STATEWIDE — Governor Ron DeSantis has signed into law a bill that cracks down on the owners of derelict vessels and makes its easier for law enforcement to remove abandoned boats from coastal waters.

Representative Tyler I. Sirois was a principal sponsor of SB 1086. He represents District 51 which covers most of northern Brevard County.

“Derelict and abandoned vessels are a real public safety problem in Brevard County and across our state,” said Sirois. “This legislation will provide Florida Fish and Wildlife and our law enforcement partners the tools to intervene before these vessels sink, carrying fuel, sewage, and fiberglass to the bottom of the river.”

The new law designates Florida’s 42 aquatic preserves as no-marine sewage discharge zones. That designation applies to Banana River and significant portions of the Indian River Lagoon.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Chairman Rodney Barreto said the new law “gives us the tools we need to keep people safe and protect our natural resources.”

Among the key provisions are:

Derelict and At-Risk Vessels

* Allows law enforcement to relocate, remove and destroy the at-risk vessels of owners who are not bringing the vessel into full compliance in a timely fashion.

* Provides incentives for vessel owners to ensure their vessel does not become derelict.

* Authorizes law enforcement to relocate at-risk vessels away from mangroves or vegetation to prevent possible environmental damage.

Water quality

* Designates (upon approval by EPA) all waters within aquatic preserves as no-discharge zones.

* Prioritizes Florida’s springs by expanding types of restricted zones that can be created for the purpose of protecting and preventing harm to springs.

* Ensures owners and operators of live-aboard vessels or houseboats are doing their part to be good stewards on Florida waters.

Boater Safety

* Heightens penalties for those who refuse a breath or urine test for boating under the influence following a previous BUI or DUI.

* Minimizes potential vessel accidents in the Intracoastal Waterway by limiting access of human powered vessels.

* Ensures that people renting any type of boat are educated about boating safety and requirements.

* Further limits anchoring and mooring around marinas, public vessel launching or loading facilities and yacht repair facilities.

Read SB 1086 here –

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