Florida Senate - 2021                                    SB 1562
       By Senator Gruters
       23-01256-21                                           20211562__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to motorboat engine cutoff switches;
    3         providing a short title; amending s. 327.02, F.S.;
    4         defining terms; amending s. 327.50, F.S.; requiring
    5         the use of an engine cutoff switch when operating
    6         certain motorboats that are making way; providing
    7         applicability; providing penalties; amending s.
    8         327.391, F.S.; conforming a cross-reference; amending
    9         s. 327.73, F.S.; conforming provisions to changes made
   10         by the act; reenacting s. 327.54(1)(c), F.S., relating
   11         to liveries and safety regulations, to incorporate the
   12         amendment made to s. 327.50, F.S., in a reference
   13         thereto; reenacting s. 327.731(1), F.S., relating to
   14         mandatory education for violators, to incorporate the
   15         amendment made to s. 327.73, F.S., in a reference
   16         thereto; providing an effective date.
   18  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   20         Section 1. This act may be cited as “Ethan’s Law.”
   21         Section 2. Present subsections (14) through (23), (24)
   22  through (44), and (45), (46), and (47) of section 327.02,
   23  Florida Statutes, are redesignated as subsections (15) through
   24  (24), (26) through (46), and (48), (49), and (50), respectively,
   25  and new subsections (14), (25), and (47) are added to that
   26  section, to read:
   27         327.02 Definitions.—As used in this chapter and in chapter
   28  328, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning,
   29  the term:
   30         (14) “Engine cutoff switch” means an emergency switch
   31  installed on a vessel or motor which is designed to immediately
   32  shut off the engine if the vessel operator falls overboard,
   33  whether triggered by a physical attachment such as a lanyard or
   34  wirelessly through electronic means.
   35         (25)“Making way” means that a vessel is being propelled
   36  through the water by engaging the use of an equipped sail or
   37  mechanical machinery.
   38         (47)“Trolling motor” means a self-contained unit that
   39  contains an electric motor, a propeller, and controls which
   40  affixes to a vessel’s bow or stern and which is used to move the
   41  vessel.
   42         Section 3. Subsection (4) is added to section 327.50,
   43  Florida Statutes, to read:
   44         327.50 Vessel safety regulations; equipment and lighting
   45  requirements.—
   46         (4)A person operating a motorboat less than 26 feet in
   47  length upon the waters of this state shall use an engine cutoff
   48  switch while the vessel is making way. This subsection does not
   49  apply to motorboats making way solely by the use of a trolling
   50  motor or to vessels with a main helm installed within an
   51  enclosed cabin. If a person violates this subsection and:
   52         (a)Does not cause a boating accident as defined in s.
   53  327.02, the person commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable
   54  as provided in s. 327.73.
   55         (b)Causes damage to the property of another or causes
   56  injury to another less severe than serious bodily injury as
   57  defined in s. 327.353, the person commits a misdemeanor of the
   58  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
   59  775.083.
   60         (c)Causes serious bodily injury to another as defined in
   61  s. 327.353, the person commits a misdemeanor of the first
   62  degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
   63         (d)Causes death, the person commits vessel homicide as
   64  defined in s. 782.072, punishable as provided in s. 782.072.
   65         Section 4. Subsection (1) of section 327.391, Florida
   66  Statutes, is amended to read:
   67         327.391 Airboats regulated.—
   68         (1) The exhaust of every internal combustion engine used on
   69  any airboat operated on the waters of this state shall be
   70  provided with an automotive-style factory muffler, underwater
   71  exhaust, or other manufactured device capable of adequately
   72  muffling the sound of the exhaust of the engine as described in
   73  s. 327.02(32) s. 327.02(30). The use of cutouts or flex pipe as
   74  the sole source of muffling is prohibited, except as provided in
   75  subsection (4). Any person who violates this subsection commits
   76  a noncriminal infraction punishable as provided in s. 327.73(1).
   77         Section 5. Paragraph (m) of subsection (1) of section
   78  327.73, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   79         327.73 Noncriminal infractions.—
   80         (1) Violations of the following provisions of the vessel
   81  laws of this state are noncriminal infractions:
   82         (m) Section 327.50(1), and (2), and (4)(a), relating to
   83  required safety equipment, lights, and shapes.
   85  Any person cited for a violation of any provision of this
   86  subsection shall be deemed to be charged with a noncriminal
   87  infraction, shall be cited for such an infraction, and shall be
   88  cited to appear before the county court. The civil penalty for
   89  any such infraction is $50, except as otherwise provided in this
   90  section. Any person who fails to appear or otherwise properly
   91  respond to a uniform boating citation shall, in addition to the
   92  charge relating to the violation of the boating laws of this
   93  state, be charged with the offense of failing to respond to such
   94  citation and, upon conviction, be guilty of a misdemeanor of the
   95  second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s.
   96  775.083. A written warning to this effect shall be provided at
   97  the time such uniform boating citation is issued.
   98         Section 6. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
   99  made by this act to section 327.50, Florida Statutes, in a
  100  reference thereto, paragraph (c) of subsection (1) of section
  101  327.54, Florida Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  102         327.54 Liveries; safety regulations; penalty.—
  103         (1) A livery may not knowingly lease, hire, or rent a
  104  vessel to any person:
  105         (c) When the vessel does not contain the required safety
  106  equipment required under s. 327.50.
  107         Section 7. For the purpose of incorporating the amendment
  108  made by this act to section 327.73, Florida Statutes, in a
  109  reference thereto, subsection (1) of section 327.731, Florida
  110  Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  111         327.731 Mandatory education for violators.—
  112         (1) A person convicted of a criminal violation under this
  113  chapter, convicted of a noncriminal infraction under this
  114  chapter if the infraction resulted in a reportable boating
  115  accident, or convicted of two noncriminal infractions as
  116  specified in s. 327.73(1)(h)-(k), (m), (o), (p), and (s)-(y),
  117  said infractions occurring within a 12-month period, must:
  118         (a) Enroll in, attend, and successfully complete, at his or
  119  her own expense, a classroom or online boating safety course
  120  that is approved by and meets the minimum standards established
  121  by commission rule;
  122         (b) File with the commission within 90 days proof of
  123  successful completion of the course; and
  124         (c) Refrain from operating a vessel until he or she has
  125  filed proof of successful completion of the course with the
  126  commission.
  127         Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.