as the case may be, if no statement in writing protesting removal of the lien is received by the department from the lienholder within the 10-day period. However, if the lienholder files with the department, within the 10-day period, a written statement that the lien is still outstanding, the department may not remove the lien until the lienholder presents a satisfaction of lien to the department.
History.s. 66, ch. 96-413; s. 42, ch. 97-300; s. 61, ch. 99-248; s. 72, ch. 2001-61; s. 68, ch. 2012-181.
328.165 Cancellation of certificates.
(1) If it appears that a certificate of title has been improperly issued, the department shall cancel the certificate. Upon cancellation of any certificate of title, the department shall notify the person to whom the certificate of title was issued, and any lienholders appearing thereon, of the cancellation and shall demand the surrender of the certificate of title; however, the cancellation does not affect the validity of any lien noted thereon. The holder of the certificate of title shall immediately return it to the department. If a certificate of registration has been issued to the holder of a certificate of title so canceled, the department shall immediately cancel the certificate of registration and demand the return of the certificate of registration and the holder of such certificate of registration shall immediately return it to the department.
(2) The department may, upon application by any person and payment of the proper fees, prepare and furnish lists containing title information in such form as the department authorizes, search the records of the department and make reports thereof, and make photographic copies of the department records and attestations thereof.
History.s. 62, ch. 99-248.
328.17 Nonjudicial sale of vessels.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that any nonjudicial sale of any vessel held for unpaid costs, storage charges, or dockage fees, or any vessel held for failure to pay removal costs pursuant to s. 327.53(7), be disposed of pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(2) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall provide certification forms for the nonjudicial sale of vessels as authorized by this section.
(3) For purposes of this section, “owner” shall mean the person holding title to the vessel, or any person the marina reasonably believes to be authorized to act for the vessel.
(4) A marina, as defined in s. 327.02, shall have:
(a) A possessory lien upon any vessel for storage fees, dockage fees, repairs, improvements, or other work-related storage charges, and for expenses necessary for preservation of the vessel or expenses reasonably incurred in the sale or other disposition of the vessel. The possessory lien attaches as of the date the vessel is brought to the marina or as of the date the vessel first occupies rental space at the marina facility.
(b) A possessory lien upon any vessel in a wrecked, junked, or substantially dismantled condition which has been left abandoned at a marina for expenses reasonably incurred in the removal and disposal of the vessel. The possessory lien attaches as of the date the vessel arrives at the marina or as of the date the vessel first occupies rental space at the marina facility. If the funds recovered from the sale of or the scrap or salvage value of the vessel are insufficient to cover the expenses reasonably incurred by the marina in removing and disposing of the vessel, all costs in excess of recovery shall be recoverable against the owner of the vessel. For a vessel damaged as a result of a named storm, the provisions of this paragraph shall be suspended for 60 days after the date the vessel is damaged in the named storm. The operation of the provisions specified in this paragraph run concurrently with, and do not extend, the 60-day notice periods provided in subsections (5) and (7).
(5) A marina’s possessory lien may be satisfied as follows:
(a)1. The marina shall provide written notice to the vessel’s owner, delivered in person or by certified mail to the owner’s last known address. The notice shall also be conspicuously posted at the marina and on the vessel.
2. In addition to notice provided to the vessel owner under subparagraph 1., the marina shall provide written notice to each person or entity that:
a. Holds a security interest on the vessel as shown in the records of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with respect to state-titled vessels.
b. Holds a preferred ship mortgage or has filed a claim of lien with the United States Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Center.
c. Holds a security interest against the vessel under the Uniform Commercial Code.
d. Has perfected a lien against the subject vessel by filing a judgment lien certificate pursuant to ss. 55.201-55.209.
3. When a vessel displays a foreign country identification or displays registration numbers from a state other than Florida, the marina shall conduct a reasonable lien search of the vessel registration records in the jurisdiction of registry to determine if there is a lienholder who is entitled to notice pursuant to subparagraph 2. Failure to discover a foreign national or non-Florida United States lienholder after a good faith effort to conduct such a lien search shall not prevent the sale or removal of a vessel from the marina to satisfy the marina’s possessory lien or a purchaser, in good faith, from taking title of the vessel, pursuant to subsections (7) and (11).
4. The requirements of subparagraph 2. shall be satisfied if the marina:
a. Obtains ownership documentation for the vessel and trailer, if applicable, from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or other agency with which the vessel is registered;
b. Obtains an abstract from the United States Coast Guard for a vessel that is documented as defined in 46 U.S.C. s. 30101;
c. Performs a current Uniform Commercial Code lien search;
d. Performs a current Florida judgment lien certificate search; and
e. Complies with subparagraph 3. with regard to vessels registered in a foreign country or in a state other than Florida.
5. The written notice to the vessel owner and lienholders required by this paragraph shall be made at least 60 days prior to any sale of the vessel under this section.
(b) The notice shall include:
1. An itemized statement of the marina’s claim, showing the sum due at the time of the notice and the date upon which the sum became due.
2. A description of the vessel.
3. A demand for payment.
4. A conspicuous statement that, unless the claim is paid within the time stated in the notice, the vessel will be advertised for sale or other disposition and will be sold or otherwise disposed of at a specified time and place.
5. The name, street address, and telephone number of the marina that the owner or lienholder may contact to respond to the notice.
(6) Any notice given pursuant to this section shall be presumed delivered when it is deposited with the United States Postal Service, certified, and properly addressed with postage prepaid.
(7) If the fees, costs, and late payment interest that give rise to such a lien are due and unpaid 60 days after the vessel owner and lienholder are given written notice, the marina may sell the vessel, including its machinery, rigging, and accessories as provided for in subsection (8); or the marina may, at its option, remove the vessel from the marina or from the waters of the state at the owner’s expense pursuant to paragraph (4)(b).
(8) The marina shall first publish an advertisement of the sale or other disposition once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the marina is located. Inasmuch as any sale may involve more than one vessel, a single advertisement may be used to dispose of more than one vessel at any one sale.
(a) The advertisement shall include:
1. A brief and general description of the vessel.
2. The address of the marina facility or the address where the marina is located and the name of the owner of the vessel.
3. The time, place, and manner of the sale or other disposition. The sale or other disposition shall take place no sooner than 15 days after the first publication.
(b) If there is no newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the marina is located, the advertisement shall be posted at least 10 days before the date of the sale or other disposition in no fewer than three conspicuous places in the neighborhood in which the marina is located.
(9) Any sale or other disposition of the vessel shall conform to the terms of the notification as provided for in this section and shall be conducted in a commercially reasonable manner, as that term is used in s. 679.610.
(10) Before any sale or other disposition of the vessel pursuant to this section, the owner or the lienholder may pay the amount necessary to satisfy the lien and the reasonable expenses and late payment interest incurred under this section and thereby redeem and take possession of the vessel. Upon receipt of such payment, the marina shall return the property to the owner or lienholder making such payment and thereafter shall have no liability to any person with respect to such vessel.
(11) Unless otherwise provided by law, a purchaser in good faith of a vessel sold to satisfy a lien provided for in this section takes the property free of any claims other than a prior lien perfected under state or federal law.
(12) In the event of a sale under this section, the marina may satisfy its lien from the proceeds of the sale, provided the marina’s lien has priority over all other liens on the vessel. The lien rights of secured lienholders automatically also attach to the remaining proceeds of the sale. The balance, if any, shall be held by the marina for delivery on demand to the owner. A notice of any balance shall be delivered by the marina to the owner in person or by certified mail to the last known address of the owner. If the owner does not claim the balance of the proceeds within 1 year after the date of sale, the proceeds shall be deemed abandoned, and the marina shall have no further obligation with regard to the payment of the balance. In the event that the marina’s lien does not have priority over all other liens, the sale proceeds shall be held for the benefit of the holders of those liens having priority. A notice of the amount of the sale proceeds shall be delivered by the marina to the owner or secured lienholder in person or by certified mail to the owner’s or the secured lienholder’s last known address. If the owner or the secured lienholder does not claim the sale proceeds within 1 year after the date of sale, the proceeds shall be deemed abandoned, and the owner or the secured lienholder shall have no further obligation with regard to the payment of the proceeds.
(13) In making application for transfer of title of a vessel sold pursuant to this section, the new owner shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application, which includes the applicable fees and the original bill of sale executed by the marina, a copy of each registered or certified letter sent by the marina to the previous owner and lienholder and a certified copy of the public notice of intent to sell published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the marina is located. At the time the purchase price is paid, the marina shall provide the documentation required by this subsection to the purchaser.
History.s. 1, ch. 78-264; s. 17, ch. 84-184; s. 5, ch. 85-252; s. 13, ch. 87-225; s. 8, ch. 94-241; s. 957, ch. 95-148; s. 61, ch. 95-333; s. 115, ch. 99-13; s. 312, ch. 99-248; s. 1, ch. 2003-175; s. 1, ch. 2006-5; s. 7, ch. 2006-172; s. 7, ch. 2014-70.
Note.Former s. 371.84.
328.18 Power to conduct investigations.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 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.
History.s. 10, ch. 84-184; s. 62, ch. 95-333.
328.19 Penalty.Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; s. 305, ch. 71-136; s. 8, ch. 80-266; s. 50, ch. 91-224.
Note.Former s. 371.82.
328.195 Legislative intent.It is declared to be the legislative intent that if any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this chapter is held invalid the remainder of this chapter and chapter 327 shall not be affected.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586.
Note.Former s. 371.83.
328.20 Disposition of fees.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall deposit all funds collected by it pursuant to the provisions of this chapter in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund.
History.s. 18, ch. 84-184; s. 161, ch. 94-356; s. 63, ch. 95-333; s. 21, ch. 96-321.
328.21 Transfer without delivery of certificate; operation or use without certificate; failure to surrender; other violations.A person who:
(1) Except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, purports to sell or transfer a vessel for which a certificate of title is required without delivering to the purchaser or transferee thereof a certificate of title thereto which is duly assigned to the purchaser as provided in this chapter or who operates or uses in this state a vessel for which a certificate of title is required, without the certificate having been obtained in accordance with this chapter, or upon which the certificate of title has been canceled;
(2) Fails to surrender any certificate of title, certificate of registration, or sticker upon cancellation of the same by the department and notice thereof as prescribed in this chapter;
(3) Fails to surrender the certificate of title to the department as provided in this chapter when the vessel has been destroyed, dismantled, or changed so that it is not the vessel described in the certificate of title; or
(4) Violates any of the other provisions of this chapter, or any lawful rule adopted under this chapter,

is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for each offense.

History.s. 67, ch. 96-413.
328.30 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.
(1) The department may accept any application provided for under this chapter by electronic or telephonic means.
(2) The department may issue an electronic certificate of title in lieu of printing a paper title.
(3) The department may collect electronic mail addresses and use electronic mail in lieu of the United States Postal Service for the purpose of providing renewal notices.
History.s. 25, ch. 97-300; s. 69, ch. 2012-181.
PART II
VESSEL REGISTRATION
328.40 Administration of vessel registration and titling laws; records.
328.42 Suspension or denial of a vessel registration due to support delinquency; dishonored checks.
328.46 Operation of registered vessels.
328.48 Vessel registration, application, certificate, number, decal, duplicate certificate.
328.52 Special manufacturers’ and dealers’ number.
328.54 Federal numbering system adopted.
328.56 Vessel registration number.
328.58 Reciprocity of nonresident or alien vessels.
328.60 Military personnel; registration; penalties.
328.62 Only authorized number to be used.
328.64 Change of interest and address.
328.65 Legislative intent with respect to registration and numbering of vessels.
328.66 County and municipality optional registration fee.
328.68 Exemption of vessels and outboard motors from personal property tax; temporary certificate of registration; vessel registration certificate fee.
328.70 Legislative intent with respect to uniform registration fee, classification of vessels.
328.72 Classification; registration; fees and charges; surcharge; disposition of fees; fines; marine turtle stickers.
328.73 Registration; duties of tax collectors.
328.735 Advanced registration renewal; procedures.
328.74 Stickers or emblems for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund.
328.76 Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund; vessel registration funds; appropriation and distribution.
328.78 Crimes relating to registration decals; penalties.
328.80 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.
328.40 Administration of vessel registration and titling laws; records.
(1) The administration of vessel registration and titling as set forth in this chapter is under the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which shall provide for issuing, handling, and recording of all vessel registration and titling applications and certificates, including the receipt and accounting of vessel registration and titling fees.
(2) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall keep electronic records and perform such other clerical duties as required pertaining to:
(a) Vessel registration and titling.
(b) Suspension of the vessel operating privilege under ss. 327.35-327.355.
(3) All records made or kept by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles under this law are public records except for confidential reports.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 2, ch. 63-103; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 74-327; s. 2, ch. 81-100; s. 3, ch. 84-184; s. 153, ch. 94-356; s. 47, ch. 95-333; s. 52, ch. 96-413; s. 4, ch. 98-308; s. 6, ch. 99-289; s. 40, ch. 2000-313.
Note.Former s. 371.031; s. 327.03.
328.42 Suspension or denial of a vessel registration due to support delinquency; dishonored checks.
(1) The department shall work cooperatively with the Department of Revenue to establish an automated method for periodically disclosing information relating to current owners of registered vessels to the Department of Revenue, the state’s Title IV-D agency. The purpose of this subsection is to promote the public policy of this state relating to child support as established in s. 409.2551. The department shall, when directed by the court or the Department of Revenue pursuant to s. 409.2598, deny or suspend the vessel registration and suspend the vessel operating privilege of an owner found not to be in compliance with a support order, a subpoena, an order to show cause, or a written agreement with the Department of Revenue. The department shall issue or reinstate a registration and reinstate the operating privilege when notified by the court or the Department of Revenue that the owner has complied with the terms of the support order. The department is not liable for any registration denial or suspension, or suspension of operating privileges, resulting from the discharge of its duties under this section.
(2) The department may deny or cancel any vessel registration if the owner pays for the registration by a dishonored check.
History.s. 5, ch. 95-222; s. 52, ch. 99-248; s. 7, ch. 99-289; s. 24, ch. 2001-158; s. 3, ch. 2008-92.
Note.Former s. 327.031.
328.46 Operation of registered vessels.
(1) Every vessel that is required to be registered and that is being operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state shall be registered and numbered within 30 days after purchase by the owner except as specifically exempt. During this 30-day period, the operator is required to have aboard the vessel and available for inspection a bill of sale. The bill of sale for the vessel shall serve as the temporary certificate of number that is required by federal law and must contain the following information:
(a) Make of the vessel.
(b) Length of the vessel.
(c) Type of propulsion.
(d) Hull identification number.
(e) A statement declaring Florida to be the state where the vessel is principally used.
(f) Name of the purchaser.
(g) Address of the purchaser, including ZIP code.
(h) Signature of the purchaser.
(i) Name of the seller.
(j) Signature of the seller.
(k) Date of the sale of the vessel. The date of sale shall also serve as the date of issuance of the temporary certificate of number.
(l) Notice to the purchaser and operator that the temporary authority to use the vessel on the waters of this state is invalid after 30 days following the date of sale of the vessel.
(2) No person shall operate, use, or store or give permission for the operation, use, or storage of any such vessel on such waters unless:
(a) Such vessel is registered within 30 days after purchase by the owner and numbered with the identifying number set forth in the certificate of registration, displayed:
1. In accordance with s. 328.48(4), except, if the vessel is an airboat, the registration number may be displayed on each side of the rudder; or
2. In accordance with 33 C.F.R. s. 173.27, or with a federally approved numbering system of another state; and
(b) The certificate of registration or temporary certificate of number awarded to such vessel is in full force and effect.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 1, ch. 74-62; s. 3, ch. 74-327; s. 3, ch. 81-100; s. 1, ch. 83-102; s. 4, ch. 84-184; s. 49, ch. 95-333; s. 54, ch. 96-413; s. 10, ch. 99-289; s. 22, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.041; s. 327.10.
328.48 Vessel registration, application, certificate, number, decal, duplicate certificate.
(1)(a) The owner of each vessel required by this law to pay a registration fee and secure an identification number shall file an application with the county tax collector. The application shall provide the owner’s name and address; residency status; personal or business identification; and a complete description of the vessel, and shall be accompanied by payment of the applicable fee required in s. 328.72. An individual applicant must provide a valid driver license or identification card issued by this state or another state or a valid passport. A business applicant must provide a federal employer identification number, if applicable, verification that the business is authorized to conduct business in the state, or a Florida city or county business license or number. Registration is not required for any vessel that is not used on the waters of this state.
(b) For purposes of registration, the owner may establish proof of ownership of the vessel by submitting with his or her application an executed bill of sale, a builder’s contract, a manufacturer’s statement of origin, a federal marine document, or any other document acceptable to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and presented at the time of registration to the agency issuing the registration certificate.
(2) Each vessel operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must be registered as a commercial vessel or recreational vessel as defined in s. 327.02, unless it is:
(a) A vessel operated, used, and stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds;
(b) A vessel owned by the United States Government;
(c) A vessel used exclusively as a ship’s lifeboat; or
(d) A non-motor-powered vessel less than 16 feet in length or a non-motor-powered canoe, kayak, racing shell, or rowing scull, regardless of length.
(3) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall issue certificates of registration and numbers for city, county, and state-owned vessels, charging only the service fees required in s. 328.72(7) and (8), provided the vessels are used for purposes other than recreation.
(4) Each certificate of registration issued shall state among other items the numbers awarded to the vessel, the hull identification number, the name and address of the owner, and a description of the vessel, except that certificates of registration for vessels constructed or assembled by the owner registered for the first time shall state all the foregoing information except the hull identification number. The numbers shall be placed on each side of the forward half of the vessel in such position as to provide clear legibility for identification, except, if the vessel is an airboat, the numbers may be placed on each side of the rudder. The numbers awarded to the vessel shall read from left to right and shall be in block characters of good proportion not less than 3 inches in height. The numbers shall be of a solid color which will contrast with the color of the background and shall be so maintained as to be clearly visible and legible; i.e., dark numbers on a light background or light numbers on a dark background. The certificate of registration shall be pocket-sized and shall be available for inspection on the vessel for which issued whenever such vessel is in operation.
(5) A decal signifying the year or years during which the certificate is valid shall be furnished by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with each registration certificate issued. The decal issued to an undocumented vessel shall be displayed by affixing it to the port (left) side of the vessel within 6 inches before or after the registration number. The decal issued to a documented vessel shall be placed on the port (left) side of the vessel and may be affixed to a window or the windshield on the port (left) side of the vessel in lieu of being placed on the hull. A decal issued to a dealer shall be affixed, with the registration number, to a removable sign pursuant to s. 328.52(2). Any decal for a previous year shall be removed from a vessel operating on the waters of the state.
(6) When a vessel decal has been stolen, the owner of the vessel for which the decal was issued shall make application to the department for a replacement. The application shall contain the decal number being replaced and a statement that the item was stolen. If the application includes a copy of the police report prepared in response to a report of a stolen decal, such decal shall be replaced at no charge.
(7) Any decal lost in the mail may be replaced at no charge. The service charge shall not be applied to this replacement; however, the application for a replacement shall contain a statement of such fact, the decal number, and the date issued.
(8) Anyone guilty of falsely certifying any facts relating to application, certificate, transfer, number, decal, duplicate, or replacement certificates or any information required under this section shall be punished as provided under this chapter.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 61-511; s. 3, ch. 63-103; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; ss. 4, 15, ch. 74-327; s. 1, ch. 80-266; s. 50, ch. 80-274; s. 4, ch. 81-100; s. 1, ch. 82-181; s. 2, ch. 83-102; s. 5, ch. 84-184; s. 2, ch. 85-287; s. 5, ch. 85-324; s. 2, ch. 88-336; s. 450, ch. 95-148; s. 50, ch. 95-333; s. 55, ch. 96-413; s. 53, ch. 99-248; s. 11, ch. 99-289; s. 49, ch. 2000-152; s. 41, ch. 2000-313; s. 26, ch. 2000-362; s. 2, ch. 2008-106; s. 23, ch. 2009-86; s. 71, ch. 2013-160.
Note.Former s. 371.051; s. 327.11.
328.52 Special manufacturers’ and dealers’ number.
(1) The description of a vessel used for demonstration, sales promotional, or testing purposes by a manufacturer or dealer shall be omitted from the certificate of registration. In lieu of the description, the word “manufacturer” or “dealer,” as appropriate, shall be plainly marked on the certificate.
(2) The manufacturer or dealer shall have the number awarded printed upon or attached to a removable sign or signs to be temporarily but firmly mounted upon or attached to the vessel being demonstrated, promoted, or tested so long as the display meets the requirements of this chapter.
(3) A dealer registration shall not be issued to a manufacturer or a dealer pursuant to this chapter unless he or she provides to the county tax collector a copy of his or her current sales tax certificate of registration, if such certificate is required, from the Department of Revenue and a copy of his or her current commercial or occupational business license if such license is required by the local governmental entity in which the manufacturer or dealer operates a vessel.
(4) A manufacturer or dealer shall not use or authorize the use of any vessel registered pursuant to this section for other than demonstration, sales promotional, or testing purposes. Such vessel shall not be used for any commercial or other use not specifically authorized by this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 451, ch. 95-148; s. 13, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.071; s. 327.13.
328.54 Federal numbering system adopted.
(1) The vessel registration number issued shall be of the pattern prescribed by regulations of the United States Coast Guard and shall be divided into parts. The first part shall consist of the symbols identifying the state followed by a combination of numerals and letters which furnish individual vessel identification. The group of digits appearing between letters shall be separated from those letters by hyphens or equivalent spaces.
(2) The first part of the number shall be a symbol indicating Florida which shall be FL.
(3) The remainder of the vessel number shall consist of not more than four Arabic numerals and two capital letters or not more than three Arabic numerals and three capital letters, in sequence, separated by a hyphen or equivalent space, in accordance with the serials, numerically and alphabetically.
(4) Since the letters I, O, and Q may be mistaken for Arabic numerals, all letter sequences using I, O, and Q shall be omitted. Objectionable words formed by the use of two or three letters shall not be used.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 14, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.091; s. 327.14.
328.56 Vessel registration number.Each vessel that is operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must display a commercial or recreational Florida registration number, unless it is:
(1) A vessel operated, used, and stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds;
(2) A vessel owned by the United States Government;
(3) A vessel used exclusively as a ship’s lifeboat;
(4) A non-motor-powered vessel less than 16 feet in length or a non-motor-powered canoe, kayak, racing shell, or rowing scull, regardless of length;
(5) A federally documented vessel;
(6) A vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, if the vessel has not been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days;
(7) A vessel operating under a valid temporary certificate of number;
(8) A vessel from a country other than the United States temporarily using the waters of this state; or
(9) An undocumented vessel used exclusively for racing.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; ss. 2, 3, ch. 61-511; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 52, ch. 95-333; s. 56, ch. 96-413; s. 15, ch. 99-289; s. 27, ch. 2000-362; s. 3, ch. 2008-106; s. 24, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.131; s. 327.15.
328.58 Reciprocity of nonresident or alien vessels.The owner of any vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded by:
(1) Another state pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state;
(2) The United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system; or
(3) The United States Coast Guard for a federally documented vessel with a valid registration in full force and effect from another state,

shall record the number with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles prior to operating, using, or storing the vessel on the waters of this state in excess of the 90-day reciprocity period provided for in this chapter. Such recordation shall be pursuant to the procedure required for the award of an original registration number, except that no additional or substitute registration number shall be issued if the vessel owner maintains the previously awarded registration number in full force and effect.

History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 57, ch. 96-413; s. 16, ch. 99-289; s. 25, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.081; s. 327.16.
328.60 Military personnel; registration; penalties.Any military personnel on active duty in this state operating, using, or storing a vessel on the waters of this state that has a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, or a federally documented vessel with a valid registration in full force and effect from another state shall not be required to register his or her vessel in this state while such certificate of registration remains valid; but, at the expiration of such registration certificate, all registration and titling shall be issued by this state. In the case of a federally documented vessel, the issuance of a title is not required by this chapter.
History.ss. 1, 5, ch. 67-586; s. 302, ch. 71-136; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 452, ch. 95-148; s. 58, ch. 96-413; s. 17, ch. 99-289; s. 26, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.082; s. 327.17.
328.62 Only authorized number to be used.No number other than the number awarded to a vessel or granted reciprocity pursuant to this chapter shall be painted, attached, or otherwise displayed on either side of the bow of such vessel.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 18, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.111; s. 327.18.
328.64 Change of interest and address.
(1) The owner shall furnish the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles notice of the transfer of all or any part of his or her interest in a vessel registered or titled in this state pursuant to this chapter or of the destruction or abandonment of such vessel, within 30 days thereof, on a form prescribed by the department. Such transfer, destruction, or abandonment shall terminate the certificate for such vessel, except that in the case of a transfer of a part interest which does not affect the owner’s right to operate such vessel, such transfer shall not terminate the certificate. The department shall provide the form for such notice and shall attach the form to every vessel title issued or reissued.
(2) Any holder of a certificate of registration shall notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or the county tax collector within 30 days, if his or her address no longer conforms to the address appearing on the certificate and shall, as a part of such notification, furnish the department or such county tax collector with the new address. The department shall provide in its rules and regulations for the surrender of the certificate bearing the former address and its replacement with a certificate bearing the new address or for the alteration of an outstanding certificate to show the new address of the holder.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 5, ch. 74-327; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 453, ch. 95-148; s. 53, ch. 95-333; s. 19, ch. 99-289; s. 4, ch. 2006-309; s. 46, ch. 2007-5.
Note.Former s. 371.101; s. 327.19.
328.65 Legislative intent with respect to registration and numbering of vessels.It is the legislative intent that vessels be registered and numbered uniformly throughout the state. The purpose of ss. 327.58, 327.70, 327.72, 328.66, 328.68, and 328.72 is to make registration and numbering procedures similar to those of automobiles and airplanes and to provide for a vessel registration fee and certificate so as to determine the ownership of vessels which are operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state and to aid in the advancement of maritime safety.
History.s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 8, ch. 74-327; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 20, ch. 99-289; s. 27, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.62; s. 327.21.
328.66 County and municipality optional registration fee.
(1) Any county may impose an annual registration fee on vessels registered, operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state within its jurisdiction. This fee shall be 50 percent of the applicable state registration fee. However, the first $1 of every registration imposed under this subsection shall be remitted to the state for deposit in the Save the Manatee Trust Fund created within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and shall be used only for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4). All other moneys received from such fee shall be expended for the patrol, regulation, and maintenance of the lakes, rivers, and waters and for other boating-related activities of such municipality or county. A municipality that was imposing a registration fee before April 1, 1984, may continue to levy such fee, notwithstanding the provisions of this section.
(2) Any county which imposes an annual registration fee may establish, by interlocal agreement with one or more of the municipalities located in the county, a distribution formula for dividing the proceeds of the fee or for use of the funds for boating-related projects located within the county or the municipality or municipalities, or the county and the municipality or municipalities.
History.s. 22, ch. 99-289; s. 28, ch. 2000-362; s. 197, ch. 2008-247; s. 28, ch. 2009-86.
328.68 Exemption of vessels and outboard motors from personal property tax; temporary certificate of registration; vessel registration certificate fee.
(1) Every vessel registered as provided herein, and outboard motor capable of propelling any such vessel, shall be exempt from any personal property tax and in lieu thereof shall pay a vessel registration certificate fee. A certificate of registration shall be issued for any documented vessel, the owner of which has paid the registration certificate fee, but no state registration number shall be issued to such vessel.
(2) A temporary certificate of registration may be issued to a vessel for use in the following cases:
(a) The owner has made application to the United States Coast Guard for documentation and has paid the applicable registration certificate fee pursuant to s. 328.72(1). A temporary certificate of registration shall only be issued upon proof that all applicable state sales taxes have been paid and that the application for documentation is on file with the United States Coast Guard. Any reregistration of such a vessel without the submission of the vessel’s documentation papers shall require written verification from the United States Coast Guard as to the current status of the application for the vessel’s documentation. Upon receipt of the vessel’s documentation papers, the owner shall bring them to the agent issuing the temporary certificate for official recording of information.
(b) An out-of-state resident, subject to registration in this state, who must secure ownership documentation from the home state, and is unable to submit an out-of-state title because it is being held by an out-of-state lienholder.
History.s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 8, ch. 74-327; s. 25, ch. 79-334; s. 77, ch. 82-226; s. 7, ch. 84-184; s. 2, ch. 85-252; s. 59, ch. 96-413; s. 54, ch. 99-248; s. 23, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.64; s. 327.23.
328.70 Legislative intent with respect to uniform registration fee, classification of vessels.
(1) It is declared to be the intent of the Legislature that all vessels in the state be subject to a uniform registration fee at a rate based on the length of the vessels. It is also declared to be the intent of the Legislature that all vessels be classified as either “commercial” or “recreational” and that all such vessels be registered according to the provisions of s. 328.72.
(2) Any vessel which is required to be registered and meets the definition of a commercial vessel shall be classified and registered as a “commercial vessel.”
(3) Any vessel which is required to be registered and is not used for commercial purposes shall be classified and registered as a “recreational vessel.”
(4) Livery vessels shall be classified as “commercial” or “recreational” based on the manner in which they are used.
History.s. 1, ch. 70-336; s. 8, ch. 74-327; s. 8, ch. 84-184; s. 24, ch. 99-289; s. 29, ch. 2000-362.
Note.Former s. 371.645; s. 327.24.
328.72 Classification; registration; fees and charges; surcharge; disposition of fees; fines; marine turtle stickers.
(1) VESSEL REGISTRATION FEE.Vessels that are required to be registered shall be classified for registration purposes according to the following schedule, and the registration certificate fee shall be in the following amounts:

Class A-1Less than 12 feet in length, and all canoes to which propulsion motors have been attached, regardless of length: $5.50 for each 12-month period registered.

Class A-212 feet or more and less than 16 feet in length: $16.25 for each 12-month period registered.

(To county): 2.85 for each 12-month period registered.

Class 116 feet or more and less than 26 feet in length: $28.75 for each 12-month period registered.

(To county): 8.85 for each 12-month period registered.

Class 226 feet or more and less than 40 feet in length: $78.25 for each 12-month period registered.

(To county): 32.85 for each 12-month period registered.

Class 340 feet or more and less than 65 feet in length: $127.75 for each 12-month period registered.

(To county): 56.85 for each 12-month period registered.

Class 465 feet or more and less than 110 feet in length: $152.75 for each 12-month period registered.

(To county): 68.85 for each 12-month period registered.

Class 5110 feet or more in length: $189.75 for each 12-month period registered.

(To county): 86.85 for each 12-month period registered.

Dealer registration certificate: $25.50 for each 12-month period registered.

The county portion of the vessel registration fee is derived from recreational vessels only.

(2) ANTIQUE VESSEL REGISTRATION FEE.
(a) A vessel that is at least 30 years old, used only for recreational purposes, and powered by the vessel’s original-type power plant may be registered as an antique vessel. When applying for registration as an antique vessel, the owner of such a vessel shall submit certification, as prescribed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or from a marine surveyor that the vessel meets the requirements of this paragraph.
(b) The registration number for an antique vessel shall be permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the vessel as provided in ss. 328.48 and 328.54.
(c) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may issue a decal identifying the vessel as an antique vessel. The decal shall be displayed as provided in ss. 328.48 and 328.54.
(3) ALIEN OR NONRESIDENT LICENSE FEE.An additional license fee of $50 for each 12-month period registered shall be required of all aliens or nonresidents of the state on all vessels not subject to a specific reciprocal agreement with another state, which vessels are used for commercial purposes and owned in whole or in part by such aliens or nonresidents. Such fee shall be in addition to the vessel registration fee required by this section.
(4) TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP.
(a) When the ownership of a registered vessel changes, an application for transfer of registration shall be filed with the county tax collector by the new owner within 30 days with a fee of $3.25. The county tax collector shall retain $2.25 of the fee and shall remit $1 to the department. A refund may not be made for any unused portion of a registration period.
(b) If a vessel is an antique as defined in subsection (2), the application shall be accompanied by either a certificate of title, a bill of sale and a registration, or a bill of sale and an affidavit by the owner defending the title from all claims. The bill of sale must contain a complete vessel description to include the hull identification number and engine number, if appropriate; the year, make, and color of the vessel; the selling price; and the signatures of the seller and purchaser.
(5) REPLACEMENT DECAL.A decal issued to replace a lost or misplaced decal may be obtained by submitting $2.25 with a request for such replacement decal to the county tax collector. A replacement decal may not be issued except upon receipt of a written request by the registered owner or an appointed representative.
(6) CHANGE OF CLASSIFICATION.If the classification of a vessel changes from recreational to commercial, or from commercial to recreational and a current registration certificate has been issued to the owner, the owner shall within 30 days forward his or her certificate to the county tax collector with a fee of $2.25 and a new certificate shall be issued.
(7) SERVICE FEE.In addition to other registration fees, the vessel owner shall pay the tax collector a $2.25 service fee for each registration issued, replaced, or renewed. Except as provided in subsection (15), all fees, other than the service charge, collected by a tax collector must be remitted to the department not later than 7 working days following the last day of the week in which the money was remitted. Vessels may travel in salt water or fresh water.
(8) MAIL SERVICE CHARGE.A mail service charge shall be collected for each registration or reregistration mailed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or any tax collector. All registrations and reregistrations shall be mailed by first-class mail. The amount of the mail service charge shall be the actual postage required rounded to the nearest 5 cents, plus a 25-cent handling charge. The mail service charge shall be in addition to the service charge provided in subsection (7) and shall be used and accounted for in accordance with law.
(9) SURCHARGE.In addition, there is hereby levied and imposed on each vessel registration fee imposed under subsection (1) a surcharge in the amount of $1 for each 12-month period of registration, which shall be collected in the same manner as the fee and deposited into the State Agency Law Enforcement Radio System Trust Fund of the Department of Management Services.
(10) DUPLICATE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE.A duplicate registration certificate to replace a lost or misplaced certificate may be obtained from a tax collector for $2.25. A duplicate certificate will not be issued except by written request of the registered owner or a person authorized by the owner to make such a request.
(11) VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS.The application form for boat registration shall include a provision to allow each applicant to indicate a desire to pay an additional voluntary contribution to the Save the Manatee Trust Fund to be used for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4). This contribution shall be in addition to all other fees and charges. The amount of the request for a voluntary contribution solicited shall be $2 or $5 per registrant. A registrant who provides a voluntary contribution of $5 or more shall be given a sticker or emblem by the tax collector to display, which signifies support for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund. All voluntary contributions shall be deposited in the Save the Manatee Trust Fund and shall be used for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4). The form shall also include language permitting a voluntary contribution of $5 per applicant, which contribution shall be transferred into the 1Election Campaign Financing Trust Fund. A statement providing an explanation of the purpose of the trust fund shall also be included.
(12) REGISTRATION.
(a) “Registration period” is a period of 12 months during which a vessel registration is valid.
(b) Any vessel owner who is subject to registration under subparagraph (c)1. is eligible for an extended registration period that begins the first day of the birth month of the owner and ends the last day of the month immediately preceding the owner’s birth month 24 months after the beginning of the registration period. If the vessel is registered in the name of more than one person, the birth month of the person whose name first appears on the registration shall be used to determine the extended registration period. For a vessel subject to this extended registration period, the renewal period is the 30-day period ending at midnight on the vessel owner’s date of birth.
(c) The following registration periods and renewal periods are established:
1. For vessels owned by individuals, the registration period begins the first day of the birth month of the owner and ends the last day of the month immediately preceding the owner’s birth month in the succeeding year. If the vessel is registered in the name of more than one person, the birth month of the person whose name first appears on the registration shall be used to determine the registration period. For a vessel subject to this registration period, the renewal period is the 30-day period ending at midnight on the vessel owner’s date of birth.
2. For vessels owned by companies, corporations, governmental entities, and registrations issued to dealers and manufacturers, the registration period begins July 1 and ends June 30. The renewal period is the 30-day period beginning June 1.
(13) EXPIRED REGISTRATION.The operation, use, or storage on the waters of this state of a previously registered vessel after the expiration of the registration period is a noncriminal violation, as defined in s. 327.73. This subsection does not apply to vessels lawfully stored at a dock or in a marina.
(14) EXEMPTIONS.The following vessels are exempt from provisions of subsection (1):
(a) A vessel that is owned and operated by Sea Explorer or Sea Scout units of the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America, the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies, Inc., Safe Harbor Haven, Inc., or the Associated Marine Institutes, Inc., and its affiliates.
(b) An antique vessel as defined in paragraph (2)(a).
(c) A non-motor-powered sailing vessel that is owned by a nonprofit entity and used exclusively for teaching boating safety, boat handling, or seamanship skills, including the racing of such sailing vessels.

Such vessels shall be issued certificates of registration and numbers upon application and payment of the service fee provided in subsection (7).

(15) DISTRIBUTION OF FEES.Except for the first $2, $1 of which shall be remitted to the state for deposit into the Save the Manatee Trust Fund created within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and $1 of which shall be remitted to the state for deposit into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund to fund a grant program for public launching facilities pursuant to s. 206.606, giving priority consideration to counties with more than 35,000 registered vessels, moneys designated for the use of the counties, as specified in subsection (1), shall be distributed by the tax collector to the board of county commissioners for use only as provided in this section. Such moneys to be returned to the counties are for the sole purposes of providing, maintaining, or operating recreational channel marking and other uniform waterway markers, public boat ramps, lifts, and hoists, marine railways, boat piers, docks, mooring buoys, and other public launching facilities; and removing derelict vessels, debris that specifically impede boat access, not including the dredging of channels, and vessels and floating structures deemed a hazard to public safety and health for failure to comply with s. 327.53. Counties shall demonstrate through an annual detailed accounting report of vessel registration revenues that the registration fees were spent as provided in this subsection. This report shall be provided to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission no later than November 1 of each year. If, before January 1 of each calendar year, the accounting report meeting the prescribed criteria has still not been provided to the commission, the tax collector of that county may not distribute the moneys designated for the use of counties, as specified in subsection (1), to the board of county commissioners but shall, for the next calendar year, remit such moneys to the state for deposit into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. The commission shall return those moneys to the county if the county fully complies with this section within that calendar year. If the county does not fully comply with this section within that calendar year, the moneys shall remain within the Marine Resources Trust Fund and may be appropriated for the purposes specified in this subsection.
(16) MARINE TURTLE STICKER.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall offer for sale with vessel registrations a waterproof sticker in the shape of a marine turtle at an additional cost of $5, the proceeds of which shall be deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund to be used for marine turtle protection, research, and recovery efforts pursuant to the provisions of s. 379.2431(1).
(17) FORMS AND NOTICES.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall prescribe and provide suitable forms for applications and other notices and forms necessary to administer the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 2, ch. 67-586; s. 1, ch. 69-300; s. 4, ch. 70-336; s. 1, ch. 73-146; ss. 9, 15, ch. 74-327; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 81, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 79-307; ss. 26, 30, ch. 79-334; s. 1, ch. 79-364; s. 2, ch. 80-266; s. 51, ch. 80-274; s. 9, ch. 81-100; s. 2, ch. 82-97; s. 2, ch. 82-181; s. 78, ch. 82-226; s. 9, ch. 84-184; s. 66, ch. 84-338; s. 6, ch. 85-324; s. 2, ch. 87-392; s. 3, ch. 88-144; s. 3, ch. 88-336; s. 5, ch. 89-168; s. 2, ch. 90-219; s. 29, ch. 91-107; s. 1, ch. 91-199; s. 1, ch. 91-215; s. 83, ch. 91-221; s. 4, ch. 92-72; s. 279, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 3, ch. 94-241; s. 952, ch. 95-148; s. 54, ch. 95-333; s. 16, ch. 96-321; s. 1, ch. 97-16; s. 40, ch. 97-96; s. 41, ch. 97-300; s. 15, ch. 99-4; s. 18, ch. 99-5; s. 113, ch. 99-13; s. 19, ch. 99-245; s. 55, ch. 99-248; s. 25, ch. 99-289; s. 39, ch. 99-399; s. 50, ch. 2000-152; s. 42, ch. 2000-313; ss. 30, 31, ch. 2000-362; s. 1, ch. 2001-369; s. 1, ch. 2004-75; s. 12, ch. 2005-157; s. 5, ch. 2006-309; s. 7, ch. 2007-242; s. 4, ch. 2008-106; s. 198, ch. 2008-247; s. 29, ch. 2009-86; s. 1, ch. 2013-56; s. 2, ch. 2013-194; s. 4, ch. 2014-136.
1Note.The trust fund expired, effective November 4, 1996, by operation of s. 19(f), Art. III of the State Constitution.
Note.Former s. 371.65; s. 327.25.
328.73 Registration; duties of tax collectors.
(1) The tax collectors in the counties of the state, as authorized agents of the department, shall issue registration certificates and vessel numbers and decals to applicants, subject to the requirements of law and in accordance with rules of the department.
(2) Each tax collector shall keep a full and complete record and account of all vessel decals or other properties received by him or her from the department or from any other source and shall make prompt remittance of moneys collected by him or her at the times and in the manner prescribed by law.
(3) A fee of 50 cents shall be charged in addition to the fees required under s. 328.72 on every vessel decal registration sold to cover the cost of the Florida Real Time Vehicle Information System. The fees collected under this section shall be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund and shall be used to fund that system and may be used to fund the general operations of the department.
(4) Notwithstanding chapter 116, every county officer within this state authorized to collect funds provided for in this chapter shall pay all sums officially received by the officer into the State Treasury no later than 5 working days after the close of the business day in which the officer received the funds. Payment by county officers to the state shall be made by means of electronic funds transfer.
History.s. 56, ch. 99-248; s. 51, ch. 2000-152; s. 43, ch. 2000-313; s. 16, ch. 2002-235.
328.735 Advanced registration renewal; procedures.
(1) The owner of any vessel currently registered in this state may file an application for renewal of registration with the department, or its authorized agent in the county wherein the owner resides, any time during the 3 months preceding the date of expiration of the registration period.
(2) Upon the filing of the application and payment of the appropriate vessel registration fee and service charges required by s. 328.72 and any additional fees required by law, the department or its agents shall issue to the owner of the vessel a decal and registration. When the decal is affixed to the vessel, the registration is renewed for the appropriate registration period.
(3) Any person who uses a vessel decal without lawful authority or who willfully violates any rule of the department relating to this section shall be punished as provided under this chapter.
History.s. 57, ch. 99-248; s. 52, ch. 2000-152; s. 44, ch. 2000-313.
328.74 Stickers or emblems for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund.The commission shall prepare stickers or emblems signifying support for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund which shall be given to persons who contribute to the Save the Manatee Trust Fund as provided in s. 328.72. The commission may accept stickers or emblems donated by any governmental or nongovernmental entity for the purposes of this section.
History.s. 4, ch. 91-199; s. 156, ch. 94-356; s. 20, ch. 99-245; s. 26, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 327.26.
328.76 Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund; vessel registration funds; appropriation and distribution.
(1) Except as otherwise specified in this subsection and less the amount equal to any administrative costs which shall be deposited in the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund, in each fiscal year beginning on or after July 1, 2001, all funds collected from the registration of vessels through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the tax collectors of the state, except for those funds designated as the county portion pursuant to s. 328.72(1), shall be deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund for recreational channel marking; public launching facilities; law enforcement and quality control programs; aquatic weed control; manatee protection, recovery, rescue, rehabilitation, and release; and marine mammal protection and recovery. The funds collected pursuant to s. 328.72(1) shall be transferred as follows:
(a) In each fiscal year, an amount equal to $1.50 for each commercial and recreational vessel registered in this state shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to the Save the Manatee Trust Fund and shall be used only for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4).
(b) An amount equal to $2 from each recreational vessel registration fee, except that for class A-1 vessels, shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to the Invasive Plant Control Trust Fund in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for aquatic weed research and control.
(c) An amount equal to 40 percent of the registration fees from commercial vessels shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to the Invasive Plant Control Trust Fund in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for aquatic plant research and control.
(d) An amount equal to 40 percent of the registration fees from commercial vessels shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, on a monthly basis, to the General Inspection Trust Fund of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These funds shall be used for shellfish and aquaculture development and quality control programs.
(e) After all administrative costs are funded and the distributions in paragraphs (a)-(d) have been made, up to $400,000 shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to the General Inspection Trust Fund of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to fund activities relating to the protection, restoration, and research of the natural oyster reefs and beds of the state. This paragraph expires July 1, 2017.
(f) After all administrative costs are funded and the distributions in paragraphs (a)-(d) have been made, up to $300,000 may be used by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for boating safety education. This paragraph expires July 1, 2017.
(2) All funds collected pursuant to s. 379.361(2) shall be deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. Such funds shall be used to pay the cost of implementing the saltwater products license program. Additional proceeds from the licensing revenue shall be distributed among the following program functions:
(a) No more than 15 percent shall go to marine law enforcement;
(b) Twenty-five percent shall go to the Florida Saltwater Products Promotion Trust Fund within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, on a monthly basis, for the purpose of providing marketing and extension services including industry information and education; and
(c) The remainder shall go to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, for use in marine research and statistics development, including quota management.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 2, ch. 61-119; s. 1, ch. 63-105; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 12, 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-400; s. 5, ch. 70-336; s. 5, ch. 74-327; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 11, ch. 83-134; s. 10, ch. 84-184; s. 67, ch. 84-338; s. 2, ch. 85-108; s. 6, ch. 89-168; s. 4, ch. 89-250; s. 3, ch. 90-219; s. 2, ch. 91-199; s. 35, ch. 92-151; s. 157, ch. 94-356; s. 32, ch. 95-146; s. 55, ch. 95-333; s. 17, ch. 96-321; s. 114, ch. 99-13; s. 20, ch. 99-205; s. 21, ch. 99-245; s. 27, ch. 99-289; s. 3, ch. 99-312; ss. 32, 33, ch. 2000-362; s. 8, ch. 2000-364; s. 18, ch. 2001-196; s. 2, ch. 2001-369; s. 12, ch. 2008-150; s. 199, ch. 2008-247; s. 72, ch. 2013-160.
Note.Former s. 371.171; s. 327.28.
328.78 Crimes relating to registration decals; penalties.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to make, alter, forge, counterfeit, or reproduce a Florida registration decal unless authorized by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(2) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to have in his or her possession a forged, counterfeit, or imitation Florida registration decal, or reproduction of a decal, unless possession by such person has been duly authorized by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(3) It is unlawful for any person to barter, trade, sell, supply, agree to supply, aid in supplying, or give away a Florida registration decal or to conspire to barter, trade, sell, supply, agree to supply, aid in supplying, or give away a registration decal, unless duly authorized to issue the decal by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, as provided in this chapter or in rules of the department.
(4) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.s. 1, ch. 80-266; s. 454, ch. 95-148; s. 56, ch. 95-333; s. 28, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.053; s. 327.29.
1328.80 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.The commission is authorized to accept any application provided for under this chapter by electronic or telephonic means.
History.s. 24, ch. 97-300; s. 36, ch. 99-245; s. 32, ch. 99-289.
1Note.As amended by s. 36, ch. 99-245, and transferred from s. 327.90 to s. 328.80 by s. 32, ch. 99-289. For a description of multiple acts in the same session affecting a statutory provision, see preface to the Florida Statutes, “Statutory Construction.” Section 328.80 was also amended by s. 32, ch. 99-289, and that version reads:

328.80 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.—The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized to accept any application provided for under this chapter by electronic or telephonic means.

Note.Former s. 327.90.