Florida Senate - 2021 SB 1562
By Senator Gruters
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
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
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.
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
127 Section 8. This act shall take effect July 1, 2021.