Florida Senate - 2018 CS for CS for CS for SB 664 By the Committees on Rules; Transportation; and Commerce and Tourism; and Senators Young, Steube, and Perry 595-03549-18 2018664c3 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the salvage of pleasure vessels; 3 creating s. 559.9602, F.S.; providing applicability; 4 providing definitions; requiring salvors of pleasure 5 vessels to provide specified written notice to a 6 customer who is present on a pleasure vessel before 7 engaging in a salvage operation of the vessel; 8 providing an exception; providing a cause of action 9 and remedies; specifying that such remedies are in 10 addition to others provided by law; providing an 11 effective date. 12 13 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 14 15 Section 1. Section 559.9602, Florida Statutes, is created 16 to read: 17 559.9602 Salvage of pleasure vessels.— 18 (1) This section applies to all salvors operating within 19 the waters of this state, as defined in s. 327.02(47), except: 20 (a) Any person who performs salvage work while employed by 21 a municipal, county, state, or federal government when carrying 22 out the functions of that government. 23 (b) Any person who engages solely in salvage work for: 24 1. Pleasure vessels that are owned, maintained, and 25 operated exclusively by such person and for that person’s own 26 use; or 27 2. For-hire pleasure vessels that are rented for periods of 28 30 days or less. 29 (c) Any person who owns or operates a marina or shore-based 30 repair facility and is in the business of repairing pleasure 31 vessels, where the salvage work takes place exclusively at that 32 person’s facility. 33 (d) Any person who is in the business of repairing pleasure 34 vessels who performs the repair work at a landside or shoreside 35 location designated by the customer. 36 (e) Any person who is in the business of recovering, 37 storing, or selling pleasure vessels on behalf of insurance 38 companies that insure the vessels. 39 (2) As used in this section, the term: 40 (a) “Customer” means the owner of the pleasure vessel or 41 the person who has been given the authority by the owner to 42 authorize salvage work of the pleasure vessel. 43 (b) “Pleasure vessel” means any watercraft no more than 60 44 feet in length which is used solely for personal pleasure, 45 family use, or the transportation of executives, persons under 46 the employment, and guests of the owner. 47 (c) “Salvage work” means any assistance, services, repairs, 48 or other efforts rendered by a salvor relating to saving, 49 preserving, or rescuing a pleasure vessel or its passengers and 50 crew which are in marine peril. Salvage work does not include 51 towing a pleasure vessel. 52 (d) “Salvor” means a person in the business of voluntarily 53 providing assistance, services, repairs, or other efforts 54 relating to saving, preserving, or rescuing a pleasure vessel or 55 the vessel’s passengers and crew which are in marine peril, in 56 exchange for compensation. 57 (3)(a) If the customer is present on the pleasure vessel, 58 before a salvor may engage in the salvage operation of a 59 pleasure vessel, the salvor must provide the customer with 60 written notice that the service offered is not covered by any 61 towing contract. The written notice must include the following 62 statement, in capital letters of at least 12-point type, and 63 must be signed by the customer: 64 65 THE SERVICE OFFERED BY THE SALVOR IS CONSIDERED SALVAGE WORK AND 66 IS NOT COVERED BY ANY TOWING SERVICE CONTRACT. SALVAGE WORK 67 ALLOWS THE SALVOR TO PRESENT YOU OR YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY WITH 68 A BILL FOR THE CHARGES AT A LATER DATE. THE SALVOR SHALL 69 CALCULATE THE CHARGES ACCORDING TO FEDERAL SALVAGE LAW AND SUCH 70 CHARGES MAY EXCEED A CHARGE BASED ON A TIME AND MATERIALS 71 CALCULATION. THE CHARGES COULD AMOUNT TO AS MUCH AS THE ENTIRE 72 VALUE OF YOUR VESSEL, INCLUDING ITS GEAR AND EQUIPMENT. 73 74 IF YOU AGREE TO ALLOW THE SALVOR TO PERFORM THE OFFERED WORK 75 WITHOUT AN AGREEMENT FOR A FIXED CHARGE FOR THE SALVAGE, YOUR 76 ONLY RECOURSE TO CHALLENGE THE ASSESSED CHARGES IS BY A LAWSUIT 77 IN FEDERAL COURT OR, IF YOU AND THE SALVOR AGREE IN WRITING, BY 78 BINDING ARBITRATION. 79 80 YOU MAY AGREE TO A FIXED CHARGE FOR THE SALVAGE WITH THE SALVOR 81 BEFORE WORK BEGINS, AND THE AGREED CHARGE SHALL BE DOCUMENTED ON 82 THE U.S. OPEN FORM SALVAGE AGREEMENT OR OTHER SUCH SALVAGE 83 CONTRACT SIGNED BY YOU AND THE SALVOR. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO 84 REJECT THE SALVOR’S OFFER OF SERVICES IF THE SALVOR WILL NOT 85 AGREE TO A FIXED CHARGE BEFORE BEGINNING WORK. 86 87 CUSTOMER SIGNATURE:...(Signature of customer)... 88 89 DATE:...(Date signed by customer)... TIME:...(Time signed by 90 customer)... 91 92 (b) The salvor is relieved of providing the written notice 93 required by this subsection if there is an imminent threat of 94 injury or death to any person on board the pleasure vessel. The 95 salvor must provide the written notice required by this 96 subsection when there is no longer an imminent threat of injury 97 or death to any person on board the pleasure vessel. 98 (4)(a) If a written notice is not provided before a salvage 99 operation as required by this section, the owner of a pleasure 100 vessel may bring an action in the appropriate court of competent 101 jurisdiction. An owner who prevails in such an action is 102 entitled to damages equal to 1.5 times the amount paid or 103 awarded to the salvor, plus court costs and reasonable attorney 104 fees. 105 (b) The remedies provided for in this subsection shall be 106 in addition to any other remedy provided by law. 107 Section 2. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.