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The Florida Statutes

The 2021 Florida Statutes

Title XXIV
VESSELS
Chapter 327
VESSEL SAFETY
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F.S. 327.59
327.59 Marina evacuations.
(1) Except as provided in this section, marinas may not adopt, maintain, or enforce policies pertaining to evacuation of vessels which require vessels to be removed from marinas following the issuance of a hurricane watch or warning, in order to ensure that protecting the lives and safety of vessel owners is placed before interests of protecting property.
(2) Nothing in this section may be construed to restrict the ability of an owner of a vessel or the owner’s authorized representative to remove a vessel voluntarily from a marina at any time or to restrict a marina owner from dictating the kind of cleats, ropes, fenders, and other measures that must be used on vessels as a condition of use of a marina. After a tropical storm or hurricane watch has been issued, a marina owner or operator, or an employee or agent of such owner or operator, may take reasonable actions to further secure any vessel within the marina to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment and may charge a reasonable fee for such services.
(3) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section, in order to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment, a marina owner may provide by contract that in the event a vessel owner fails to promptly remove a vessel from a marina after a tropical storm or hurricane watch has been issued, the marina owner, operator, employee, or agent may remove the vessel, if reasonable, from its slip or take whatever reasonable actions are deemed necessary to properly secure a vessel to minimize damage to a vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment and may charge the vessel owner a reasonable fee for any such services rendered. In order to add such a provision to a contract, the marina owner must provide notice to the vessel owner in any such contract in a font size of at least 10 points and in substantially the following form:

NOTICE TO VESSEL OWNER

The undersigned hereby informs you that in the event you fail to remove your vessel from the marina promptly (timeframe to be determined between the marina owner or operator and the vessel owner) after the issuance of a tropical storm or hurricane watch for (insert geographic area), Florida, under Florida law, the undersigned or his or her employees or agents are authorized to remove your vessel, if reasonable, from its slip or take any and all other reasonable actions deemed appropriate by the undersigned or his or her employees or agents in order to better secure your vessel and to protect marina property, private property, and the environment. You are further notified that you may be charged a reasonable fee for any such action.

(4) A marina owner, operator, employee, or agent shall not be held liable for any damage incurred to a vessel from storms or hurricanes and is held harmless as a result of such actions. Nothing in this section may be construed to provide immunity to a marina operator, employee, or agent for any damage caused by intentional acts or negligence when removing or securing a vessel as permitted under this section.
(5) Upon the issuance of a hurricane watch affecting the waters of marinas located in a deepwater seaport, vessels under 500 gross tons may not remain in the waters of such marinas that have been deemed not suitable for refuge during a hurricane. Vessel owners shall promptly remove their vessels from the waterways upon issuance of an evacuation order by the deepwater seaport. If the United States Coast Guard captain of the port sets the port condition to “Yankee” and a vessel owner has failed to remove a vessel from the waterway, the marina owner, operator, employee, or agent, regardless of any existing contractual provisions between the marina owner and the vessel owner, shall remove the vessel, or cause the vessel to be removed, if reasonable, from its slip and may charge the vessel owner a reasonable fee for any such services rendered. A marina owner, operator, employee, or agent may not be held liable for any damage incurred to a vessel from a hurricane and is held harmless as a result of such actions to remove the vessel from the waterways. After the hurricane watch has been issued, the owner or operator of any vessel that has not been removed from the waterway of the marina, pursuant to an order from the deepwater seaport, may be subject to a fine, which may be imposed and collected by the deepwater seaport that issued the evacuation order if assessed, in an amount not exceeding three times the cost associated with removing the vessel from the waterway. This section does not provide immunity to a marina owner, operator, employee, or agent for any damage caused by intentional acts or negligence when removing a vessel pursuant to this section; require a deepwater seaport to issue an order to evacuate vessels; or require a deepwater seaport to impose and collect fines for failure to remove vessels from its waterways. For purposes of this subsection, the term “deepwater seaport” means the port waters, dredged material management sites, port harbors, navigation channels, turning basins, and harbor berths used for deepwater commercial navigation.
History.s. 22, ch. 93-211; s. 11, ch. 95-146; s. 464, ch. 95-148; s. 2, ch. 95-150; s. 2, ch. 2006-309; s. 1, ch. 2021-108.