Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 664
       By Senator Young
       18-00374C-18                                           2018664__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to the salvage of pleasure vessels;
    3         providing a directive to the Division of Law Revision
    4         and Information; creating s. 559.9601, F.S.; providing
    5         a short title; creating s. 559.9602, F.S.; providing
    6         scope and applicability; creating s. 559.9603, F.S.;
    7         providing definitions; creating s. 559.9604, F.S.;
    8         requiring salvors of pleasure vessels to provide a
    9         specified written disclosure statement and salvage
   10         work estimate; creating s. 559.9605, F.S.; requiring
   11         such salvors to obtain customer permission before
   12         exceeding the written estimate by more than a
   13         specified amount; specifying salvor responsibilities
   14         and rights to certain fees in the event that a
   15         customer cancels the order for salvage; creating s.
   16         559.9606, F.S.; requiring salvors to post specified
   17         signage on their vessels; creating s. 559.9607, F.S.;
   18         specifying violations; creating s. 559.9608, F.S.;
   19         providing remedies; specifying that such remedies are
   20         in addition to others provided by law; providing an
   21         effective date.
   23  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   25         Section 1. The Division of Law Revision and Information is
   26  directed to redesignate s. 559.951, Florida Statutes, as part
   27  XIII of chapter 559, Florida Statutes, entitled “Miscellaneous
   28  Provisions,” and create a new part XII of chapter 559, Florida
   29  Statutes, consisting of ss. 559.9601-559.9608, Florida Statutes,
   30  to be entitled “Salvage of Pleasure Vessels.”
   31         Section 2. Section 559.9601, Florida Statutes, is created
   32  to read:
   33         559.9601 Short title.—Sections 559.9601-559.9608 may be
   34  cited as the “Florida Salvage of Pleasure Vessels Act.”
   35         Section 3. Section 559.9602, Florida Statutes, is created
   36  to read:
   37         559.9602 Scope and application.—This part shall apply to
   38  all salvors operating in Florida, except:
   39         (1) Any person who performs salvage work while employed by
   40  a municipal, county, state, or federal government when carrying
   41  out the functions of that government.
   42         (2) Any person who engages solely in salvage work for:
   43         (a) Pleasure vessels that are owned, maintained, and
   44  operated exclusively by such person and for that person’s own
   45  use; or
   46         (b) For-hire pleasure vessels that are rented for periods
   47  of 30 days or less.
   48         (3) Any person who owns or operates a marina or shore-based
   49  repair facility and is in the business of repairing pleasure
   50  vessels, where the salvage work takes place exclusively at that
   51  person’s facility.
   52         (4)Any person who is in the business of repairing pleasure
   53  vessels who performs the repair work at a landside or shoreside
   54  location designated by the customer.
   55         Section 4. Section 559.9603, Florida Statutes, is created
   56  to read:
   57         559.9603 Definitions.—As used in this part, the term:
   58         (1)“Customer” means the person who requests or signs the
   59  written salvage estimate or is entitled to receive a written
   60  salvage estimate, or any other person whom the person who
   61  requests, signs, or is entitled to receive the written salvage
   62  estimate designates on the written salvage estimate as a person
   63  who may authorize salvage work.
   64         (2) “Employee” means an individual who is employed full
   65  time or part-time by a salvor and performs salvage work.
   66         (3) “Pleasure vessel” means any watercraft no more than 60
   67  feet in length which is used solely for personal pleasure,
   68  family use, or the transportation of executives, employees, and
   69  guests of the owner.
   70         (4) “Salvage work” means any assistance, services, repairs,
   71  or other efforts rendered by a salvor relating to saving,
   72  preserving, or rescuing a pleasure vessel or its passengers and
   73  crew which are in marine peril. Salvage work does not include
   74  towing a pleasure vessel.
   75         (5) “Salvor” means a person in the business of voluntarily
   76  providing assistance, services, repairs, or other efforts
   77  relating to saving, preserving, or rescuing a pleasure vessel or
   78  the vessel’s passengers and crew which are in marine peril, in
   79  exchange for compensation.
   80         Section 5. Section 559.9604, Florida Statutes, is created
   81  to read:
   82         559.9604 Written disclosure statement and salvage work
   83  estimate.—
   84         (1) If the cost of salvage work may exceed $500 and the
   85  customer is present on the vessel, the salvor must present to
   86  the customer a written notice conspicuously disclosing in a
   87  separate, blocked section only the following statement, in
   88  capital letters of at least 12-point type:
   91  SIGN:
   95         .... I REQUEST A WRITTEN ESTIMATE.
  103  SIGNED ............                                    DATE ....
  105         (2) When a customer requests an estimate for the cost of
  106  salvage work any time before or during the rendering of any
  107  salvage work by a salvor, the salvor shall prepare a written
  108  estimate for the costs of its services, in a form stating the
  109  estimated cost of salvage work, including the cost of any
  110  inspections or diagnostic work. The written salvage estimate
  111  must also include the following items:
  112         (a) The name, address, and telephone number of the salvor’s
  113  business.
  114         (b) The name, address, and telephone number of the
  115  customer.
  116         (c) The date and time of the written salvage estimate.
  117         (d) A general description of the pleasure vessel.
  118         (e) A general description of the customer’s problem or
  119  request for repair work or service relating to the pleasure
  120  vessel.
  121         (f) A statement as to the basis on which the customer is
  122  being charged, such as a flat rate, an hourly rate, or both.
  123         (g) The estimated cost of the salvage work. If the salvor
  124  does not possess sufficient information concerning the source,
  125  cause, or nature of the marine peril to formulate an estimate
  126  for the salvage work, the salvor must provide the customer an
  127  estimate for the effort required to determine the source, cause,
  128  or nature of the marine peril in accordance with this section.
  129  At such time that the salvor has sufficient information to
  130  provide an estimate for the cost of the salvage work, the salvor
  131  shall provide that estimate according to this section.
  132         (h) A statement indicating the daily charge for storing the
  133  customer’s pleasure vessel if it is to be towed or otherwise
  134  transported to a different location than where the salvor
  135  performs the salvage work.
  136         (i)A cancellation fee, as determined by the salvor, in the
  137  event a customer cancels the order for services in accordance
  138  with s. 559.9605(1).
  139         (3) A copy of the disclosure statement required by
  140  subsection (1) and, if requested, the written salvage estimate
  141  required by subsection (2) must be given to the customer before
  142  salvage work begins. The disclosure statement may be provided on
  143  the same form as the written estimate.
  144         (4) This section may not be construed to require a salvor
  145  to give a written estimated price if the salvor does not agree
  146  to provide any assistance, service, repairs, or other effort to
  147  a potential customer.
  148         (5)A customer may cancel the salvage work at any time.
  149         Section 6. Section 559.9605, Florida Statutes, is created
  150  to read:
  151         559.9605 Notification of charges in excess of salvage
  152  estimate; unlawful charges.—
  153         (1) If a determination is made by a salvor that the actual
  154  charges for the assistance, service, or repair work will exceed
  155  the written estimate by more than 20 percent, the customer must
  156  be promptly verbally notified of the additional estimated
  157  charge. A customer so notified may, orally or in writing,
  158  authorize, modify, or cancel the order for salvage. Except as
  159  specified in this section, the salvor may only continue work on
  160  the pleasure vessel upon authorization from the customer and
  161  work must continue only within the scope the customer
  162  authorized.
  163         (2) If a customer cancels the order for salvage after being
  164  advised that salvage work which she or he has authorized cannot
  165  be accomplished within the previously authorized estimate, the
  166  salvor must expeditiously place the pleasure vessel back into a
  167  condition reasonably similar to the condition in which it was
  168  received unless:
  169         (a) The customer waives that effort; or
  170         (b) To do so would be unsafe.
  172  After cancellation of the salvor’s service, the salvor may
  173  charge for salvage work provided up to the point of
  174  cancellation, but the salvor’s charge may not exceed the
  175  cancellation fee agreed to by the salvor pursuant to s.
  176  559.9604(2)(i). The salvor may only charge for any work
  177  undertaken on the agreed-upon basis.
  178         Section 7. Section 559.9606, Florida Statutes, is created
  179  to read:
  180         559.9606 Required disclosure; signs; notice to customers.
  181  All vessels used by salvors in connection with performing
  182  salvage work shall have signs posted in a manner conspicuous to
  183  customers and potential customers and that can be read from
  184  customers’ and potential customers’ pleasure vessels. Those
  185  signs must inform customers and potential customers that the
  186  salvors are professional salvors that charge for their services
  187  and that customers and potential customers have a right to a
  188  written estimate for the services offered.
  189         Section 8. Section 559.9607, Florida Statutes, is created
  190  to read:
  191         559.9607 Unlawful acts and practices.—It is a violation of
  192  this act for a salvor or its employees to:
  193         (1) Provide or charge for services that have not been
  194  expressly or implicitly authorized by the customer when the
  195  customer is present on the pleasure vessel.
  196         (2) Misrepresent that a pleasure vessel being inspected is
  197  in a dangerous condition or that the customer’s continued use of
  198  the pleasure vessel may be hazardous to the customer or cause
  199  great damage to, or loss of, the vessel.
  200         (3) Fraudulently alter any customer contract, estimate,
  201  invoice, or other document.
  202         (4) Fraudulently misuse any customer’s credit card.
  203         (5) Make or authorize in any manner or by any means
  204  whatsoever any written or oral statement which is untrue,
  205  deceptive, or misleading, and which is known, or which by the
  206  exercise of reasonable care the salvor should know, to be
  207  untrue, deceptive, or misleading.
  208         (6) Make false statements of a character likely to
  209  influence, persuade, or induce a customer to authorize salvage
  210  work for a pleasure vessel.
  211         (7)Require that any customer waive her or his rights
  212  provided in this part as a precondition to performing salvage
  213  work.
  214         (8) Charge a customer more than 20 percent over the written
  215  estimate provided to the customer pursuant to s. 559.9604,
  216  unless the salvor has obtained authorization to exceed the
  217  written estimate in accordance with s. 559.9605(1).
  218         (9) Perform any other act that violates this part or that
  219  constitutes fraud or misrepresentation.
  220         Section 9. Section 559.9608, Florida Statutes, is created
  221  to read:
  222         559.9608 Remedies.—
  223         (1) Any customer injured by a violation of this part may
  224  bring an action in the appropriate court for relief. A customer
  225  who prevails in such an action shall be entitled to damages in
  226  the amount of three times that charged by the salvor, plus
  227  actual damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney fees. The
  228  customer may also bring an action for injunctive relief in the
  229  circuit court.
  230         (2) The remedies provided for in this section shall be in
  231  addition to any other remedy provided by law.
  232         Section 10. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.