Online Sunshine Logo
Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislature
September 20, 2019
Text: 'NEW Advanced Legislative Search'
Interpreter Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Go to MyFlorida House
Select Year:  
The Florida Statutes

The 2019 Florida Statutes

Title XXIV
VESSELS
Chapter 328
VESSELS: TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS; REGISTRATION
View Entire Chapter
CHAPTER 328
CHAPTER 328
VESSELS: TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS; REGISTRATION
PART I
VESSELS; TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS
(ss. 328.001-328.38)
PART II
VESSEL REGISTRATION
(ss. 328.40-328.80)
PART I
VESSELS; TITLE CERTIFICATES; LIENS
328.001 Short title.
328.0015 Definitions.
328.01 Application for certificate of title.
328.015 Duties and operation of the department.
328.02 Law governing vessel covered by certificate of title.
328.03 Certificate of title required.
328.04 Content of certificate of title.
328.045 Title brands.
328.05 Crimes relating to certificates of title to, or other indicia of ownership of, vessels; penalties.
328.055 Maintenance of and access to files.
328.06 Action required on creation of certificate of title.
328.065 Effect of possession of certificate of title; judicial process.
328.07 Hull identification number required.
328.09 Refusal to issue and authority to cancel a certificate of title or registration.
328.101 Effect of missing or incorrect information.
328.11 Duplicate certificate of title.
328.12 Perfection of security interest.
328.125 Termination statement.
328.13 Manufacturer’s statement of origin to be furnished.
328.14 Rights of purchaser other than secured party.
328.145 Rights of secured party.
328.15 Notice of lien on vessel; recording.
328.16 Issuance in duplicate; delivery; liens and encumbrances.
328.165 Cancellation of certificates.
328.17 Nonjudicial sale of vessels.
328.18 Power to conduct investigations.
328.19 Penalty.
328.195 Legislative intent.
328.20 Disposition of fees.
328.21 Transfer without delivery of certificate; operation or use without certificate; failure to surrender; other violations.
328.215 Application for transfer of ownership or termination of security interest without certificate of title.
328.22 Transfer of ownership.
328.23 Transfer of ownership by secured party’s transfer statement.
328.24 Transfer by operation of law.
328.25 Supplemental principles of law and equity.
328.30 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.
328.35 Rulemaking.
328.37 Validity of rights, duties, and interests flowing from law prior to ch. 2019-76.
328.38 Applicability.
1328.001 Short title.This part may be cited as the “Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act.”
History.s. 1, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.0015 Definitions.
(1) As used in this part, the term:
(a) “Barge” means a vessel that is not self-propelled or fitted for propulsion by sail, paddle, oar, or similar device.
(b) “Builder’s certificate” means a certificate of the facts of build of a vessel described in 46 C.F.R. s. 67.99.
(c) “Buyer” means a person who buys or contracts to buy a vessel.
(d) “Cancel,” with respect to a certificate of title, means to make the certificate ineffective.
(e) “Certificate of origin” means a record created by a manufacturer or importer as the manufacturer’s or importer’s proof of identity of a vessel. The term includes a manufacturer’s certificate or statement of origin and an importer’s certificate or statement of origin. The term does not include a builder’s certificate.
(f) “Certificate of title” means a record, created by the department or by a governmental agency of another jurisdiction under the law of that jurisdiction, that is designated as a certificate of title by the department or agency and is evidence of ownership of a vessel.
(g) “Dealer” means a person, including a manufacturer, in the business of selling vessels.
(h) “Department” means the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(i) “Documented vessel” means a vessel covered by a certificate of documentation issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. s. 12105. The term does not include a foreign-documented vessel.
(j) “Electronic” means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.
(k) “Electronic certificate of title” means a certificate of title consisting of information that is stored solely in an electronic medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
(l) “Foreign-documented vessel” means a vessel the ownership of which is recorded in a registry maintained by a country other than the United States which identifies each person who has an ownership interest in a vessel and includes a unique alphanumeric designation for the vessel.
(m) “Good faith” means honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing.
(n) “Hull damaged” means compromised with respect to the integrity of a vessel’s hull by a collision, allision, lightning strike, fire, explosion, running aground, or similar occurrence, or the sinking of a vessel in a manner that creates a significant risk to the integrity of the vessel’s hull.
(o) “Hull identification number” means the alphanumeric designation assigned to a vessel pursuant to 33 C.F.R. part 181.
(p) “Lien creditor,” with respect to a vessel, means:
1. A creditor that has acquired a lien on the vessel by attachment, levy, or the like;
2. An assignee for benefit of creditors from the time of assignment;
3. A trustee in bankruptcy from the date of the filing of the petition; or
4. A receiver in equity from the time of appointment.
(q) “Owner” means a person who has legal title to a vessel.
(r) “Owner of record” means the owner indicated in the files of the department or, if the files indicate more than one owner, the one first indicated.
(s) “Person” means an individual, corporation, business trust, estate, trust, statutory trust, partnership, limited liability company, association, joint venture, public corporation, government or governmental subdivision, agency, or instrumentality, or any other legal or commercial entity.
(t) “Purchase” means to take by sale, lease, mortgage, pledge, consensual lien, security interest, gift, or any other voluntary transaction that creates an interest in a vessel.
(u) “Purchaser” means a person who takes by purchase.
(v) “Record” means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
(w) “Secured party,” with respect to a vessel, means a person:
1. In whose favor a security interest is created or provided for under a security agreement, regardless of whether any obligation to be secured is outstanding;
2. Who is a consignor as defined under chapter 679; or
3. Who holds a security interest arising under s. 672.401, s. 672.505, s. 672.711(3), or s. 680.508(5).
(x) “Secured party of record” means the secured party whose name is indicated as the name of the secured party in the files of the department or, if the files indicate more than one secured party, the one first indicated.
(y) “Security interest” means an interest in a vessel which secures payment or performance of an obligation if the interest is created by contract or arises under s. 672.401, s. 672.505, s. 672.711(3), or s. 680.508(5). The term includes any interest of a consignor in a vessel in a transaction that is subject to chapter 679. The term does not include the special property interest of a buyer of a vessel on identification of that vessel to a contract for sale under s. 672.501, but a buyer also may acquire a security interest by complying with chapter 679. Except as otherwise provided in s. 672.505, the right of a seller or lessor of a vessel under chapter 672 or chapter 680 to retain or acquire possession of the vessel is not a security interest, but a seller or lessor also may acquire a security interest by complying with chapter 679. The retention or reservation of title by a seller of a vessel notwithstanding shipment or delivery to the buyer under s. 672.401 is limited in effect to a reservation of a security interest. Whether a transaction in the form of a lease creates a security interest is determined as provided in part II of chapter 671.
(z) “Sign” means, with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record, to:
1. Make or adopt a tangible symbol; or
2. Attach to or logically associate with the record an electronic symbol, sound, or process.
(aa) “State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
(bb) “State of principal use” means the state on the waters of which a vessel is or will be used, operated, navigated, or employed more than on the waters of any other state during a calendar year.
(cc) “Title brand” means a designation of previous damage, use, or condition that must be indicated on a certificate of title.
(dd) “Transfer of ownership” means a voluntary or involuntary conveyance of an interest in a vessel.
(ee) “Vessel” means a watercraft used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on water, except:
1. A seaplane;
2. An amphibious vehicle for which a certificate of title is issued pursuant to chapter 319 or a similar statute of another state;
3. Non-motor-powered watercraft less than 16 feet in length;
4. Watercraft that operate only on a permanently fixed, manufactured course and the movement of which is restricted to or guided by means of a mechanical device to which the watercraft is attached or by which the watercraft is controlled;
5. A stationary floating structure that:
a. Does not have and is not designed to have a mode of propulsion of its own;
b. Is dependent for utilities upon a continuous utility hookup to a source originating on shore; and
c. Has a permanent, continuous hookup to a shoreside sewage system;
6. Watercraft owned by the United States, a state, or a foreign government or a political subdivision of any of them; and
7. Watercraft used solely as a lifeboat on another watercraft.
(ff) “Vessel number” means the alphanumeric designation for a vessel issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. s. 12301.
(gg) “Written certificate of title” means a certificate of title consisting of information inscribed on a tangible medium.
(2) The following definitions and terms also apply to this part:
(a) “Agreement” as defined in s. 671.201(3).
(b) “Buyer in ordinary course of business” as defined in s. 671.201(9).
(c) “Conspicuous” as defined in s. 671.201(10).
(d) “Consumer goods” as defined in s. 679.1021(1)(w).
(e) “Debtor” as defined in s. 679.1021(1)(bb).
(f) “Knowledge” as defined in s. 671.209.
(g) “Lease” as defined in s. 680.1031(1)(j).
(h) “Lessor” as defined in s. 680.1031(1)(p).
(i) “Notice” as defined s. 671.209.
(j) “Representative” as defined in s. 671.201(36).
(k) “Sale” as defined in s. 672.106(1).
(l) “Security agreement” as defined in s. 679.1021(1)(uuu).
(m) “Seller” as defined in s. 672.103(1)(d).
(n) “Send” as defined in s. 671.201(39).
(o) “Value” as defined in s. 671.211.
History.s. 2, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.01 Application for certificate of title.
(1)(a) The owner of a vessel which is required to be titled shall apply to the county tax collector for a certificate of title. The application shall include the true name of the owner, the residence or business address of the owner, and the complete description of the vessel, including the hull identification number, except that an application for a certificate of title for a homemade vessel shall state all the foregoing information except the hull identification number. The application shall be signed by the owner and shall be accompanied by personal or business identification and the prescribed fee. An individual applicant must provide a valid driver license or identification card issued by this state or another state or a valid passport. A business applicant must provide a federal employer identification number, if applicable, verification that the business is authorized to conduct business in the state, or a Florida city or county business license or number.
(b) The owner of an undocumented vessel that is exempt from titling may apply to the county tax collector for a certificate of title by filing an application accompanied by the prescribed fee.
(2)(a) The owner of a manufactured vessel that was initially sold in this state for which vessel an application for an initial title is made shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application the original copy of the manufacturer’s statement of origin for that vessel.
(b) The owner of a manufactured vessel that was initially sold in another state or country for which vessel an application for an initial title is made shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application:
1. The original copy of the manufacturer’s statement of origin if the vessel was initially sold or manufactured in a state or country requiring the issuance of such a statement or the original copy of the executed bill of sale if the vessel was initially sold or manufactured in a state or country not requiring the issuance of a manufacturer’s statement of origin; and
2. The most recent certificate of registration for the vessel, if such a certificate was issued.
(c) In making application for an initial title, the owner of a homemade vessel shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application:
1. A notarized statement of the builder or its equivalent, whichever is acceptable to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, if the vessel is less than 16 feet in length; or
2. A certificate of inspection from the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and a notarized statement of the builder or its equivalent, whichever is acceptable to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, if the vessel is 16 feet or more in length.
(d) The owner of a nontitled vessel registered or previously registered in another state or country for which an application for title is made in this state shall establish proof of ownership by surrendering, with the submission of the application, the original copy of the most current certificate of registration issued by the other state or country.
(e) The owner of a vessel titled in another state or country for which an application for title is made in this state shall not be issued a title unless and until all existing titles to the vessel are surrendered to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The department shall retain the evidence of title which is presented by the applicant and on the basis of which the certificate of title is issued. The department shall use reasonable diligence in ascertaining whether the facts in the application are true; and, if satisfied that the applicant is the owner of the vessel and that the application is in the proper form, the department shall issue a certificate of title.
(f) In making application for the titling of a vessel previously documented by the Federal Government, the current owner shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application a copy of the canceled documentation papers or a properly executed release-from-documentation certificate provided by the United States Coast Guard. In the event such documentation papers or certification are in the name of a person other than the current owner, the current owner shall provide the original copy of all subsequently executed bills of sale applicable to the vessel.
(3)(a) In making application for a title upon transfer of ownership of a vessel, the new owner shall surrender to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles the last title document issued for that vessel. The document shall be properly executed. Proper execution includes, but is not limited to, the previous owner’s signature and certification that the vessel to be transferred is debt-free or is subject to a lien. If a lien exists, the previous owner shall furnish the new owner, on forms supplied by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the names and addresses of all lienholders and the dates of all liens, together with a statement from each lienholder that the lienholder has knowledge of and consents to the transfer of title to the new owner.
(b) If the application for transfer of title is based upon a contractual default, the recorded lienholder shall establish proof of right to ownership by submitting with the application the original certificate of title and a copy of the applicable contract upon which the claim of ownership is made. If the claim is based upon a court order or judgment, a copy of such document shall accompany the application for transfer of title. If, on the basis of departmental records, there appears to be any other lien on the vessel, the certificate of title must contain a statement of such a lien, unless the application for a certificate of title is either accompanied by proper evidence of the satisfaction or extinction of the lien or contains a statement certifying that any lienholder named on the last-issued certificate of title has been sent notice by certified mail, at least 5 days before the application was filed, of the applicant’s intention to seek a repossessed title. If such notice is given and no written protest to the department is presented by a subsequent lienholder within 15 days after the date on which the notice was mailed, the certificate of title shall be issued showing no liens. If the former owner or any subsequent lienholder files a written protest under oath within the 15-day period, the department shall not issue the repossessed certificate for 10 days thereafter. If, within the 10-day period, no injunction or other order of a court of competent jurisdiction has been served on the department commanding it not to deliver the certificate, the department shall deliver the repossessed certificate to the applicant, or as is otherwise directed in the application, showing no other liens than those shown in the application.
(c) In making application for transfer of title from a deceased titled owner, the new owner or surviving co-owner shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application the original certificate of title and the decedent’s probated last will and testament or letters of administration appointing the personal representative of the decedent. In lieu of a probated last will and testament or letters of administration, a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, a copy of the decedent’s last will and testament, and an affidavit by the decedent’s surviving spouse or heirs affirming rights of ownership may be accepted by the department. If the decedent died intestate, a court order awarding the ownership of the vessel or an affidavit by the decedent’s surviving spouse or heirs establishing or releasing all rights of ownership and a copy of the decedent’s death certificate shall be submitted to the department. If the new owner or surviving co-owner does not present a copy of the death certificate, the department or its agent may verify the necessary information through the electronic file of death records maintained by the Department of Health.
(d) An owner or co-owner who has made a bona fide sale or transfer of a vessel and has delivered possession thereof to a purchaser shall not, by reason of any of the provisions of this chapter, be considered the owner or co-owner of the vessel so as to be subject to civil liability for the operation of the vessel thereafter by another if the owner or co-owner has fulfilled either of the following requirements:
1. The owner or co-owner has delivered to the department, or has placed in the United States mail, addressed to the department, either the certificate of title, properly endorsed, or a notice in the form prescribed by the department; or
2. The owner or co-owner has made proper endorsement and delivery of the certificate of title as provided by this chapter. As used in this subparagraph, the term “proper endorsement” means:
a. The signature of one co-owner if the vessel is held in joint tenancy, signified by the vessel’s being registered in the names of two or more persons as co-owners in the alternative by the use of the word “or.” In a joint tenancy, each co-owner is considered to have granted to each of the other co-owners the absolute right to dispose of the title and interest in the vessel, and, upon the death of a co-owner, the interest of the decedent in the jointly held vessel passes to the surviving co-owner or co-owners. This sub-subparagraph is applicable even if the co-owners are husband and wife; or
b. The signatures of every co-owner or of the respective personal representatives of the co-owners if the vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as co-owners in the conjunctive by the use of the word “and.”

The department shall adopt suitable language that must appear upon the certificate of title to effectuate the manner in which the interest in or title to the vessel is held.

(4) If the owner cannot furnish the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with all the required ownership documentation, the department may, at its discretion, issue a title conditioned on the owner’s agreement to indemnify the department and its agents and defend the title against all claims or actions arising out of such issuance.
(5)(a) An application for an initial title or a title transfer shall include payment of the applicable state sales tax or proof of payment of such tax.
(b) An application for a title transfer between individuals, which transfer is not exempt from the payment of sales tax, shall include payment of the appropriate sales tax payable on the selling price for the complete vessel rig, which includes the vessel and its motor, trailer, and accessories, if any. If the applicant submits with his or her application an itemized, properly executed bill of sale which separately describes and itemizes the prices paid for each component of the rig, only the vessel and trailer will be subject to the sales tax.
(6) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall prescribe and provide suitable forms for applications, certificates of title, notices of security interests, and other notices and forms necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 11, ch. 74-327; s. 4, ch. 80-266; s. 12, ch. 81-100; s. 11, ch. 84-184; s. 12, ch. 85-81; s. 159, ch. 94-356; s. 956, ch. 95-148; s. 57, ch. 95-333; s. 61, ch. 96-413; s. 37, ch. 99-245; s. 58, ch. 99-248; s. 70, ch. 2013-160; s. 6, ch. 2019-66; s. 3, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Section 3, ch. 2019-76, amended s. 328.01, effective July 1, 2023. As amended by s. 6, ch. 2019-66, and s. 3, ch. 2019-76, effective July 1, 2023, s. 328.01 will read:

328.01 Application for certificate of title.

(1) The owner of a vessel which is required to be titled shall apply to the county tax collector for a certificate of title. Except as otherwise provided in ss. 328.045, 328.11, 328.12, 328.215, 328.23, and 328.24, only an owner may apply for a certificate of title.

(2) An application for a certificate of title must be signed by the applicant and contain:

(a) The applicant’s name, the street address of the applicant’s principal residence, and, if different, the applicant’s mailing address;

(b) The name and mailing address of each other owner of the vessel;

(c) The hull identification number for the vessel or, if none, an application for the issuance of a hull identification number for the vessel;

(d) The vessel number for the vessel or, if none issued by the department, an application for a vessel number;

(e) A description of the vessel as required by the department, which must include:

1. The official number for the vessel, if any, assigned by the United States Coast Guard;

2. The name of the manufacturer, builder, or maker;

3. The model year or the year in which the manufacture or build of the vessel was completed;

4. The overall length of the vessel;

5. The vessel type;

6. The hull material;

7. The propulsion type;

8. The engine drive type, if any; and

9. The fuel type, if any;

(f) An indication of all security interests in the vessel known to the applicant and the name and mailing address of each secured party;

(g) A statement that the vessel is not a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel;

(h) Any title brand known to the applicant and, if known, the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created;

(i) If the applicant knows that the vessel is hull damaged, a statement that the vessel is hull damaged;

(j) If the application is made in connection with a transfer of ownership, the transferor’s name, street address, and, if different, mailing address, the sales price, if any, and the date of the transfer; and

(k) If the vessel was previously registered or titled in another jurisdiction, a statement identifying each jurisdiction known to the applicant in which the vessel was registered or titled.

(3) In addition to the information required by subsection (2), an application for a certificate of title may contain an electronic communication address of the owner, transferor, or secured party.

(4) Except as otherwise provided in s. 328.11, s. 328.215, s. 328.23, or s. 328.24, an application for a certificate of title must be accompanied by:

(a) A certificate of title signed by the owner shown on the certificate and which:

1. Identifies the applicant as the owner of the vessel; or

2. Is accompanied by a record that identifies the applicant as the owner; or

(b) If there is no certificate of title:

1. If the vessel was a documented vessel, a record issued by the United States Coast Guard which shows the vessel is no longer a documented vessel and identifies the applicant as the owner;

2. If the vessel was a foreign-documented vessel, a record issued by the foreign country which shows the vessel is no longer a foreign-documented vessel and identifies the applicant as the owner; or

3. In all other cases, a certificate of origin, bill of sale, or other record that to the satisfaction of the department identifies the applicant as the owner.

(5) A record submitted in connection with an application is part of the application. The department shall maintain the record in its files.

(6) The department may require that an application for a certificate of title be accompanied by payment or evidence of payment of all fees and taxes payable by the applicant under the laws of this state other than this part in connection with the application or the acquisition or use of the vessel.

(7)(a) The application shall be signed by the owner and shall be accompanied by personal or business identification and the prescribed fee. An individual applicant must provide a valid driver license or identification card issued by this state or another state or a valid passport. A business applicant must provide a federal employer identification number, if applicable, verification that the business is authorized to conduct business in the state, or a Florida city or county business license or number.

(b) The owner of an undocumented vessel that is exempt from titling may apply to the county tax collector for a certificate of title by filing an application accompanied by the prescribed fee.

(c) In making application for transfer of title from a deceased titled owner, the new owner or surviving co-owner shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application the original certificate of title and the decedent’s probated last will and testament or letters of administration appointing the personal representative of the decedent. In lieu of a probated last will and testament or letters of administration, a copy of the decedent’s death certificate, a copy of the decedent’s last will and testament, and an affidavit by the decedent’s surviving spouse or heirs affirming rights of ownership may be accepted by the department. If the decedent died intestate, a court order awarding the ownership of the vessel or an affidavit by the decedent’s surviving spouse or heirs establishing or releasing all rights of ownership and a copy of the decedent’s death certificate shall be submitted to the department. If the new owner or surviving co-owner does not present a copy of the death certificate, the department or its agent may verify the necessary information through the electronic file of death records maintained by the Department of Health.

(d) An owner or co-owner who has made a bona fide sale or transfer of a vessel and has delivered possession thereof to a purchaser shall not, by reason of any of the provisions of this chapter, be considered the owner or co-owner of the vessel so as to be subject to civil liability for the operation of the vessel thereafter by another if the owner or co-owner has fulfilled either of the following requirements:

1. The owner or co-owner has delivered to the department, or has placed in the United States mail, addressed to the department, either the certificate of title, properly endorsed, or a notice in the form prescribed by the department; or

2. The owner or co-owner has made proper endorsement and delivery of the certificate of title as provided by this chapter. As used in this subparagraph, the term “proper endorsement” means:

a. The signature of one co-owner if the vessel is held in joint tenancy, signified by the vessel’s being registered in the names of two or more persons as co-owners in the alternative by the use of the word “or.” In a joint tenancy, each co-owner is considered to have granted to each of the other co-owners the absolute right to dispose of the title and interest in the vessel, and, upon the death of a co-owner, the interest of the decedent in the jointly held vessel passes to the surviving co-owner or co-owners. This sub-subparagraph is applicable even if the co-owners are husband and wife; or

b. The signatures of every co-owner or of the respective personal representatives of the co-owners if the vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as co-owners in the conjunctive by the use of the word “and.”

The department shall adopt suitable language that must appear upon the certificate of title to effectuate the manner in which the interest in or title to the vessel is held.

(8) If the owner cannot furnish the department with all the required ownership documentation, the department may, at its discretion, issue a title conditioned on the owner’s agreement to indemnify the department and its agents and defend the title against all claims or actions arising out of such issuance.

(9)(a) An application for an initial title or a title transfer shall include payment of the applicable state sales tax or proof of payment of such tax.

(b) An application for a title transfer between individuals, which transfer is not exempt from the payment of sales tax, shall include payment of the appropriate sales tax payable on the selling price for the complete vessel rig, which includes the vessel and its motor, trailer, and accessories, if any. If the applicant submits with his or her application an itemized, properly executed bill of sale which separately describes and itemizes the prices paid for each component of the rig, only the vessel and trailer will be subject to the sales tax.

(10) The department shall prescribe and provide suitable forms for applications, certificates of title, notices of security interests, and other notices and forms necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

Note.Former s. 371.75.
1328.015 Duties and operation of the department.
(1) The department shall retain the evidence used to establish the accuracy of the information in its files relating to the current ownership of a vessel and the information on the certificate of title.
(2) The department shall retain in its files all information regarding a security interest in a vessel for at least 10 years after the department receives a termination statement regarding the security interest. The information must be accessible by the hull identification number for the vessel and any other methods provided by the department.
(3) If a person submits a record to the department, or submits information that is accepted by the department, and requests an acknowledgment of the filing or submission, the department shall send to the person an acknowledgment showing the hull identification number of the vessel to which the record or submission relates, the information in the filed record or submission, and the date and time the record was received or the submission was accepted. A request under this section must contain the hull identification number and be delivered by means authorized by the department.
(4) The department shall send or otherwise make available in a record the following information to any person who requests it and pays the applicable fee:
(a) Whether the files of the department indicate, as of a date and time specified by the department, but not a date earlier than 3 days before the department received the request, any certificate of title, security interest, termination statement, or title brand that relates to a vessel:
1. Identified by a hull identification number designated in the request;
2. Identified by a vessel number designated in the request; or
3. Owned by a person designated in the request;
(b) With respect to the vessel:
1. The name and address of any owner as indicated in the files of the department or on the certificate of title;
2. The name and address of any secured party as indicated in the files of the department or on the certificate, and the effective date of the information; and
3. A copy of any termination statement indicated in the files of the department and the effective date of the termination statement; and
(c) With respect to the vessel, a copy of any certificate of origin, secured party transfer statement, transfer-by-law statement under s. 328.24, and other evidence of previous or current transfers of ownership.
(5) In responding to a request under this section, the department may provide the requested information in any medium. On request, the department shall send the requested information in a record that is self-authenticating.
History.s. 4, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.02 Law governing vessel covered by certificate of title.
(1) The law of the state under which a vessel’s certificate of title is covered governs all issues relating to the certificate from the time the vessel becomes covered by the certificate until the vessel becomes covered by another certificate or becomes a documented vessel, even if no other relationship exists between the state and the vessel or its owner.
(2) A vessel becomes covered by a certificate of title when an application for the certificate and the applicable fee are delivered to the department in accordance with this part or to the governmental agency that creates a certificate in another jurisdiction in accordance with the law of that jurisdiction.
History.s. 5, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.03 Certificate of title required.
(1) Each vessel that is operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must be titled by this state pursuant to this chapter, unless it is:
(a) A vessel operated, used, or stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds;
(b) A vessel owned by the United States Government;
(c) A non-motor-powered vessel less than 16 feet in length;
(d) A federally documented vessel;
(e) A vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which was awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, if the vessel is not located in this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days;
(f) A vessel from a country other than the United States temporarily used, operated, or stored on the waters of this state for a period that is not in excess of 90 days;
(g) An amphibious vessel for which a vehicle title is issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles;
(h) A vessel used solely for demonstration, testing, or sales promotional purposes by the manufacturer or dealer; or
(i) A vessel owned and operated by the state or a political subdivision thereof.
(2) A person shall not operate, use, or store a vessel for which a certificate of title is required unless the owner has received from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles a valid certificate of title for such vessel. However, such vessel may be operated, used, or stored for a period of up to 180 days after the date of application for a certificate of title while the application is pending.
(3) A person shall not sell, assign, or transfer a vessel titled by the state without delivering to the purchaser or transferee a valid certificate of title with an assignment on it showing the transfer of title to the purchaser or transferee. A person shall not purchase or otherwise acquire a vessel required to be titled by the state without obtaining a certificate of title for the vessel in his or her name. The purchaser or transferee shall, within 30 days after a change in vessel ownership, file an application for a title transfer with the county tax collector. An additional $10 fee shall be charged against the purchaser or transferee if he or she files a title transfer application after the 30-day period. The county tax collector shall be entitled to retain $5 of the additional amount.
(4) A certificate of title is prima facie evidence of the ownership of the vessel. A certificate of title is good for the life of the vessel so long as the certificate is owned or held by the legal holder. If a titled vessel is destroyed or abandoned, the owner, with the consent of any recorded lienholders, shall, within 30 days after the destruction or abandonment, surrender to the department for cancellation any and all title documents. If a titled vessel is insured and the insurer has paid the owner for the total loss of the vessel, the insurer shall obtain the title to the vessel and, within 30 days after receiving the title, forward the title to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles for cancellation. The insurer may retain the certificate of title when payment for the loss was made because of the theft of the vessel.
(5) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall provide labeled places on the title where the seller’s price shall be indicated when a vessel is sold and where a selling dealer shall record his or her valid sales tax certificate of registration number.
(6)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall charge a fee of $5.25 for issuing each certificate of title. The tax collector shall be entitled to retain $3.75 of the fee.
(b) Beginning July 1, 1996, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall use security procedures, processes, and materials in the preparation and issuance of each certificate of title to prohibit, to the extent possible, a person’s ability to alter, counterfeit, duplicate, or modify the certificate.
(7) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall charge a fee of $4 in addition to that charged in subsection (6) for each initial certificate of title issued for a vessel previously registered outside this state.
(8) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall make regulations necessary and convenient to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 24, 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 12, ch. 74-327; ss. 7, 8, ch. 79-359; s. 52, ch. 80-274; s. 13, ch. 81-100; s. 21, ch. 83-218; s. 11, ch. 84-184; s. 3, ch. 85-108; s. 7, ch. 85-324; s. 1, ch. 87-291; s. 467, ch. 95-148; s. 58, ch. 95-333; s. 62, ch. 96-413; s. 20, ch. 2009-86; s. 6, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Section 6, ch. 2019-76, amended s. 328.03, effective July 1, 2023, to read:

328.03 Certificate of title required.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in subsections (2) and (3), each vessel that is operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must be titled by this state pursuant to this part, and the owner of a vessel for which this state is the state of principal use shall deliver to the department an application for a certificate of title for the vessel, with the applicable fee, not later than 30 days after the later of:

(a) The date of a transfer of ownership; or

(b) The date this state becomes the state of principal use.

(2) An application for a certificate of title is not required for:

(a) A documented vessel;

(b) A foreign-documented vessel;

(c) A barge;

(d) A vessel before delivery if the vessel is under construction or completed pursuant to contract;

(e) A vessel held by a dealer for sale or lease;

(f) A vessel used solely for demonstration, testing, or sales promotional purposes by the manufacturer or dealer;

(g) A vessel operated, used, or stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds;

(h) A vessel owned by the United States Government;

(i) A vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which was awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, if the vessel is not located in this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days; or

(j) A vessel from a country other than the United States temporarily used, operated, or stored on the waters of this state for a period that is not in excess of 90 days.

(3) The department may not issue, transfer, or renew a number issued to a vessel pursuant to the requirements of 46 U.S.C. s. 12301 unless the department has created a certificate of title for the vessel or an application for a certificate for the vessel and the applicable fee have been delivered to the department.

(4) An additional $10 fee shall be charged against the purchaser or transferee if he or she files a title transfer application after the 30-day period. The county tax collector shall be entitled to retain $5 of the additional amount.

(5) A certificate of title is prima facie evidence of the accuracy of the information in the record that constitutes the certificate and of the ownership of the vessel. A certificate of title is good for the life of the vessel so long as the certificate is owned or held by the legal holder. If a titled vessel is destroyed or abandoned, the owner, with the consent of any recorded lienholders, shall, within 30 days after the destruction or abandonment, surrender to the department for cancellation any and all title documents. If a titled vessel is insured and the insurer has paid the owner for the total loss of the vessel, the insurer shall obtain the title to the vessel and, within 30 days after receiving the title, forward the title to the department for cancellation. The insurer may retain the certificate of title when payment for the loss was made because of the theft of the vessel.

(6) The department shall provide labeled places on the title where the seller’s price shall be indicated when a vessel is sold and where a selling dealer shall record his or her valid sales tax certificate of registration number.

(7)(a) The department shall charge a fee of $5.25 for issuing each certificate of title. The tax collector shall be entitled to retain $3.75 of the fee.

(b) The department shall use security procedures, processes, and materials in the preparation and issuance of each certificate of title to prohibit, to the extent possible, a person’s ability to alter, counterfeit, duplicate, or modify the certificate.

(8) The department shall charge a fee of $4 in addition to that charged in subsection (7) for each initial certificate of title issued for a vessel previously registered outside this state.

(9) The department shall make regulations necessary and convenient to carry out the provisions of this chapter.

Note.Former s. 371.76.
1328.04 Content of certificate of title.
(1) A certificate of title must contain:
(a) The date the certificate was created;
(b) The name of the owner of record and, if not all owners are listed, an indication that there are additional owners indicated in the files of the department;
(c) The mailing address of the owner of record;
(d) The hull identification number;
(e) The information listed in s. 328.01(2)(e);
(f) Except as otherwise provided in s. 328.12(2), the name and mailing address of the secured party of record, if any, and if not all secured parties are listed, an indication that there are other security interests indicated in the files of the department; and
(g) All title brands indicated in the files of the department covering the vessel, including brands indicated on a certificate created by a governmental agency of another jurisdiction and delivered to the department.
(2) This part does not preclude the department from noting on a certificate of title the name and mailing address of a secured party that is not a secured party of record.
(3) For each title brand indicated on a certificate of title, the certificate must identify the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created or the jurisdiction that created the certificate on which the title brand was indicated. If the meaning of a title brand is not easily ascertainable or cannot be accommodated on the certificate, the certificate may state: “Previously branded in (insert the jurisdiction under whose law the title brand was created or whose certificate of title previously indicated the title brand).”
(4) If the files of the department indicate that a vessel was previously registered or titled in a foreign country, the department shall indicate on the certificate of title that the vessel was registered or titled in that country.
(5) A written certificate of title must contain a form that all owners indicated on the certificate may sign to evidence consent to a transfer of an ownership interest to another person. The form must include a certification, signed under penalty of perjury, that the statements made are true and correct to the best of each owner’s knowledge, information, and belief.
(6) A written certificate of title must contain a form for the owner of record to indicate, in connection with a transfer of an ownership interest, that the vessel is hull damaged.
History.s. 7, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.045 Title brands.
(1) Unless subsection (3) applies, at or before the time the owner of record transfers an ownership interest in a hull-damaged vessel that is covered by a certificate of title created by the department, if the damage occurred while that person was an owner of the vessel and the person has notice of the damage at the time of the transfer, the owner shall:
(a) Deliver to the department an application for a new certificate that complies with s. 328.01 and includes the title brand designation “Hull Damaged”; or
(b) Indicate on the certificate in the place designated for that purpose that the vessel is hull damaged and deliver the certificate to the transferee.
(2) Not later than 30 days after delivery of the application under paragraph (1)(a) or the certificate of title under paragraph (1)(b), the department shall create a new certificate that indicates that the vessel is branded “Hull Damaged.”
(3) Before an insurer transfers an ownership interest in a hull-damaged vessel that is covered by a certificate of title created by the department, the insurer shall deliver to the department an application for a new certificate that complies with s. 328.01 and includes the title brand designation “Hull Damaged.” Not later than 30 days after delivery of the application to the department, the department shall create a new certificate that indicates that the vessel is branded “Hull Damaged.”
(4) An owner of record who fails to comply with subsection (1), a person who solicits or colludes in a failure by an owner of record to comply with subsection (1), or an insurer that fails to comply with subsection (3) commits a noncriminal infraction under s. 327.73(1) for which the penalty is $5,000 for the first offense, $15,000 for a second offense, and $25,000 for each subsequent offense.
History.s. 8, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
328.05 Crimes relating to certificates of title to, or other indicia of ownership of, vessels; penalties.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to procure or attempt to procure a certificate of title or duplicate certificate of title to a vessel, or to pass or attempt to pass a certificate of title or duplicate certificate of title to a vessel or any assignment thereof, if such person knows or has reason to believe that such vessel is stolen. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(2) It is unlawful for any person, knowingly and with intent to defraud, to have in his or her possession, sell, offer to sell, counterfeit, or supply a blank, forged, fictitious, counterfeit, stolen, or fraudulently or unlawfully obtained certificate of title, duplicate certificate of title, registration, bill of sale, or other indicia of ownership of a vessel or to conspire to do any of the foregoing. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(3) It is unlawful:
(a) To alter or forge any certificate of title to a vessel or any assignment thereof or any cancellation of any lien on a vessel.
(b) To retain or use such certificate, assignment, or cancellation knowing that it has been altered or forged.
(c) To use a false or fictitious name, give a false or fictitious address, or make any false statement in any application or affidavit required under the provisions of this chapter or in a bill of sale or sworn statement of ownership or otherwise commit a fraud in any application.
(d) To knowingly obtain goods, services, credit, or money by means of an invalid, duplicate, fictitious, forged, counterfeit, stolen, or unlawfully obtained certificate of title, registration, bill of sale, or other indicia of ownership of a vessel.
(e) To knowingly obtain goods, services, credit, or money by means of a certificate of title to a vessel which certificate is required by law to be surrendered to the department.

Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. A violation of any provision of this subsection with respect to any vessel shall constitute such vessel as contraband which may be seized by a law enforcement agency, or the division, and which shall be subject to forfeiture pursuant to ss. 932.701-932.704.

(4) This section is not exclusive of any other penalties prescribed by any existing or future laws for the larceny or unauthorized taking of vessels, but is supplementary thereto.
History.s. 4, ch. 80-266; s. 11, ch. 84-184; s. 3, ch. 85-252; s. 28, ch. 87-243; s. 9, ch. 87-392; s. 468, ch. 95-148.
Note.Former s. 371.763.
1328.055 Maintenance of and access to files.
(1) For each record relating to a certificate of title submitted to the department, the department shall:
(a) Ascertain or assign the hull identification number for the vessel;
(b) Maintain the hull identification number and all the information submitted with the application pursuant to s. 328.01(2) to which the record relates, including the date and time the record was delivered to the department; and
(c) Index the files of the department as required by subsection (2).
(2) The department shall maintain in its files the information contained in all certificates of title created under this part. The information in the files of the department must be searchable by the hull identification number of the vessel, the vessel number, the name of the owner of record, and any other method used by the department.
(3) The department shall maintain in its files, for each vessel for which it has created a certificate of title, all title brands known to the department, the name of each secured party known to the department, the name of each person known to the department to be claiming an ownership interest, and all stolen property reports the department has received.
History.s. 9, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.06 Action required on creation of certificate of title.
(1) On creation of a written certificate of title, the department shall promptly send the certificate to the secured party of record or, if none, to the owner of record at the address indicated for that person in the files of the department. On creation of an electronic certificate of title, the department shall promptly send a record evidencing the certificate to the owner of record and, if there is one, to the secured party of record at the address indicated for each person in the files of the department. The department may send the record to the person’s mailing address or, if indicated in the files of the department, an electronic address.
(2) If the department creates a written certificate of title, any electronic certificate of title for the vessel is canceled and replaced by the written certificate. The department shall maintain in the files of the department the date and time of cancellation.
(3) Before the department creates an electronic certificate of title, any written certificate for the vessel must be surrendered to the department. If the department creates an electronic certificate, the department shall destroy or otherwise cancel the written certificate for the vessel which has been surrendered to the department and maintain in the files of the department the date and time of destruction or other cancellation. If a written certificate being canceled is not destroyed, the department shall indicate on the face of the certificate that it has been canceled.
History.s. 10, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.065 Effect of possession of certificate of title; judicial process.Possession of a certificate of title does not by itself provide a right to obtain possession of a vessel. Garnishment, attachment, levy, replevin, or other judicial process against the certificate is not effective to determine possessory rights to the vessel. This part does not prohibit enforcement under the laws of this state of a security interest in, levy on, or foreclosure of a statutory or common-law lien on a vessel. Absence of an indication of a statutory or common-law lien on a certificate does not invalidate the lien.
History.s. 11, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
328.07 Hull identification number required.
(1) No person shall operate, use, or store on the waters of this state a vessel the construction of which began after October 31, 1972, for which the department has issued a certificate of title or which is required by law to be registered, unless the vessel displays the assigned hull identification number affixed by the manufacturer as required by the United States Coast Guard or by the department for a homemade vessel or other vessel for which a hull identification number is not required by the United States Coast Guard. The hull identification number must be carved, burned, stamped, embossed, or otherwise permanently affixed to the outboard side of the transom or, if there is no transom, to the outermost starboard side at the end of the hull that bears the rudder or other steering mechanism, above the waterline of the vessel in such a way that alteration, removal, or replacement would be obvious and evident. The characters of the hull identification number must be no less than 12 in number and no less than one-fourth inch in height.
(2) No person shall operate, use, or store on the waters of this state a vessel the construction of which was completed before November 1, 1972, for which the department has issued a certificate of title or which is required by law to be registered, unless the vessel displays a hull identification number. The hull identification number shall be clearly imprinted in the transom or on the hull by stamping, impressing, or marking with pressure. In lieu of imprinting, the hull identification number may be displayed on a plate in a permanent manner. A vessel for which the manufacturer has provided no hull identification number or a homemade vessel shall be assigned a hull identification number by the department which shall be affixed to the vessel pursuant to this section.
(3)(a) No person, firm, association, or corporation shall destroy, remove, alter, cover, or deface the hull identification number or hull serial number, or plate bearing such number, of any vessel, except to make necessary repairs which require the removal of the hull identification number and immediately upon completion of such repairs shall reaffix the hull identification number in accordance with subsection (2).
(b) If any of the hull identification numbers required by the United States Coast Guard for a vessel manufactured after October 31, 1972, do not exist or have been altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced or the real identity of the vessel cannot be determined, the vessel may be seized as contraband property by a law enforcement agency or the division, and shall be subject to forfeiture pursuant to ss. 932.701-932.7062. Such vessel may not be sold or operated on the waters of the state unless the division receives a request from a law enforcement agency providing adequate documentation or is directed by written order of a court of competent jurisdiction to issue to the vessel a replacement hull identification number which shall thereafter be used for identification purposes. No vessel shall be forfeited under the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act when the owner unknowingly, inadvertently, or neglectfully altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced the vessel hull identification number.
(4)(a) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess, manufacture, sell or exchange, offer to sell or exchange, supply in blank, or give away any counterfeit manufacturer’s vessel hull identification number plate or decal or any manufacturer’s vessel hull identification plate or decal which is assigned to another vessel to be used for the purpose of identification of any vessel; to authorize, direct, aid in exchange, or give away such counterfeit manufacturer’s vessel hull identification number plate or decal or any manufacturer’s vessel hull identification number plate or decal which is assigned to another vessel; or to conspire to do any of the foregoing. However, nothing in this subsection shall be applicable to any approved hull identification number plate or decal issued as a replacement by the manufacturer, the department, or another state.
(b) It is unlawful for any person to knowingly buy, sell, offer for sale, receive, dispose of, conceal, or have in his or her possession any vessel or part thereof on which the assigned identification number has been altered, removed, destroyed, covered, or defaced or maintain such vessel in any manner which conceals or misrepresents the true identity of the vessel.
(c) Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
(5) The failure to have the hull identification number clearly displayed in compliance with this section shall be probable cause for any Division of Law Enforcement officer or other authorized law enforcement officer to make further inspection of the vessel in question to ascertain the true identity thereof.
(6) Each vessel manufactured after the effective date of this act for sale in the state shall have a hull identification number displayed prior to sale or delivery for sale in accordance with the regulations set forth in 33 C.F.R. part 181. The hull identification number shall not be altered or replaced by the manufacturer or manufacturer’s representative for the purpose of upgrading the model year of a vessel after being offered for sale or delivered to any dealer.
(7) No person or firm shall assign the same hull identification number to more than one vessel.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 74-327; s. 5, ch. 80-266; s. 5, ch. 83-102; s. 2, ch. 84-129; s. 12, ch. 84-184; s. 1, ch. 86-73; s. 10, ch. 92-54; s. 469, ch. 95-148; s. 66, ch. 2008-4; s. 21, ch. 2009-86; s. 9, ch. 2016-179.
Note.Former s. 371.77.
1328.09 Refusal to issue and authority to cancel a certificate of title or registration.
(1) If the department determines at any time that an applicant for a certificate of title or registration gave a false statement or false or incomplete information in applying for the certificate or otherwise failed to comply with the applicable provisions pertaining to the application for a certificate, it may refuse to issue the certificate.
(2) If the department determines at any time that an owner or dealer named in a certificate of title or registration gave a false statement or false or incomplete information in applying for the certificate or otherwise failed to comply with the applicable provisions pertaining to the application for a certificate, it may cancel the certificate.
(3) The department may cancel any pending application or any certificate if it determines that any title or registration fee or sales tax pertaining to such registration has not been paid, provided such fee or tax is not paid upon reasonable notice.
(4) The department may not issue a certificate of title to any applicant for any vessel that has been deemed derelict by a law enforcement officer under s. 823.11. A law enforcement officer must inform the department in writing, which may be provided by facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic means, of the vessel’s derelict status and supply the department with the vessel title number or vessel identification number. The department may issue a certificate of title once a law enforcement officer has verified in writing, which may be provided by facsimile, electronic mail, or other electronic means, that the vessel is no longer a derelict vessel.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 74-327; s. 23, ch. 78-95; s. 13, ch. 84-184; s. 12, ch. 2017-163; s. 12, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Section 12, ch. 2019-76, amended s. 328.09, effective July 1, 2023, to read:

328.09 Refusal to issue and authority to cancel a certificate of title or registration.

(1) Unless an application for a certificate of title is rejected under subsection (3) or subsection (4), the department shall create a certificate for the vessel in accordance with subsection (2) not later than 30 days after delivery to the department of an application that complies with s. 328.01.

(2) If the department creates electronic certificates of title, the department shall create an electronic certificate unless in the application the secured party of record or, if none, the owner of record requests that the department create a written certificate.

(3) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (4), the department may reject an application for a certificate of title only if:

(a) The application does not comply with s. 328.01;

(b) The application does not contain documentation sufficient for the department to determine whether the applicant is entitled to a certificate;

(c) There is a reasonable basis for concluding that the application is fraudulent or issuance of a certificate would facilitate a fraudulent or illegal act;

(d) The application does not comply with the laws of this state other than this part; or

(e) The application is for a vessel that has been deemed derelict by a law enforcement officer under s. 823.11. In such case, a law enforcement officer must inform the department in writing, which may be provided by facsimile, e-mail, or other electronic means, of the vessel’s derelict status and supply the department with the vessel title number or vessel identification number. The department may issue a certificate of title once a law enforcement officer has verified in writing, which may be provided by facsimile, e-mail, or other electronic means, that the vessel is no longer a derelict vessel.

(4) The department shall reject an application for a certificate of title for a vessel that is a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel.

(5) The department may cancel a certificate of title created by it only if the department:

(a) Could have rejected the application for the certificate under subsection (3);

(b) Is required to cancel the certificate under another provision of this part; or

(c) Receives satisfactory evidence that the vessel is a documented vessel or a foreign-documented vessel.

(6) The decision by the department to reject an application for a certificate of title or cancel a certificate of title pursuant to this section is subject to a hearing pursuant to ss. 120.569 and 120.57 at which the owner and any other interested party may present evidence in support of or opposition to the rejection of the application for a certificate of title or the cancellation of a certificate of title.

Note.Former s. 371.78.
1328.101 Effect of missing or incorrect information.Except as otherwise provided in s. 679.337, a certificate of title or other record required or authorized by this part is effective even if it contains unintended scrivener’s errors or does not contain certain required information if such missing information is determined by the department to be inconsequential to the issuing of a certificate of title or other record.
History.s. 13, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.11 Duplicate certificate of title.
(1) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may issue a duplicate certificate of title upon application by the person entitled to hold such a certificate if the department is satisfied that the original certificate has been lost, destroyed, or mutilated. The department shall charge a fee of $6 for issuing a duplicate certificate.
(2) In addition to the fee imposed by subsection (1), the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall charge a fee of $5 for expedited service in issuing a duplicate certificate of title. Application for such expedited service may be made by mail or in person. The department shall issue each certificate of title applied for under this subsection within 5 working days after receipt of a proper application or shall refund the additional $5 fee upon written request by the applicant.
(3) If, following the issuance of an original, duplicate, or corrected certificate of title by the department, the certificate is lost in transit and is not delivered to the addressee, the owner of the vessel or the holder of a lien thereon may, within 180 days after the date of issuance of the title, apply to the department for reissuance of the certificate of title. An additional fee may not be charged for reissuance under this subsection.
(4) The department shall implement a system to verify that the application is signed by a person authorized to receive a duplicate title certificate under this section if the address shown on the application is different from the address shown for the applicant on the records of the department.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 13, ch. 74-327; s. 14, ch. 84-184; s. 2, ch. 87-291; s. 59, ch. 95-333; s. 63, ch. 96-413; s. 59, ch. 99-248; s. 14, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Section 14, ch. 2019-76, amended s. 328.11, effective July 1, 2023, to read:

328.11 Duplicate certificate of title.

(1) If a written certificate of title is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or otherwise becomes unavailable or illegible, the secured party of record or, if no secured party is indicated in the files of the department, the owner of record may apply for and, by furnishing information satisfactory to the department, obtain a duplicate certificate in the name of the owner of record.

(2) An applicant for a duplicate certificate of title must sign the application, and, except as otherwise permitted by the department, the application must comply with s. 328.01. The application must include the existing certificate unless the certificate is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or otherwise unavailable.

(3) A duplicate certificate of title created by the department must comply with s. 328.04 and indicate on the face of the certificate that it is a duplicate certificate.

(4) If a person receiving a duplicate certificate of title subsequently obtains possession of the original written certificate, the person shall promptly destroy the original certificate of title.

(5) The department shall charge a fee of $6 for issuing a duplicate certificate.

(6) In addition to the fee imposed by subsection (5), the department shall charge a fee of $5 for expedited service in issuing a duplicate certificate of title. Application for such expedited service may be made by mail or in person. The department shall issue each certificate of title applied for under this subsection within 5 working days after receipt of a proper application or shall refund the additional $5 fee upon written request by the applicant.

(7) The department shall implement a system to verify that the application is signed by a person authorized to receive a duplicate title certificate under this section if the address shown on the application is different from the address shown for the applicant on the records of the department.

Note.Former s. 371.79.
1328.12 Perfection of security interest.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section, a security interest in a vessel may be perfected only by delivery to the department of an application for a certificate of title that identifies the secured party and otherwise complies with s. 328.01. The security interest is perfected on the later of delivery to the department of the application and the applicable fee or attachment of the security interest under s. 679.2031.
(2) If the interest of a person named as owner, lessor, consignor, or bailor in an application for a certificate of title delivered to the department is a security interest, the application sufficiently identifies the person as a secured party. Identification on the application for a certificate of a person as owner, lessor, consignor, or bailor is not by itself a factor in determining whether the person’s interest is a security interest.
(3) If the department has created a certificate of title for a vessel, a security interest in the vessel may be perfected by delivery to the department of an application, on a form the department may require, to have the security interest added to the certificate. The application must be signed by an owner of the vessel or by the secured party and must include:
(a) The name of the owner of record;
(b) The name and mailing address of the secured party;
(c) The hull identification number for the vessel; and
(d) If the department has created a written certificate of title for the vessel, the certificate.
(4) A security interest perfected under subsection (3) is perfected on the later of delivery to the department of the application and all applicable fees or attachment of the security interest under s. 679.2031.
(5) On delivery of an application that complies with subsection (3) and payment of all applicable fees, the department shall create a new certificate of title pursuant to s. 328.09 and deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate pursuant to s. 328.06. The department shall maintain in the files of the department the date and time of delivery of the application to the department.
(6) If a secured party assigns a perfected security interest in a vessel, the receipt by the department of a statement providing the name of the assignee as secured party is not required to continue the perfected status of the security interest against creditors of and transferees from the original debtor. A purchaser of a vessel subject to a security interest who obtains a release from the secured party indicated in the files of the department or on the certificate takes free of the security interest and of the rights of a transferee unless the transfer is indicated in the files of the department or on the certificate.
(7) This section does not apply to a security interest:
(a) Created in a vessel by a person during any period in which the vessel is inventory held for sale or lease by the person or is leased by the person as lessor if the person is in the business of selling vessels;
(b) In a barge for which no application for a certificate of title has been delivered to the department; or
(c) In a vessel before delivery if the vessel is under construction, or completed, pursuant to contract and for which no application for a certificate has been delivered to the department.
(8) This subsection applies if a certificate of documentation for a documented vessel is deleted or canceled. If a security interest in the vessel was valid immediately before deletion or cancellation against a third party as a result of compliance with 46 U.S.C. s. 31321, the security interest is and remains perfected until the earlier of 4 months after cancellation of the certificate or the time the security interest becomes perfected under this part.
(9) A security interest in a vessel arising under s. 672.401, s. 672.505, s. 672.711(3), or s. 680.508(5) is perfected when it attaches but becomes unperfected when the debtor obtains possession of the vessel, unless the security interest is perfected pursuant to subsection (1) or subsection (3) before the debtor obtains possession.
(10) A security interest in a vessel as proceeds of other collateral is perfected to the extent provided in s. 679.3151.
(11) A security interest in a vessel perfected under the law of another jurisdiction is perfected to the extent provided in s. 679.3161(4).
(12) For purposes of this section and this part, the Department of Revenue shall be treated as a secured party when collecting unpaid support.
History.s. 15, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.125 Termination statement.
(1) A secured party indicated in the files of the department as having a security interest in a vessel shall deliver a termination statement to the department and, on the debtor’s request, to the debtor, by the earlier of:
(a) Twenty days after the secured party receives a signed demand from an owner for a termination statement and there is no obligation secured by the vessel subject to the security interest and no commitment to make an advance, incur an obligation, or otherwise give value secured by the vessel; or
(b) If the vessel is consumer goods, 30 days after there is no obligation secured by the vessel and no commitment to make an advance, incur an obligation, or otherwise give value secured by the vessel.
(2) If a written certificate of title has been created and delivered to a secured party and a termination statement is required under subsection (1), the secured party, not later than the date required by subsection (1), shall deliver the certificate to the debtor or to the department with the statement. If the certificate is lost, stolen, mutilated, destroyed, or is otherwise unavailable or illegible, the secured party shall deliver with the statement, not later than the date required by subsection (1), an application for a duplicate certificate meeting the requirements of s. 328.11.
(3) On delivery to the department of a termination statement authorized by the secured party, the security interest to which the statement relates ceases to be perfected. If the security interest to which the statement relates was indicated on the certificate of title, the department shall create a new certificate and deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate. The department shall maintain in its files the date and time of delivery to the department of the statement.
(4) A secured party that fails to comply with this section is liable for any loss that the secured party had reason to know might result from its failure to comply and which could not reasonably have been prevented and for the cost of an application for a certificate of title under s. 328.01 or s. 328.11.
History.s. 16, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
328.13 Manufacturer’s statement of origin to be furnished.
(1) Any person selling a new vessel in this state shall furnish a manufacturer’s statement of origin to the purchaser of the vessel. The statement shall be signed and dated by an authorized representative of the manufacturer and shall indicate the complete name and address of the purchaser. The statement shall provide a complete description of the vessel, which shall include, but is not limited to, the hull identification number, hull length, hull material, type of propulsion, and model year of the vessel. The statement of origin shall be in English or accompanied by an English translation if the vessel was purchased outside the United States, and shall contain as many assignments thereon as may be necessary to show title in the name of the purchaser.
(2) It is unlawful for a vessel manufacturer, manufacturer’s representative, or dealer to issue a manufacturer’s certificate of origin describing a vessel, knowing that such description is false or that the vessel described does not exist or for any person to obtain or attempt to obtain such manufacturer’s certificate of origin knowing the description is false or having reason to believe the vessel does not exist. Any person who violates any provision of this subsection is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.s. 1, ch. 69-167; s. 6, ch. 80-266; s. 15, ch. 84-184; s. 64, ch. 96-413.
Note.Former s. 371.791.
1328.14 Rights of purchaser other than secured party.
(1) A buyer in ordinary course of business has the protections afforded by ss. 672.403(2) and 679.320(1) even if an existing certificate of title was not signed and delivered to the buyer or a new certificate listing the buyer as owner of record was not created.
(2) Except as otherwise provided in ss. 328.145 and 328.22, the rights of a purchaser of a vessel who is not a buyer in ordinary course of business or a lien creditor are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.
History.s. 17, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.145 Rights of secured party.
(1) Subject to subsection (2), the effect of perfection and nonperfection of a security interest and the priority of a perfected or unperfected security interest with respect to the rights of a purchaser or creditor, including a lien creditor, is governed by the Uniform Commercial Code.
(2) If, while a security interest in a vessel is perfected by any method under this part, the department creates a certificate of title that does not indicate that the vessel is subject to the security interest or contain a statement that it may be subject to security interests not indicated on the certificate:
(a) A buyer of the vessel, other than a person in the business of selling or leasing vessels of that kind, takes free of the security interest if the buyer, acting in good faith and without knowledge of the security interest, gives value and receives possession of the vessel; and
(b) The security interest is subordinate to a conflicting security interest in the vessel that is perfected under s. 328.12 after creation of the certificate and without the conflicting secured party’s knowledge of the security interest.
History.s. 18, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.15 Notice of lien on vessel; recording.
(1) No lien for purchase money or as security for a debt in the form of retain title contract, conditional bill of sale, chattel mortgage, or otherwise on a vessel shall be enforceable in any of the courts of this state against creditors or subsequent purchasers for a valuable consideration and without notice unless a sworn notice of such lien is recorded. The lien certificate shall contain the following information:
(a) Name and address of the registered owner;
(b) Date of lien;
(c) Description of the vessel to include make, type, motor and serial number; and
(d) Name and address of lienholder.

The lien shall be recorded by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and shall be effective as constructive notice when filed. The date of filing of the notice of lien is the date of its receipt by the department’s central office in Tallahassee, if first filed there, or otherwise by the office of a county tax collector or of the tax collector’s agent.

(2)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall not enter any lien upon its lien records, whether it is a first lien or a subordinate lien, unless the official certificate of title issued for the vessel is furnished with the notice of lien, so that the record of lien, whether original or subordinate, may be noted upon the face thereof. After the department records the lien, it shall send the certificate of title to the holder of the first lien who shall hold such certificate until the lien is satisfied in full.
(b) When a vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as co-owners in the alternative by the use of the word “or,” whether or not the co-owners are husband and wife, each co-owner is considered to have granted to any other co-owner the absolute right to place a lien or encumbrance on the vessel, and the signature of one co-owner constitutes proper execution of the notice of lien. When a vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as co-owners in the conjunctive by the use of the word “and,” the signature of each co-owner is required in order to place a lien or encumbrance on the vessel.
(c) If the owner of the vessel as shown on the title certificate or the director of the state child support enforcement program desires to place a second or subsequent lien or encumbrance against the vessel when the title certificate is in the possession of the first lienholder, the owner shall send a written request to the first lienholder by certified mail and such first lienholder shall forward the certificate to the department for endorsement. The department shall return the certificate to the first lienholder, as indicated in the notice of lien filed by the first lienholder, after endorsing the second or subsequent lien on the certificate and on the duplicate. If the first lienholder fails, neglects, or refuses to forward the certificate of title to the department within 10 days after the date of the owner’s or the director’s request, the department, on written request of the subsequent lienholder or an assignee thereof, shall demand of the first lienholder the return of such certificate for the notation of the second or subsequent lien or encumbrance.
(3) Upon the payment of any such lien, the debtor or the registered owner of the motorboat shall be entitled to demand and receive from the lienholder a satisfaction of the lien which shall likewise be filed with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(4) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles under precautionary rules and regulations to be promulgated by it may permit the use, in substitution of the formal satisfaction of lien, of other methods of satisfaction, such as perforation, appropriate stamp, or otherwise, as it deems reasonable and adequate.
(5)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt rules to administer this section. The department may by rule require that a notice of satisfaction of a lien be notarized. The department shall prepare the forms of the notice of lien and the satisfaction of lien to be supplied, at a charge not to exceed 50 percent more than cost, to applicants for recording the liens or satisfactions and shall keep a record of such notices of lien and satisfactions available for inspection by the public at all reasonable times. The division may furnish certified copies of such satisfactions for a fee of $1, which are admissible in evidence in all courts of this state under the same conditions and to the same effect as certified copies of other public records.
(b) The department shall establish and administer an electronic titling program that requires the recording of vessel title information for new, transferred, and corrected certificates of title. Lienholders shall electronically transmit liens and lien satisfactions to the department in a format determined by the department. Individuals and lienholders who the department determines are not normally engaged in the business or practice of financing vessels are not required to participate in the electronic titling program.
(6) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is entitled to a fee of $1 for the recording of each notice of lien. No fee shall be charged for recording the satisfaction of a lien. All of the fees collected shall be paid into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund.
(7)(a) Should any person, firm, or corporation holding such lien, which has been recorded by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, upon payment of such lien and on demand, fail or refuse, within 30 days after such payment and demand, to furnish the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel a satisfaction of the lien, then, in that event, such person, firm, or corporation shall be held liable for all costs, damages, and expenses, including reasonable attorney’s fees, lawfully incurred by the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel in any suit which may be brought in the courts of this state for the cancellation of such lien.
(b) Following satisfaction of a lien, the lienholder shall enter a satisfaction thereof in the space provided on the face of the certificate of title. If there are no subsequent liens shown thereon, the certificate shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien or encumbrance and an executed satisfaction on a form provided by the department shall be forwarded to the department by the lienholder within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.
(c) If the certificate of title shows a subsequent lien not then being discharged, an executed satisfaction of the first lien shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien and the certificate of title showing satisfaction of the first lien shall be forwarded by the lienholder to the department within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.
(d) If, upon receipt of a title certificate showing satisfaction of the first lien, the department determines from its records that there are no subsequent liens or encumbrances upon the vessel, the department shall forward to the owner, as shown on the face of the title, a corrected certificate showing no liens or encumbrances. If there is a subsequent lien not being discharged, the certificate of title shall be reissued showing the second or subsequent lienholder as the first lienholder and shall be delivered to the new first lienholder. The first lienholder shall be entitled to retain the certificate of title until his or her lien is satisfied. Upon satisfaction of the lien, the lienholder shall be subject to the procedures required of a first lienholder in this subsection and in subsection (2).
(8) When the original certificate of title cannot be returned to the department by the lienholder and evidence satisfactory to the department is produced that all liens or encumbrances have been satisfied, upon application by the owner for a duplicate copy of the certificate of title, upon the form prescribed by the department, accompanied by the fee prescribed in this chapter, a duplicate copy of the certificate of title without statement of liens or encumbrances shall be issued by the department and delivered to the owner.
(9) Any person who fails, within 10 days after receipt of a demand by the department by certified mail, to return a certificate of title to the department as required by paragraph (2)(c) or who, upon satisfaction of a lien, fails within 10 days after receipt of such demand to forward the appropriate document to the department as required by paragraph (7)(b) or paragraph (7)(c) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(10) The department shall use the last known address as shown by its records when sending any notice required by this section.
(11) If the original lienholder sells and assigns his or her lien to some other person, and if the assignee desires to have his or her name substituted on the certificate of title as the holder of the lien, he or she may, after delivering the original certificate of title to the department and providing a sworn statement of the assignment, have his or her name substituted as a lienholder. Upon substitution of the assignee’s name as lienholder, the department shall deliver the certificate of title to the assignee as the first lienholder.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 14, ch. 74-327; s. 7, ch. 80-266; s. 16, ch. 84-184; s. 13, ch. 85-81; s. 4, ch. 85-252; s. 9, ch. 88-176; s. 160, ch. 94-356; s. 60, ch. 95-333; s. 20, ch. 96-321; s. 65, ch. 96-413; s. 60, ch. 99-248; s. 39, ch. 2000-313; s. 16, ch. 2004-335; s. 67, ch. 2012-181; s. 19, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Section 19, ch. 2019-76, amended s. 328.15, effective July 1, 2023, to read:

328.15 Notice of lien and satisfaction of lien on vessel; recording.

(1) Upon the payment of a lien, the debtor or the registered owner of the motorboat shall be entitled to demand and receive from the lienholder a satisfaction of the lien which shall likewise be filed with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

(2) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles under precautionary rules and regulations to be promulgated by it may permit the use, in substitution of the formal satisfaction of lien, of other methods of satisfaction, such as perforation, appropriate stamp, or otherwise, as it deems reasonable and adequate.

(3)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall adopt rules to administer this section. The department may by rule require that a notice of satisfaction of a lien be notarized. The department shall prepare the forms of the notice of lien and the satisfaction of lien to be supplied, at a charge not to exceed 50 percent more than cost, to applicants for recording the liens or satisfactions and shall keep a record of such notices of lien and satisfactions available for inspection by the public at all reasonable times. The division may furnish certified copies of such satisfactions for a fee of $1, which are admissible in evidence in all courts of this state under the same conditions and to the same effect as certified copies of other public records.

(b) The department shall establish and administer an electronic titling program that requires the recording of vessel title information for new, transferred, and corrected certificates of title. Lienholders shall electronically transmit liens and lien satisfactions to the department in a format determined by the department. Individuals and lienholders who the department determines are not normally engaged in the business or practice of financing vessels are not required to participate in the electronic titling program.

(4)(a) Should any person, firm, or corporation holding such lien, which has been recorded by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, upon payment of such lien and on demand, fail or refuse, within 30 days after such payment and demand, to furnish the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel a satisfaction of the lien, then, in that event, such person, firm, or corporation shall be held liable for all costs, damages, and expenses, including reasonable attorney fees, lawfully incurred by the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel in any suit which may be brought in the courts of this state for the cancellation of such lien.

(b) Following satisfaction of a lien, the lienholder shall enter a satisfaction thereof in the space provided on the face of the certificate of title. If there are no subsequent liens shown thereon, the certificate shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien or encumbrance and an executed satisfaction on a form provided by the department shall be forwarded to the department by the lienholder within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.

(c) If the certificate of title shows a subsequent lien not then being discharged, an executed satisfaction of the first lien shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien and the certificate of title showing satisfaction of the first lien shall be forwarded by the lienholder to the department within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.

(d) If, upon receipt of a title certificate showing satisfaction of the first lien, the department determines from its records that there are no subsequent liens or encumbrances upon the vessel, the department shall forward to the owner, as shown on the face of the title, a corrected certificate showing no liens or encumbrances. If there is a subsequent lien not being discharged, the certificate of title shall be reissued showing the second or subsequent lienholder as the first lienholder and shall be delivered to the new first lienholder. The first lienholder shall be entitled to retain the certificate of title until his or her lien is satisfied. Upon satisfaction of the lien, the lienholder shall be subject to the procedures required of a first lienholder in this subsection.

(5) When the original certificate of title cannot be returned to the department by the lienholder and evidence satisfactory to the department is produced that all liens or encumbrances have been satisfied, upon application by the owner for a duplicate copy of the certificate of title, upon the form prescribed by the department, accompanied by the fee prescribed in this chapter, a duplicate copy of the certificate of title without statement of liens or encumbrances shall be issued by the department and delivered to the owner.

(6) Any person who fails, within 10 days after receipt of a demand by the department by certified mail, to return a certificate of title to the department or who, upon satisfaction of a lien, fails within 10 days after receipt of such demand to forward the appropriate document to the department as required by paragraph (4)(b) or paragraph (4)(c) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.

(7) The department shall use the last known address as shown by its records when sending any notice required by this section.

(8) If the original lienholder sells and assigns his or her lien to some other person, and if the assignee desires to have his or her name substituted on the certificate of title as the holder of the lien, he or she may, after delivering the original certificate of title to the department and providing a sworn statement of the assignment, have his or her name substituted as a lienholder. Upon substitution of the assignee’s name as lienholder, the department shall deliver the certificate of title to the assignee as the first lienholder.

(9) Subsections (1), (2), and (4)-(8) shall expire October 1, 2026.

Note.Former s. 371.81.
1328.16 Issuance in duplicate; delivery; liens and encumbrances.
(1) The department shall assign a number to each certificate of title and shall issue each certificate of title and each corrected certificate in duplicate. The database record shall serve as the duplicate title certificate.
(2) An authorized person must sign the original certificate of title and each corrected certificate and, if there are no liens or encumbrances on the vessel, as shown in the records of the department or as shown in the application, must deliver the certificate to the applicant or to another person as directed by the applicant or person, agent, or attorney submitting the application. If there are one or more liens or encumbrances on the vessel, the department must deliver the certificate to the first lienholder as shown by department records. The department shall deliver to the first lienholder, along with the certificate, a form to be subsequently used by the lienholder as a satisfaction. If the application for certificate of title shows the name of a first lienholder which is different from the name of the first lienholder as shown by the records of the department, the certificate shall not be issued to any person until after the department notifies all parties who appear to hold a lien and the applicant for the certificate, in writing by certified mail. If the parties do not amicably resolve the conflict within 10 days after the date the notice was mailed, the department shall serve notice in writing by certified mail on all persons that appear to hold liens on that particular vessel, including the applicant for the certificate, to show cause within 15 days after the date the notice is mailed why it should not issue and deliver the certificate to the person indicated in the notice of lien filed by the lienholder whose name appears in the application as the first lienholder without showing any lien or liens as outstanding other than those appearing in the application or those filed subsequent to the filing of the application for the certificate of title. If, within the 15-day period, any person other than the lienholder shown in the application or a party filing a subsequent lien, in answer to the notice to show cause, appears in person or by a representative, or responds in writing, and files a written statement under oath that his or her lien on that particular vessel is still outstanding, the department shall not issue the certificate to anyone until after the conflict has been settled by the lien claimants involved or by a court of competent jurisdiction. If the conflict is not settled amicably within 10 days after the final date for filing an answer to the notice to show cause, the complaining party shall have 10 days to obtain a ruling, or a stay order, from a court of competent jurisdiction. If a ruling or stay order is not issued and served on the department within the 10-day period, the department shall issue the certificate showing no liens, except those shown in the application or thereafter filed, to the original applicant if there are no liens shown in the application and none are thereafter filed, or to the person indicated in the notice of lien filed by the lienholder whose name appears in the application as the first lienholder if there are liens shown in the application or thereafter filed. A duplicate certificate or corrected certificate must show only such lien or liens as were shown in the application and subsequently filed liens that may be outstanding.
(3) Except as provided in s. 328.15(11), the certificate of title shall be retained by the first lienholder. The first lienholder is entitled to retain the certificate until the first lien is satisfied.
(4) Notwithstanding any requirements in this section or in s. 328.15 indicating that a lien on a vessel shall be noted on the face of the Florida certificate of title, if there are one or more liens or encumbrances on a vessel, the department shall electronically transmit the lien to the first lienholder and notify the first lienholder of any additional liens. Subsequent lien satisfactions shall be electronically transmitted to the department and must include the name and address of the person or entity satisfying the lien. When electronic transmission of liens and lien satisfactions are used, the issuance of a certificate of title may be waived until the last lien is satisfied and a clear certificate of title is issued to the owner of the vessel.
(5) The owner of a vessel, upon which a lien has been filed with the department or noted upon a certificate of title for a period of 5 years, may apply to the department in writing for such lien to be removed from the department files or from the certificate of title. The application must be accompanied by evidence satisfactory to the department that the applicant has notified the lienholder by certified mail, not less than 20 days prior to the date of the application, of his or her intention to apply to the department for removal of the lien. Ten days after receipt of the application, the department may remove the lien from its files or from the certificate of title, as the case may be, if no statement in writing protesting removal of the lien is received by the department from the lienholder within the 10-day period. However, if the lienholder files with the department, within the 10-day period, a written statement that the lien is still outstanding, the department may not remove the lien until the lienholder presents a satisfaction of lien to the department.
History.s. 66, ch. 96-413; s. 42, ch. 97-300; s. 61, ch. 99-248; s. 72, ch. 2001-61; s. 68, ch. 2012-181; s. 20, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Section 20, ch. 2019-76, amended s. 328.16, effective July 1, 2023, to read:

328.16 Issuance in duplicate; delivery; liens, security interests, and encumbrances.

(1) The department shall assign a number to each certificate of title and shall issue each certificate of title and each corrected certificate in duplicate. The database record shall serve as the duplicate title certificate.

(2) An authorized person must sign the original certificate of title and each corrected certificate and, if there are no liens, security interests, or encumbrances on the vessel, as shown in the records of the department or as shown in the application, must deliver the certificate to the applicant or to another person as directed by the applicant or person, agent, or attorney submitting the application. If there are one or more liens, security interests, or encumbrances on the vessel, the department must deliver the certificate to the first lienholder or secured party as shown by department records. The department shall deliver to the first lienholder or secured party, along with the certificate, a form to be subsequently used by the lienholder or secured party as a satisfaction. If the application for certificate of title shows the name of a first lienholder or secured party which is different from the name of the first lienholder or secured party as shown by the records of the department, the certificate shall not be issued to any person until after the department notifies all parties who appear to hold a lien or a security interest and the applicant for the certificate, in writing by certified mail. If the parties do not amicably resolve the conflict within 10 days after the date the notice was mailed, the department shall serve notice in writing by certified mail on all persons that appear to hold liens or security interests on that particular vessel, including the applicant for the certificate, to show cause within 15 days after the date the notice is mailed why it should not issue and deliver the certificate to the secured party of record or person indicated in the notice of lien filed by the lienholder whose name appears in the application as the first lienholder without showing any lien or liens as outstanding other than those appearing in the application or those filed subsequent to the filing of the application for the certificate of title. If, within the 15-day period, any person other than the lienholder or secured party of record shown in the application or a party filing a subsequent lien or security interest, in answer to the notice to show cause, appears in person or by a representative, or responds in writing, and files a written statement under oath that his or her lien or security interest on that particular vessel is still outstanding, the department shall not issue the certificate to anyone until after the conflict has been settled by the lien or security interest claimants involved or by a court of competent jurisdiction. If the conflict is not settled amicably within 10 days after the final date for filing an answer to the notice to show cause, the complaining party shall have 10 days to obtain a ruling, or a stay order, from a court of competent jurisdiction. If a ruling or stay order is not issued and served on the department within the 10-day period, the department shall issue the certificate showing no liens or security interests, except those shown in the application or thereafter filed, to the original applicant if there are no liens or security interests shown in the application and none are thereafter filed, or to the person indicated as the secured party of record or in the notice of lien filed by the lienholder whose name appears in the application as the first lienholder if there are liens shown in the application or thereafter filed. A duplicate certificate or corrected certificate must show only such security interest or interests or lien or liens as were shown in the application and subsequently filed liens or security interests that may be outstanding.

(3) The certificate of title shall be retained by the first lienholder or secured party of record. The first lienholder or secured party of record is entitled to retain the certificate until the first lien or security interest is satisfied.

(4) Notwithstanding any requirements in this section indicating that a lien or security interest on a vessel shall be noted on the face of the Florida certificate of title, if there are one or more liens, security interests, or encumbrances on a vessel, the department shall electronically transmit the lien or security interest to the first lienholder or secured party and notify the first lienholder or secured party of any additional liens or security interests. Subsequent lien or security interest satisfactions shall be electronically transmitted to the department and must include the name and address of the person or entity satisfying the lien or security interest. When electronic transmission of liens or security interest and lien satisfactions or security interest are used, the issuance of a certificate of title may be waived until the last lien or security interest is satisfied and a clear certificate of title is issued to the owner of the vessel.

(5) The owner of a vessel upon which a lien or security interest has been filed with the department or noted upon a certificate of title for a period of 5 years may apply to the department in writing for such lien or security interest to be removed from the department files or from the certificate of title. The application must be accompanied by evidence satisfactory to the department that the applicant has notified the lienholder or secured party by certified mail, not less than 20 days before the date of the application, of his or her intention to apply to the department for removal of the lien or security interest. Ten days after receipt of the application, the department may remove the lien or security interest from its files or from the certificate of title, as the case may be, if no statement in writing protesting removal of the lien or security interest is received by the department from the lienholder or secured party within the 10-day period. However, if the lienholder or secured party files with the department, within the 10-day period, a written statement that the lien or security interest is still outstanding, the department may not remove the lien or security interest until the lienholder or secured party presents a satisfaction of lien or satisfaction of security interest to the department.

328.165 Cancellation of certificates.
1(1) If it appears that a certificate of title has been improperly issued, the department shall cancel the certificate. Upon cancellation of any certificate of title, the department shall notify the person to whom the certificate of title was issued, and any lienholders appearing thereon, of the cancellation and shall demand the surrender of the certificate of title; however, the cancellation does not affect the validity of any lien noted thereon. The holder of the certificate of title shall immediately return it to the department. If a certificate of registration has been issued to the holder of a certificate of title so canceled, the department shall immediately cancel the certificate of registration and demand the return of the certificate of registration and the holder of such certificate of registration shall immediately return it to the department.
(2) The department may, upon application by any person and payment of the proper fees, prepare and furnish lists containing title information in such form as the department authorizes, search the records of the department and make reports thereof, and make photographic copies of the department records and attestations thereof.
History.s. 62, ch. 99-248; s. 21, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Section 21, ch. 2019-76, amended subsection (1), effective July 1, 2023, to read:

(1) If it appears that a certificate of title has been improperly issued, the department shall cancel the certificate. Upon cancellation of any certificate of title, the department shall notify the person to whom the certificate of title was issued, and any lienholders or secured parties appearing thereon, of the cancellation and shall demand the surrender of the certificate of title; however, the cancellation does not affect the validity of any lien or security interest noted thereon. The holder of the certificate of title shall immediately return it to the department. If a certificate of registration has been issued to the holder of a certificate of title so canceled, the department shall immediately cancel the certificate of registration and demand the return of the certificate of registration, and the holder of such certificate of registration shall immediately return it to the department.

328.17 Nonjudicial sale of vessels.
(1) It is the intent of the Legislature that any nonjudicial sale of any vessel held for unpaid costs, storage charges, or dockage fees, or any vessel held for failure to pay removal costs pursuant to s. 327.53(7), be disposed of pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(2) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall provide certification forms for the nonjudicial sale of vessels as authorized by this section.
(3) For purposes of this section, “owner” shall mean the person holding title to the vessel, or any person the marina reasonably believes to be authorized to act for the vessel.
(4) A marina, as defined in s. 327.02, shall have:
(a) A possessory lien upon any vessel for storage fees, dockage fees, repairs, improvements, or other work-related storage charges, and for expenses necessary for preservation of the vessel or expenses reasonably incurred in the sale or other disposition of the vessel. The possessory lien attaches as of the date the vessel is brought to the marina or as of the date the vessel first occupies rental space at the marina facility.
(b) A possessory lien upon any vessel in a wrecked, junked, or substantially dismantled condition which has been left abandoned at a marina for expenses reasonably incurred in the removal and disposal of the vessel. The possessory lien attaches as of the date the vessel arrives at the marina or as of the date the vessel first occupies rental space at the marina facility. If the funds recovered from the sale of or the scrap or salvage value of the vessel are insufficient to cover the expenses reasonably incurred by the marina in removing and disposing of the vessel, all costs in excess of recovery shall be recoverable against the owner of the vessel. For a vessel damaged as a result of a named storm, the provisions of this paragraph shall be suspended for 60 days after the date the vessel is damaged in the named storm. The operation of the provisions specified in this paragraph run concurrently with, and do not extend, the 60-day notice periods provided in subsections (5) and (7).
(5) A marina’s possessory lien may be satisfied as follows:
(a)1. The marina shall provide written notice to the vessel’s owner, delivered in person or by certified mail to the owner’s last known address. The notice shall also be conspicuously posted at the marina and on the vessel.
2. In addition to notice provided to the vessel owner under subparagraph 1., the marina shall provide written notice to each person or entity that:
a. Holds a security interest on the vessel as shown in the records of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with respect to state-titled vessels.
b. Holds a preferred ship mortgage or has filed a claim of lien with the United States Coast Guard Vessel Documentation Center.
c. Holds a security interest against the vessel under the Uniform Commercial Code.
d. Has perfected a lien against the subject vessel by filing a judgment lien certificate pursuant to ss. 55.201-55.209.
3. When a vessel displays a foreign country identification or displays registration numbers from a state other than Florida, the marina shall conduct a reasonable lien search of the vessel registration records in the jurisdiction of registry to determine if there is a lienholder who is entitled to notice pursuant to subparagraph 2. Failure to discover a foreign national or non-Florida United States lienholder after a good faith effort to conduct such a lien search shall not prevent the sale or removal of a vessel from the marina to satisfy the marina’s possessory lien or a purchaser, in good faith, from taking title of the vessel, pursuant to subsections (7) and (11).
4. The requirements of subparagraph 2. shall be satisfied if the marina:
a. Obtains ownership documentation for the vessel and trailer, if applicable, from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or other agency with which the vessel is registered;
b. Obtains an abstract from the United States Coast Guard for a vessel that is documented as defined in 46 U.S.C. s. 30101;
c. Performs a current Uniform Commercial Code lien search;
d. Performs a current Florida judgment lien certificate search; and
e. Complies with subparagraph 3. with regard to vessels registered in a foreign country or in a state other than Florida.
5. The written notice to the vessel owner and lienholders required by this paragraph shall be made at least 60 days prior to any sale of the vessel under this section.
(b) The notice shall include:
1. An itemized statement of the marina’s claim, showing the sum due at the time of the notice and the date upon which the sum became due.
2. A description of the vessel.
3. A demand for payment.
4. A conspicuous statement that, unless the claim is paid within the time stated in the notice, the vessel will be advertised for sale or other disposition and will be sold or otherwise disposed of at a specified time and place.
5. The name, street address, and telephone number of the marina that the owner or lienholder may contact to respond to the notice.
(6) Any notice given pursuant to this section shall be presumed delivered when it is deposited with the United States Postal Service, certified, and properly addressed with postage prepaid.
(7) If the fees, costs, and late payment interest that give rise to such a lien are due and unpaid 60 days after the vessel owner and lienholder are given written notice, the marina may sell the vessel, including its machinery, rigging, and accessories as provided for in subsection (8); or the marina may, at its option, remove the vessel from the marina or from the waters of the state at the owner’s expense pursuant to paragraph (4)(b).
(8) The marina shall first publish an advertisement of the sale or other disposition once a week for 2 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the marina is located. Inasmuch as any sale may involve more than one vessel, a single advertisement may be used to dispose of more than one vessel at any one sale.
(a) The advertisement shall include:
1. A brief and general description of the vessel.
2. The address of the marina facility or the address where the marina is located and the name of the owner of the vessel.
3. The time, place, and manner of the sale or other disposition. The sale or other disposition shall take place no sooner than 15 days after the first publication.
(b) If there is no newspaper of general circulation in the area in which the marina is located, the advertisement shall be posted at least 10 days before the date of the sale or other disposition in no fewer than three conspicuous places in the neighborhood in which the marina is located.
(9) Any sale or other disposition of the vessel shall conform to the terms of the notification as provided for in this section and shall be conducted in a commercially reasonable manner, as that term is used in s. 679.610.
(10) Before any sale or other disposition of the vessel pursuant to this section, the owner or the lienholder may pay the amount necessary to satisfy the lien and the reasonable expenses and late payment interest incurred under this section and thereby redeem and take possession of the vessel. Upon receipt of such payment, the marina shall return the property to the owner or lienholder making such payment and thereafter shall have no liability to any person with respect to such vessel.
(11) Unless otherwise provided by law, a purchaser in good faith of a vessel sold to satisfy a lien provided for in this section takes the property free of any claims other than a prior lien perfected under state or federal law.
(12) In the event of a sale under this section, the marina may satisfy its lien from the proceeds of the sale, provided the marina’s lien has priority over all other liens on the vessel. The lien rights of secured lienholders automatically also attach to the remaining proceeds of the sale. The balance, if any, shall be held by the marina for delivery on demand to the owner. A notice of any balance shall be delivered by the marina to the owner in person or by certified mail to the last known address of the owner. If the owner does not claim the balance of the proceeds within 1 year after the date of sale, the proceeds shall be deemed abandoned, and the marina shall have no further obligation with regard to the payment of the balance. In the event that the marina’s lien does not have priority over all other liens, the sale proceeds shall be held for the benefit of the holders of those liens having priority. A notice of the amount of the sale proceeds shall be delivered by the marina to the owner or secured lienholder in person or by certified mail to the owner’s or the secured lienholder’s last known address. If the owner or the secured lienholder does not claim the sale proceeds within 1 year after the date of sale, the proceeds shall be deemed abandoned, and the owner or the secured lienholder shall have no further obligation with regard to the payment of the proceeds.
(13) In making application for transfer of title of a vessel sold pursuant to this section, the new owner shall establish proof of ownership by submitting with the application, which includes the applicable fees and the original bill of sale executed by the marina, a copy of each registered or certified letter sent by the marina to the previous owner and lienholder and a certified copy of the public notice of intent to sell published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the marina is located. At the time the purchase price is paid, the marina shall provide the documentation required by this subsection to the purchaser.
History.s. 1, ch. 78-264; s. 17, ch. 84-184; s. 5, ch. 85-252; s. 13, ch. 87-225; s. 8, ch. 94-241; s. 957, ch. 95-148; s. 61, ch. 95-333; s. 115, ch. 99-13; s. 312, ch. 99-248; s. 1, ch. 2003-175; s. 1, ch. 2006-5; s. 7, ch. 2006-172; s. 7, ch. 2014-70.
Note.Former s. 371.84.
328.18 Power to conduct investigations.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or any other law enforcement agency may make any investigation necessary to secure information required to carry out and enforce the provisions of this chapter.
History.s. 10, ch. 84-184; s. 62, ch. 95-333.
328.19 Penalty.Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person convicted of violating any of the provisions of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586; s. 305, ch. 71-136; s. 8, ch. 80-266; s. 50, ch. 91-224.
Note.Former s. 371.82.
328.195 Legislative intent.It is declared to be the legislative intent that if any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this chapter is held invalid the remainder of this chapter and chapter 327 shall not be affected.
History.s. 4, ch. 67-586.
Note.Former s. 371.83.
328.20 Disposition of fees.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall deposit all funds collected by it pursuant to the provisions of this chapter in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund.
History.s. 18, ch. 84-184; s. 161, ch. 94-356; s. 63, ch. 95-333; s. 21, ch. 96-321.
328.21 Transfer without delivery of certificate; operation or use without certificate; failure to surrender; other violations.A person who:
(1) Except as otherwise provided for in this chapter, purports to sell or transfer a vessel for which a certificate of title is required without delivering to the purchaser or transferee thereof a certificate of title thereto which is duly assigned to the purchaser as provided in this chapter or who operates or uses in this state a vessel for which a certificate of title is required, without the certificate having been obtained in accordance with this chapter, or upon which the certificate of title has been canceled;
(2) Fails to surrender any certificate of title, certificate of registration, or sticker upon cancellation of the same by the department and notice thereof as prescribed in this chapter;
(3) Fails to surrender the certificate of title to the department as provided in this chapter when the vessel has been destroyed, dismantled, or changed so that it is not the vessel described in the certificate of title; or
(4) Violates any of the other provisions of this chapter, or any lawful rule adopted under this chapter,

is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083, for each offense.

History.s. 67, ch. 96-413.
1328.215 Application for transfer of ownership or termination of security interest without certificate of title.
(1) Except as otherwise provided in s. 328.23 or s. 328.24, if the department receives, unaccompanied by a signed certificate of title, an application for a new certificate that includes an indication of a transfer of ownership or a termination statement, the department may create a new certificate under this section only if:
(a) All other requirements under ss. 328.01 and 328.09 are met;
(b) The applicant provides an affidavit stating facts showing the applicant is entitled to a transfer of ownership or termination statement;
(c) The applicant provides the department with satisfactory evidence that notification of the application has been sent to the owner of record and all persons indicated in the files of the department as having an interest, including a security interest, in the vessel; at least 45 days have passed since the notification was sent; and the department has not received an objection from any of those persons; and
(d) The applicant submits any other information required by the department as evidence of the applicant’s ownership or right to terminate the security interest, and the department has no credible information indicating theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied security interest, lien, or other claim to an interest in the vessel.
(2) The department may indicate in a certificate of title created under subsection (1) that the certificate was created without submission of a signed certificate or termination statement. Unless credible information indicating theft, fraud, or an undisclosed or unsatisfied security interest, lien, or other claim to an interest in the vessel is delivered to the department not later than 1 year after creation of the certificate, on request in a form and manner required by the department, the department shall remove the indication from the certificate.
(3) Before the department creates a certificate of title under subsection (1), the department may require the applicant to post a reasonable bond or provide an equivalent source of indemnity or security. The bond, indemnity, or other security must be in a form required by the department and provide for indemnification of any owner, purchaser, or other claimant for any expense, loss, delay, or damage, including reasonable attorney fees and costs, but not including incidental or consequential damages, resulting from creation or amendment of the certificate.
(4) Unless the department receives a claim for indemnity not later than 1 year after creation of a certificate of title under subsection (1), on request in a form and manner required by the department, the department shall release any bond, indemnity, or other security. The department is not liable to a person or entity for creating a certificate of title under this section when the department issues the certificate of title in good faith based on the information provided by an applicant. An applicant that submits erroneous or fraudulent information with the intent to mislead the department into issuing a certificate of title under this section is subject to the penalties established in s. 328.045(4) in addition to any other criminal or civil penalties provided by law.
History.s. 22, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.22 Transfer of ownership.
(1) On voluntary transfer of an ownership interest in a vessel covered by a certificate of title, the following requirements apply:
(a) If the certificate is a written certificate of title and the transferor’s interest is noted on the certificate, the transferor shall promptly sign the certificate and deliver it to the transferee. If the transferor does not have possession of the certificate, the person in possession of the certificate has a duty to facilitate the transferor’s compliance with this paragraph. A secured party does not have a duty to facilitate the transferor’s compliance with this paragraph if the proposed transfer is prohibited by the security agreement.
(b) If the certificate of title is an electronic certificate of title, the transferor shall promptly sign by hand, or electronically if available, and deliver to the transferee a record evidencing the transfer of ownership to the transferee.
(c) The transferee has a right enforceable by specific performance to require the transferor to comply with paragraph (a) or paragraph (b).
(2) The creation of a certificate of title identifying the transferee as owner of record satisfies subsection (1).
(3) A failure to comply with subsection (1) or to apply for a new certificate of title does not render a transfer of ownership of a vessel ineffective between the parties. Except as otherwise provided in s. 328.101, s. 328.14(1), s. 328.145, or s. 328.23, a transfer of ownership without compliance with subsection (1) is not effective against another person claiming an interest in the vessel.
(4) A transferor that complies with subsection (1) is not liable as owner of the vessel for an event occurring after the transfer, regardless of whether the transferee applies for a new certificate of title.
History.s. 23, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.23 Transfer of ownership by secured party’s transfer statement.
(1) In this section, “secured party’s transfer statement” means a record signed by the secured party of record stating:
(a) That there has been a default on an obligation secured by the vessel;
(b) That the secured party of record is exercising or has exercised post-default remedies with respect to the vessel;
(c) That by reason of the exercise, the secured party of record has the right to transfer the ownership interest of an owner, and the name of the owner;
(d) The name and last known mailing address of the owner of record and the secured party of record;
(e) The name of the transferee;
(f) Other information required by s. 328.01(2); and
(g) One of the following:
1. The certificate of title is an electronic certificate;
2. The secured party does not have possession of the written certificate of title created in the name of the owner of record; or
3. The secured party is delivering the written certificate of title to the department with the secured party’s transfer statement.
(2) Unless the department rejects a secured party’s transfer statement for a reason stated in s. 328.09(3), not later than 30 days after delivery to the department of the statement and payment of fees and taxes payable under the laws of this state other than this part in connection with the statement or the acquisition or use of the vessel, the department shall:
(a) Accept the statement;
(b) Amend the files of the department to reflect the transfer; and
(c) If the name of the owner whose ownership interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title:
1. Cancel the certificate even if the certificate has not been delivered to the department;
2. Create a new certificate indicating the transferee as owner; and
3. Deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate.
(3) An application under subsection (1) or the creation of a certificate of title under subsection (2) is not by itself a disposition of the vessel and does not by itself relieve the secured party of its duties under chapter 679.
History.s. 24, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.24 Transfer by operation of law.
(1) In this section, “by operation of law” means pursuant to a law or judicial order affecting ownership of a vessel:
(a) Because of death, divorce, or other family law proceeding, merger, consolidation, dissolution, or bankruptcy;
(b) Through the exercise of the rights of a lien creditor or a person having a lien created by statute or rule of law; or
(c) Through other legal process.
(2) A transfer-by-law statement must contain:
(a) The name and last known mailing address of the owner of record and the transferee and the other information required by s. 328.01;
(b) Documentation sufficient to establish the transferee’s ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest;
(c) A statement that:
1. The certificate of title is an electronic certificate of title;
2. The transferee does not have possession of the written certificate of title created in the name of the owner of record; or
3. The transferee is delivering the written certificate to the department with the transfer-by-law statement; and
(d) Except for a transfer described in paragraph (1)(a), evidence that notification of the transfer and the intent to file the transfer-by-law statement has been sent to all persons indicated in the files of the department as having an interest, including a security interest, in the vessel.
(3) Unless the department rejects a transfer-by-law statement for a reason stated in s. 328.09(3) or because the statement does not include documentation satisfactory to the department as to the transferee’s ownership interest or right to acquire the ownership interest, not later than 30 days after delivery to the department of the statement and payment of fees and taxes payable under the law of this state other than this part in connection with the statement or with the acquisition or use of the vessel, the department shall:
(a) Accept the statement;
(b) Amend the files of the department to reflect the transfer; and
(c) If the name of the owner whose ownership interest is being transferred is indicated on the certificate of title:
1. Cancel the certificate even if the certificate has not been delivered to the department;
2. Create a new certificate indicating the transferee as owner;
3. Indicate on the new certificate any security interest indicated on the canceled certificate, unless a court order provides otherwise; and
4. Deliver the new certificate or a record evidencing an electronic certificate.
(4) This section does not apply to a transfer of an interest in a vessel by a secured party under part VI of chapter 679.
History.s. 25, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.25 Supplemental principles of law and equity.Unless displaced by a provision of this part, the principles of law and equity supplement its provisions.
History.s. 26, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
328.30 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.
(1) The department may accept any application provided for under this chapter by electronic or telephonic means.
(2) The department may issue an electronic certificate of title in lieu of printing a paper title.
(3) The department may collect electronic mail addresses and use electronic mail in lieu of the United States Postal Service for the purpose of providing renewal notices.
History.s. 25, ch. 97-300; s. 69, ch. 2012-181.
1328.35 Rulemaking.The department may adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 to implement this part.
History.s. 27, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.37 Validity of rights, duties, and interests flowing from law prior to ch. 2019-76.
(1) The rights, duties, and interests flowing from a transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a vessel which was validly entered into or created before the effective date of this act and would be subject to this act if it had been entered into or created on or after the effective date of this act remain valid on and after the effective date of this act.
(2) This act does not affect an action or proceeding commenced before the effective date of this act.
(3) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (4), a security interest that is enforceable immediately before the effective date of this act and would have priority over the rights of a person who becomes a lien creditor at that time is a perfected security interest under this act.
(4) A security interest perfected immediately before the effective date of this act remains perfected until the earlier of:
(a) The time perfection would have ceased under the law under which the security interest was perfected; or
(b) Three years after the effective date of this act.
(5) This act does not affect the priority of a security interest in a vessel if immediately before the effective date of this act the security interest is enforceable and perfected, and that priority is established.
History.s. 31, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
1328.38 Applicability.Subject to s. 328.37, this act applies to any transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a vessel, even if the transaction, certificate of title, or record was entered into or created before the effective date of this act.
History.s. 32, ch. 2019-76.
1Note.Effective July 1, 2023.
PART II
VESSEL REGISTRATION
328.40 Administration of vessel registration and titling laws; records.
328.42 Suspension or denial of a vessel registration due to support delinquency; dishonored checks.
328.46 Operation of registered vessels.
328.48 Vessel registration, application, certificate, number, decal, duplicate certificate.
328.52 Special manufacturers’ and dealers’ number.
328.54 Federal numbering system adopted.
328.56 Vessel registration number.
328.58 Reciprocity of nonresident or alien vessels.
328.60 Military personnel; registration; penalties.
328.62 Only authorized number to be used.
328.64 Change of interest and address.
328.65 Legislative intent with respect to registration and numbering of vessels.
328.66 County and municipality optional registration fee.
328.68 Exemption of vessels and outboard motors from personal property tax; temporary certificate of registration; vessel registration certificate fee.
328.70 Legislative intent with respect to uniform registration fee, classification of vessels.
328.72 Classification; registration; fees and charges; surcharge; disposition of fees; fines; marine turtle stickers.
328.73 Registration; duties of tax collectors.
328.735 Advanced registration renewal; procedures.
328.74 Stickers or emblems for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund.
328.76 Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund; vessel registration funds; appropriation and distribution.
328.78 Crimes relating to registration decals; penalties.
328.80 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.
328.40 Administration of vessel registration and titling laws; records.
(1) The administration of vessel registration and titling as set forth in this chapter is under the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which shall provide for issuing, handling, and recording of all vessel registration and titling applications and certificates, including the receipt and accounting of vessel registration and titling fees.
(2) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall keep electronic records and perform such other clerical duties as required pertaining to:
(a) Vessel registration and titling.
(b) Suspension of the vessel operating privilege under ss. 327.35-327.355.
(3) All records made or kept by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles under this law are public records except for confidential reports.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 2, ch. 63-103; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 2, ch. 74-327; s. 2, ch. 81-100; s. 3, ch. 84-184; s. 153, ch. 94-356; s. 47, ch. 95-333; s. 52, ch. 96-413; s. 4, ch. 98-308; s. 6, ch. 99-289; s. 40, ch. 2000-313.
Note.Former s. 371.031; s. 327.03.
328.42 Suspension or denial of a vessel registration due to support delinquency; dishonored checks.
(1) The department shall work cooperatively with the Department of Revenue to establish an automated method for periodically disclosing information relating to current owners of registered vessels to the Department of Revenue, the state’s Title IV-D agency. The purpose of this subsection is to promote the public policy of this state relating to child support as established in s. 409.2551. The department shall, when directed by the court or the Department of Revenue pursuant to s. 409.2598, deny or suspend the vessel registration and suspend the vessel operating privilege of an owner found not to be in compliance with a support order, a subpoena, an order to show cause, or a written agreement with the Department of Revenue. The department shall issue or reinstate a registration and reinstate the operating privilege when notified by the court or the Department of Revenue that the owner has complied with the terms of the support order. The department is not liable for any registration denial or suspension, or suspension of operating privileges, resulting from the discharge of its duties under this section.
(2) The department may deny or cancel any vessel registration if the owner pays for the registration by a dishonored check.
History.s. 5, ch. 95-222; s. 52, ch. 99-248; s. 7, ch. 99-289; s. 24, ch. 2001-158; s. 3, ch. 2008-92.
Note.Former s. 327.031.
328.46 Operation of registered vessels.
(1) Every vessel that is required to be registered and that is being operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state shall be registered and numbered within 30 days after purchase by the owner except as specifically exempt. During this 30-day period, the operator is required to have aboard the vessel and available for inspection a bill of sale. The bill of sale for the vessel shall serve as the temporary certificate of number that is required by federal law and must contain the following information:
(a) Make of the vessel.
(b) Length of the vessel.
(c) Type of propulsion.
(d) Hull identification number.
(e) A statement declaring Florida to be the state where the vessel is principally used.
(f) Name of the purchaser.
(g) Address of the purchaser, including ZIP code.
(h) Signature of the purchaser.
(i) Name of the seller.
(j) Signature of the seller.
(k) Date of the sale of the vessel. The date of sale shall also serve as the date of issuance of the temporary certificate of number.
(l) Notice to the purchaser and operator that the temporary authority to use the vessel on the waters of this state is invalid after 30 days following the date of sale of the vessel.
(2) No person shall operate, use, or store or give permission for the operation, use, or storage of any such vessel on such waters unless:
(a) Such vessel is registered within 30 days after purchase by the owner and numbered with the identifying number set forth in the certificate of registration, displayed:
1. In accordance with s. 328.48(4), except, if the vessel is an airboat, the registration number may be displayed on each side of the rudder; or
2. In accordance with 33 C.F.R. s. 173.27, or with a federally approved numbering system of another state; and
(b) The certificate of registration or temporary certificate of number awarded to such vessel is in full force and effect.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 1, ch. 74-62; s. 3, ch. 74-327; s. 3, ch. 81-100; s. 1, ch. 83-102; s. 4, ch. 84-184; s. 49, ch. 95-333; s. 54, ch. 96-413; s. 10, ch. 99-289; s. 22, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.041; s. 327.10.
328.48 Vessel registration, application, certificate, number, decal, duplicate certificate.
(1)(a) The owner of each vessel required by this law to pay a registration fee and secure an identification number shall file an application with the county tax collector. The application shall provide the owner’s name and address; residency status; personal or business identification; and a complete description of the vessel, and shall be accompanied by payment of the applicable fee required in s. 328.72. An individual applicant must provide a valid driver license or identification card issued by this state or another state or a valid passport. A business applicant must provide a federal employer identification number, if applicable, verification that the business is authorized to conduct business in the state, or a Florida city or county business license or number. Registration is not required for any vessel that is not used on the waters of this state.
(b) For purposes of registration, the owner may establish proof of ownership of the vessel by submitting with his or her application an executed bill of sale, a builder’s contract, a manufacturer’s statement of origin, a federal marine document, or any other document acceptable to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and presented at the time of registration to the agency issuing the registration certificate.
(2) Each vessel operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must be registered as a commercial vessel or recreational vessel as defined in s. 327.02, unless it is:
(a) A vessel operated, used, and stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds;
(b) A vessel owned by the United States Government;
(c) A vessel used exclusively as a ship’s lifeboat; or
(d) A non-motor-powered vessel less than 16 feet in length or a non-motor-powered canoe, kayak, racing shell, or rowing scull, regardless of length.
(3) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall issue certificates of registration and numbers for city, county, and state-owned vessels, charging only the service fees required in s. 328.72(7) and (8), provided the vessels are used for purposes other than recreation.
(4) Each certificate of registration issued shall state among other items the numbers awarded to the vessel, the hull identification number, the name and address of the owner, and a description of the vessel, except that certificates of registration for vessels constructed or assembled by the owner registered for the first time shall state all the foregoing information except the hull identification number. The numbers shall be placed on each side of the forward half of the vessel in such position as to provide clear legibility for identification, except, if the vessel is an airboat, the numbers may be placed on each side of the rudder. The numbers awarded to the vessel shall read from left to right and shall be in block characters of good proportion not less than 3 inches in height. The numbers shall be of a solid color which will contrast with the color of the background and shall be so maintained as to be clearly visible and legible; i.e., dark numbers on a light background or light numbers on a dark background. The certificate of registration shall be pocket-sized and shall be available for inspection on the vessel for which issued whenever such vessel is in operation.
(5) A decal signifying the year or years during which the certificate is valid shall be furnished by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles with each registration certificate issued. The decal issued to an undocumented vessel shall be displayed by affixing it to the port (left) side of the vessel within 6 inches before or after the registration number. The decal issued to a documented vessel shall be placed on the port (left) side of the vessel and may be affixed to a window or the windshield on the port (left) side of the vessel in lieu of being placed on the hull. A decal issued to a dealer shall be affixed, with the registration number, to a removable sign pursuant to s. 328.52(2). Any decal for a previous year shall be removed from a vessel operating on the waters of the state.
(6) When a vessel decal has been stolen, the owner of the vessel for which the decal was issued shall make application to the department for a replacement. The application shall contain the decal number being replaced and a statement that the item was stolen. If the application includes a copy of the police report prepared in response to a report of a stolen decal, such decal shall be replaced at no charge.
(7) Any decal lost in the mail may be replaced at no charge. The service charge shall not be applied to this replacement; however, the application for a replacement shall contain a statement of such fact, the decal number, and the date issued.
(8) Anyone guilty of falsely certifying any facts relating to application, certificate, transfer, number, decal, duplicate, or replacement certificates or any information required under this section shall be punished as provided under this chapter.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 61-511; s. 3, ch. 63-103; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; ss. 4, 15, ch. 74-327; s. 1, ch. 80-266; s. 50, ch. 80-274; s. 4, ch. 81-100; s. 1, ch. 82-181; s. 2, ch. 83-102; s. 5, ch. 84-184; s. 2, ch. 85-287; s. 5, ch. 85-324; s. 2, ch. 88-336; s. 450, ch. 95-148; s. 50, ch. 95-333; s. 55, ch. 96-413; s. 53, ch. 99-248; s. 11, ch. 99-289; s. 49, ch. 2000-152; s. 41, ch. 2000-313; s. 26, ch. 2000-362; s. 2, ch. 2008-106; s. 23, ch. 2009-86; s. 71, ch. 2013-160.
Note.Former s. 371.051; s. 327.11.
328.52 Special manufacturers’ and dealers’ number.
(1) The description of a vessel used for demonstration, sales promotional, or testing purposes by a manufacturer or dealer shall be omitted from the certificate of registration. In lieu of the description, the word “manufacturer” or “dealer,” as appropriate, shall be plainly marked on the certificate.
(2) The manufacturer or dealer shall have the number awarded printed upon or attached to a removable sign or signs to be temporarily but firmly mounted upon or attached to the vessel being demonstrated, promoted, or tested so long as the display meets the requirements of this chapter.
(3) A dealer registration shall not be issued to a manufacturer or a dealer pursuant to this chapter unless he or she provides to the county tax collector a copy of his or her current sales tax certificate of registration, if such certificate is required, from the Department of Revenue and a copy of his or her current commercial or occupational business license if such license is required by the local governmental entity in which the manufacturer or dealer operates a vessel.
(4) A manufacturer or dealer shall not use or authorize the use of any vessel registered pursuant to this section for other than demonstration, sales promotional, or testing purposes. Such vessel shall not be used for any commercial or other use not specifically authorized by this section.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 451, ch. 95-148; s. 13, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.071; s. 327.13.
328.54 Federal numbering system adopted.
(1) The vessel registration number issued shall be of the pattern prescribed by regulations of the United States Coast Guard and shall be divided into parts. The first part shall consist of the symbols identifying the state followed by a combination of numerals and letters which furnish individual vessel identification. The group of digits appearing between letters shall be separated from those letters by hyphens or equivalent spaces.
(2) The first part of the number shall be a symbol indicating Florida which shall be FL.
(3) The remainder of the vessel number shall consist of not more than four Arabic numerals and two capital letters or not more than three Arabic numerals and three capital letters, in sequence, separated by a hyphen or equivalent space, in accordance with the serials, numerically and alphabetically.
(4) Since the letters I, O, and Q may be mistaken for Arabic numerals, all letter sequences using I, O, and Q shall be omitted. Objectionable words formed by the use of two or three letters shall not be used.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 14, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.091; s. 327.14.
328.56 Vessel registration number.Each vessel that is operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state must display a commercial or recreational Florida registration number, unless it is:
(1) A vessel operated, used, and stored exclusively on private lakes and ponds;
(2) A vessel owned by the United States Government;
(3) A vessel used exclusively as a ship’s lifeboat;
(4) A non-motor-powered vessel less than 16 feet in length or a non-motor-powered canoe, kayak, racing shell, or rowing scull, regardless of length;
(5) A federally documented vessel;
(6) A vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, if the vessel has not been within this state for a period in excess of 90 consecutive days;
(7) A vessel operating under a valid temporary certificate of number;
(8) A vessel from a country other than the United States temporarily using the waters of this state; or
(9) An undocumented vessel used exclusively for racing.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; ss. 2, 3, ch. 61-511; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 52, ch. 95-333; s. 56, ch. 96-413; s. 15, ch. 99-289; s. 27, ch. 2000-362; s. 3, ch. 2008-106; s. 24, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.131; s. 327.15.
328.58 Reciprocity of nonresident or alien vessels.The owner of any vessel already covered by a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded by:
(1) Another state pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state;
(2) The United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system; or
(3) The United States Coast Guard for a federally documented vessel with a valid registration in full force and effect from another state,

shall record the number with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles prior to operating, using, or storing the vessel on the waters of this state in excess of the 90-day reciprocity period provided for in this chapter. Such recordation shall be pursuant to the procedure required for the award of an original registration number, except that no additional or substitute registration number shall be issued if the vessel owner maintains the previously awarded registration number in full force and effect.

History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 57, ch. 96-413; s. 16, ch. 99-289; s. 25, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.081; s. 327.16.
328.60 Military personnel; registration; penalties.Any military personnel on active duty in this state operating, using, or storing a vessel on the waters of this state that has a registration number in full force and effect which has been awarded to it pursuant to a federally approved numbering system of another state or by the United States Coast Guard in a state without a federally approved numbering system, or a federally documented vessel with a valid registration in full force and effect from another state shall not be required to register his or her vessel in this state while such certificate of registration remains valid; but, at the expiration of such registration certificate, all registration and titling shall be issued by this state. In the case of a federally documented vessel, the issuance of a title is not required by this chapter.
History.ss. 1, 5, ch. 67-586; s. 302, ch. 71-136; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 452, ch. 95-148; s. 58, ch. 96-413; s. 17, ch. 99-289; s. 26, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.082; s. 327.17.
328.62 Only authorized number to be used.No number other than the number awarded to a vessel or granted reciprocity pursuant to this chapter shall be painted, attached, or otherwise displayed on either side of the bow of such vessel.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 18, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.111; s. 327.18.
328.64 Change of interest and address.
(1) The owner shall furnish the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles notice of the transfer of all or any part of his or her interest in a vessel registered or titled in this state pursuant to this chapter or of the destruction or abandonment of such vessel, within 30 days thereof, on a form prescribed by the department. Such transfer, destruction, or abandonment shall terminate the certificate for such vessel, except that in the case of a transfer of a part interest which does not affect the owner’s right to operate such vessel, such transfer shall not terminate the certificate. The department shall provide the form for such notice and shall attach the form to every vessel title issued or reissued.
(2) Any holder of a certificate of registration shall notify the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or the county tax collector within 30 days, if his or her address no longer conforms to the address appearing on the certificate and shall, as a part of such notification, furnish the department or such county tax collector with the new address. The department shall provide in its rules and regulations for the surrender of the certificate bearing the former address and its replacement with a certificate bearing the new address or for the alteration of an outstanding certificate to show the new address of the holder.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 5, ch. 74-327; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 453, ch. 95-148; s. 53, ch. 95-333; s. 19, ch. 99-289; s. 4, ch. 2006-309; s. 46, ch. 2007-5.
Note.Former s. 371.101; s. 327.19.
328.65 Legislative intent with respect to registration and numbering of vessels.It is the legislative intent that vessels be registered and numbered uniformly throughout the state. The purpose of ss. 327.58, 327.70, 327.72, 328.66, 328.68, and 328.72 is to make registration and numbering procedures similar to those of automobiles and airplanes and to provide for a vessel registration fee and certificate so as to determine the ownership of vessels which are operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state and to aid in the advancement of maritime safety.
History.s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 8, ch. 74-327; s. 6, ch. 84-184; s. 20, ch. 99-289; s. 27, ch. 2009-86.
Note.Former s. 371.62; s. 327.21.
328.66 County and municipality optional registration fee.
(1) Any county may impose an annual registration fee on vessels registered, operated, used, or stored on the waters of this state within its jurisdiction. This fee shall be 50 percent of the applicable state registration fee as provided in s. 328.72(1) and not the reduced vessel registration fee specified in s. 328.72(18). However, the first $1 of every registration imposed under this subsection shall be remitted to the state for deposit in the Save the Manatee Trust Fund created within the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and shall be used only for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4). All other moneys received from such fee shall be expended for the patrol, regulation, and maintenance of the lakes, rivers, and waters and for other boating-related activities of such municipality or county. A municipality that was imposing a registration fee before April 1, 1984, may continue to levy such fee, notwithstanding the provisions of this section.
(2) Any county which imposes an annual registration fee may establish, by interlocal agreement with one or more of the municipalities located in the county, a distribution formula for dividing the proceeds of the fee or for use of the funds for boating-related projects located within the county or the municipality or municipalities, or the county and the municipality or municipalities.
History.s. 22, ch. 99-289; s. 28, ch. 2000-362; s. 197, ch. 2008-247; s. 28, ch. 2009-86; s. 3, ch. 2016-126.
328.68 Exemption of vessels and outboard motors from personal property tax; temporary certificate of registration; vessel registration certificate fee.
(1) Every vessel registered as provided herein, and outboard motor capable of propelling any such vessel, shall be exempt from any personal property tax and in lieu thereof shall pay a vessel registration certificate fee. A certificate of registration shall be issued for any documented vessel, the owner of which has paid the registration certificate fee, but no state registration number shall be issued to such vessel.
(2) A temporary certificate of registration may be issued to a vessel for use in the following cases:
(a) The owner has made application to the United States Coast Guard for documentation and has paid the applicable registration certificate fee pursuant to s. 328.72(1). A temporary certificate of registration shall only be issued upon proof that all applicable state sales taxes have been paid and that the application for documentation is on file with the United States Coast Guard. Any reregistration of such a vessel without the submission of the vessel’s documentation papers shall require written verification from the United States Coast Guard as to the current status of the application for the vessel’s documentation. Upon receipt of the vessel’s documentation papers, the owner shall bring them to the agent issuing the temporary certificate for official recording of information.
(b) An out-of-state resident, subject to registration in this state, who must secure ownership documentation from the home state, and is unable to submit an out-of-state title because it is being held by an out-of-state lienholder.
History.s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 8, ch. 74-327; s. 25, ch. 79-334; s. 77, ch. 82-226; s. 7, ch. 84-184; s. 2, ch. 85-252; s. 59, ch. 96-413; s. 54, ch. 99-248; s. 23, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.64; s. 327.23.
328.70 Legislative intent with respect to uniform registration fee, classification of vessels.
(1) It is declared to be the intent of the Legislature that all vessels in the state be subject to a uniform registration fee at a rate based on the length of the vessels. It is also declared to be the intent of the Legislature that all vessels be classified as either “commercial” or “recreational” and that all such vessels be registered according to the provisions of s. 328.72.
(2) Any vessel that is required to be registered and that meets the definition of a commercial fishing vessel or a commercial vessel shall be classified and registered as a commercial vessel.
(3) Any vessel which is required to be registered and is not used for commercial purposes shall be classified and registered as a “recreational vessel.”
(4) Livery vessels shall be classified as “commercial” or “recreational” based on the manner in which they are used.
History.s. 1, ch. 70-336; s. 8, ch. 74-327; s. 8, ch. 84-184; s. 24, ch. 99-289; s. 29, ch. 2000-362; s. 13, ch. 2017-163.
Note.Former s. 371.645; s. 327.24.
328.72 Classification; registration; fees and charges; surcharge; disposition of fees; fines; marine turtle stickers.
(1) VESSEL REGISTRATION FEE.
(a) Vessels that are required to be registered shall be classified for registration purposes according to the following schedule and, except as provided in subsection (18), the registration certificate fee shall be in the following amounts:
1. Class A-1Less than 12 feet in length, and all canoes to which propulsion motors have been attached, regardless of length: $5.50 for each 12-month period registered.
2. Class A-212 feet or more and less than 16 feet in length: $16.25 for each 12-month period registered. To county: 2.85 for each 12-month period registered.
3. Class 116 feet or more and less than 26 feet in length: $28.75 for each 12-month period registered. To county: 8.85 for each 12-month period registered.
4. Class 226 feet or more and less than 40 feet in length: $78.25 for each 12-month period registered. To county: 32.85 for each 12-month period registered.
5. Class 340 feet or more and less than 65 feet in length: $127.75 for each 12-month period registered. To county: 56.85 for each 12-month period registered.
6. Class 465 feet or more and less than 110 feet in length: $152.75 for each 12-month period registered. To county: 68.85 for each 12-month period registered.
7. Class 5110 feet or more in length: $189.75 for each 12-month period registered. To county: 86.85 for each 12-month period registered.
8. Dealer registration certificate: $25.50 for each 12-month period registered.
(b) The county portion of the vessel registration fee is derived from recreational vessels only.
(2) ANTIQUE VESSEL REGISTRATION FEE.
(a) A vessel that is at least 30 years old, used only for recreational purposes, and powered by the vessel’s original-type power plant may be registered as an antique vessel. When applying for registration as an antique vessel, the owner of such a vessel shall submit certification, as prescribed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or from a marine surveyor that the vessel meets the requirements of this paragraph.
(b) The registration number for an antique vessel shall be permanently attached to each side of the forward half of the vessel as provided in ss. 328.48 and 328.54.
(c) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may issue a decal identifying the vessel as an antique vessel. The decal shall be displayed as provided in ss. 328.48 and 328.54.
(3) ALIEN OR NONRESIDENT LICENSE FEE.An additional license fee of $50 for each 12-month period registered shall be required of all aliens or nonresidents of the state on all vessels not subject to a specific reciprocal agreement with another state, which vessels are used for commercial purposes and owned in whole or in part by such aliens or nonresidents. Such fee shall be in addition to the vessel registration fee required by this section.
(4) TRANSFER OF OWNERSHIP.
(a) When the ownership of a registered vessel changes, an application for transfer of registration shall be filed with the county tax collector by the new owner within 30 days with a fee of $3.25. The county tax collector shall retain $2.25 of the fee and shall remit $1 to the department. A refund may not be made for any unused portion of a registration period.
(b) If a vessel is an antique as defined in subsection (2), the application shall be accompanied by either a certificate of title, a bill of sale and a registration, or a bill of sale and an affidavit by the owner defending the title from all claims. The bill of sale must contain a complete vessel description to include the hull identification number and engine number, if appropriate; the year, make, and color of the vessel; the selling price; and the signatures of the seller and purchaser.
(5) REPLACEMENT DECAL.A decal issued to replace a lost or misplaced decal may be obtained by submitting $2.25 with a request for such replacement decal to the county tax collector. A replacement decal may not be issued except upon receipt of a written request by the registered owner or an appointed representative.
(6) CHANGE OF CLASSIFICATION.If the classification of a vessel changes from recreational to commercial, or from commercial to recreational and a current registration certificate has been issued to the owner, the owner shall within 30 days forward his or her certificate to the county tax collector with a fee of $2.25 and a new certificate shall be issued.
(7) SERVICE FEE.In addition to other registration fees, the vessel owner shall pay the tax collector a $2.25 service fee for each registration issued, replaced, or renewed. Except as provided in subsection (15), all fees, other than the service charge, collected by a tax collector must be remitted to the department not later than 7 working days following the last day of the week in which the money was remitted. Vessels may travel in salt water or fresh water.
(8) MAIL SERVICE CHARGE.A mail service charge shall be collected for each registration or reregistration mailed by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or any tax collector. All registrations and reregistrations shall be mailed by first-class mail. The amount of the mail service charge shall be the actual postage required rounded to the nearest 5 cents, plus a 25-cent handling charge. The mail service charge shall be in addition to the service charge provided in subsection (7) and shall be used and accounted for in accordance with law.
(9) SURCHARGE.In addition, there is hereby levied and imposed on each vessel registration fee imposed under subsection (1) a surcharge in the amount of $1 for each 12-month period of registration, which shall be collected in the same manner as the fee and deposited into the State Agency Law Enforcement Radio System Trust Fund of the Department of Management Services.
(10) DUPLICATE REGISTRATION CERTIFICATE.A duplicate registration certificate to replace a lost or misplaced certificate may be obtained from a tax collector for $2.25. A duplicate certificate will not be issued except by written request of the registered owner or a person authorized by the owner to make such a request.
(11) VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS.The application form for boat registration shall include a provision to allow each applicant to indicate a desire to pay an additional voluntary contribution to the Save the Manatee Trust Fund to be used for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4). This contribution shall be in addition to all other fees and charges. The amount of the request for a voluntary contribution solicited shall be $2 or $5 per registrant. A registrant who provides a voluntary contribution of $5 or more shall be given a sticker or emblem by the tax collector to display, which signifies support for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund. All voluntary contributions shall be deposited in the Save the Manatee Trust Fund and shall be used for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4). The form shall also include language permitting a voluntary contribution of $5 per applicant, which contribution shall be transferred into the 1Election Campaign Financing Trust Fund. A statement providing an explanation of the purpose of the trust fund shall also be included.
(12) REGISTRATION.
(a) “Registration period” is a period of 12 months during which a vessel registration is valid.
(b) Any vessel owner who is subject to registration under subparagraph (c)1. is eligible for an extended registration period that begins the first day of the birth month of the owner and ends the last day of the month immediately preceding the owner’s birth month 24 months after the beginning of the registration period. If the vessel is registered in the name of more than one person, the birth month of the person whose name first appears on the registration shall be used to determine the extended registration period. For a vessel subject to this extended registration period, the renewal period is the 30-day period ending at midnight on the vessel owner’s date of birth.
(c) The following registration periods and renewal periods are established:
1. For vessels owned by individuals, the registration period begins the first day of the birth month of the owner and ends the last day of the month immediately preceding the owner’s birth month in the succeeding year. If the vessel is registered in the name of more than one person, the birth month of the person whose name first appears on the registration shall be used to determine the registration period. For a vessel subject to this registration period, the renewal period is the 30-day period ending at midnight on the vessel owner’s date of birth.
2. For vessels owned by companies, corporations, governmental entities, and registrations issued to dealers and manufacturers, the registration period begins July 1 and ends June 30. The renewal period is the 30-day period beginning June 1.
(13) EXPIRED REGISTRATION.The operation, use, or storage on the waters of this state of a previously registered vessel is subject to the following penalties:
(a) The owner or operator of a vessel with an expired registration of 6 months or less commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in s. 327.73(1)(g)1.
(b) The owner or operator of a vessel with an expired registration of more than 6 months commits a noncriminal infraction, punishable as provided in s. 327.73(1)(g)2. or 3.

This subsection does not apply to vessels lawfully stored at a dock or in a marina.

(14) EXEMPTIONS.The following vessels are exempt from provisions of subsection (1):
(a) A vessel that is owned and operated by Sea Explorer or Sea Scout units of the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America, the Florida Association of Christian Child Caring Agencies, Inc., Safe Harbor Haven, Inc., or the Associated Marine Institutes, Inc., and its affiliates.
(b) An antique vessel as defined in paragraph (2)(a).
(c) A non-motor-powered sailing vessel that is owned by a nonprofit entity and used exclusively for teaching boating safety, boat handling, or seamanship skills, including the racing of such sailing vessels.

Such vessels shall be issued certificates of registration and numbers upon application and payment of the service fee provided in subsection (7).

(15) DISTRIBUTION OF FEES.Except as provided in this subsection, moneys designated for the use of the counties, as specified in subsection (1), shall be distributed by the tax collector to the board of county commissioners for use only as provided in this section. Such moneys to be returned to the counties are for the sole purposes of providing, maintaining, or operating recreational channel marking and other uniform waterway markers, public boat ramps, lifts, and hoists, marine railways, boat piers, docks, mooring buoys, and other public launching facilities; and removing derelict vessels, debris that specifically impede boat access, not including the dredging of channels, and vessels and floating structures deemed a hazard to public safety and health for failure to comply with s. 327.53. Counties shall demonstrate through an annual detailed accounting report of vessel registration revenues that the registration fees were spent as provided in this subsection. This report shall be provided to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission no later than November 1 of each year. If, before January 1 of each calendar year, the accounting report meeting the prescribed criteria has still not been provided to the commission, the tax collector of that county may not distribute the moneys designated for the use of counties, as specified in subsection (1), to the board of county commissioners but shall, for the next calendar year, remit such moneys to the state for deposit into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. The commission shall return those moneys to the county if the county fully complies with this section within that calendar year. If the county does not fully comply with this section within that calendar year, the moneys shall remain within the Marine Resources Trust Fund and may be appropriated for the purposes specified in this subsection.
(a) From the vessel registration fees designated for use by the counties in subsection (1), $1 shall be remitted to the state for deposit into the Save the Manatee Trust Fund.
(b) From the vessel registration fees designated for use by the counties in subsection (1), $1 shall be remitted to the state for deposit into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund to fund a grant program for public launching facilities pursuant to s. 206.606, giving priority consideration to counties with more than 35,000 registered vessels.
(c) From the vessel registration fees designated for use by the counties in subsection (1), the following amounts shall be remitted to the state for deposit into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund to fund derelict vessel removal grants, as appropriated by the Legislature pursuant to s. 376.15:
1. Class A-2: $0.25 for each 12-month period registered.
2. Class 1: $2.06 for each 12-month period registered.
3. Class 2: $9.26 for each 12-month period registered.
4. Class 3: $16.45 for each 12-month period registered.
5. Class 4: $20.06 for each 12-month period registered.
6. Class 5: $25.46 for each 12-month period registered.
(d) Any undisbursed balances identified pursuant to s. 216.301, shall be available for reappropriation to fund the Florida Boating Improvement Program or public boating access in accordance with 2s. 206.606.
(16) MARINE TURTLE STICKER.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall offer for sale with vessel registrations a waterproof sticker in the shape of a marine turtle at an additional cost of $5, the proceeds of which shall be deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund to be used for marine turtle protection, research, and recovery efforts pursuant to the provisions of s. 379.2431(1).
(17) FORMS AND NOTICES.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall prescribe and provide suitable forms for applications and other notices and forms necessary to administer the provisions of this chapter.
(18) REDUCED VESSEL REGISTRATION FEE.
(a) As used in this subsection, the term:
1. “Emergency position-indicating radio beacon” means a device installed on the vessel being registered that:
a. Transmits distress signals at a frequency between 406.0 and 406.1 MHz;
b. Is manufactured by a company approved to manufacture beacons by the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme; and
c. Is registered with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
2. “Full registration fee amount” means the registration fee as provided in subsection (1) and not the reduced vessel registration fee specified in this subsection.
3. “Personal locator beacon” means a device designed to be carried by an individual that:
a. Transmits distress signals at a frequency between 406.0 and 406.1 MHz;
b. Is manufactured by a company approved to manufacture beacons by the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme; and
c. Is registered with the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
(b) The registration certificate fee imposed under subsection (1) for a recreational vessel equipped with an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, or for a recreational vessel the owner of which owns a personal locator beacon, shall be reduced to the following amounts for each 12-month period registered:
1. Class A-1$2.95.
2. Class A-2$11.00.
3. Class 1$20.40.
4. Class 2$57.50.
5. Class 3$94.95.
6. Class 4$113.40.
7. Class 5$141.15.
(c) A person who owns a personal locator beacon and who owns more than one recreational vessel qualifies to pay the reduced fee under paragraph (b) for only one such vessel.
(d) In order to qualify for reduced registration fees under this subsection, a vessel owner must, at the time of registration, demonstrate that the vessel is equipped with an emergency position-indicating radio beacon or that the vessel owner owns a personal locator beacon. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may adopt rules specifying what constitutes sufficient proof to qualify for reduced registration fees under this subsection, but such proof must contain, at a minimum, the following:
1. The name of the beacon owner.
2. The expiration date of the beacon’s registration.
3. The unique identification number of the beacon.
4. For vessels equipped with an emergency position-indicating radio beacon, identification of the vessel equipped with the beacon.
(e) For each vessel registration qualifying for reduced registration fees under this subsection, an amount equal to the difference between the full registration fee amount and the actual amount of registration fee paid for such vessel registration shall be transferred from the General Revenue Fund to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and shall be distributed pursuant to s. 328.76.
History.s. 1, ch. 65-361; s. 2, ch. 67-586; s. 1, ch. 69-300; s. 4, ch. 70-336; s. 1, ch. 73-146; ss. 9, 15, ch. 74-327; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 81, ch. 79-164; s. 1, ch. 79-307; ss. 26, 30, ch. 79-334; s. 1, ch. 79-364; s. 2, ch. 80-266; s. 51, ch. 80-274; s. 9, ch. 81-100; s. 2, ch. 82-97; s. 2, ch. 82-181; s. 78, ch. 82-226; s. 9, ch. 84-184; s. 66, ch. 84-338; s. 6, ch. 85-324; s. 2, ch. 87-392; s. 3, ch. 88-144; s. 3, ch. 88-336; s. 5, ch. 89-168; s. 2, ch. 90-219; s. 29, ch. 91-107; s. 1, ch. 91-199; s. 1, ch. 91-215; s. 83, ch. 91-221; s. 4, ch. 92-72; s. 279, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 3, ch. 94-241; s. 952, ch. 95-148; s. 54, ch. 95-333; s. 16, ch. 96-321; s. 1, ch. 97-16; s. 40, ch. 97-96; s. 41, ch. 97-300; s. 15, ch. 99-4; s. 18, ch. 99-5; s. 113, ch. 99-13; s. 19, ch. 99-245; s. 55, ch. 99-248; s. 25, ch. 99-289; s. 39, ch. 99-399; s. 50, ch. 2000-152; s. 42, ch. 2000-313; ss. 30, 31, ch. 2000-362; s. 1, ch. 2001-369; s. 1, ch. 2004-75; s. 12, ch. 2005-157; s. 5, ch. 2006-309; s. 7, ch. 2007-242; s. 4, ch. 2008-106; s. 198, ch. 2008-247; s. 29, ch. 2009-86; s. 1, ch. 2013-56; s. 2, ch. 2013-194; s. 4, ch. 2014-136; s. 1, ch. 2016-126; s. 1, ch. 2017-28; s. 14, ch. 2017-163; s. 5, ch. 2019-54.
1Note.The trust fund expired, effective November 4, 1996, by operation of s. 19(f), Art. III of the State Constitution.
2Note.Substituted by the editors for a reference to s. 206.06 to correct an apparent error. Section 206.606 relates to distribution of certain proceeds and references the Florida Boating Improvement Program; s. 206.06 relates to the power of the Department of Revenue to estimate an amount of fuel taxes due and unpaid.
Note.Former s. 371.65; s. 327.25.
328.73 Registration; duties of tax collectors.
(1) The tax collectors in the counties of the state, as authorized agents of the department, shall issue registration certificates and vessel numbers and decals to applicants, subject to the requirements of law and in accordance with rules of the department.
(2) Each tax collector shall keep a full and complete record and account of all vessel decals or other properties received by him or her from the department or from any other source and shall make prompt remittance of moneys collected by him or her at the times and in the manner prescribed by law.
(3) A fee of 50 cents shall be charged in addition to the fees required under s. 328.72 on every vessel decal registration sold to cover the cost of the Florida Real Time Vehicle Information System. The fees collected under this section shall be deposited into the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund and shall be used to fund that system and may be used to fund the general operations of the department.
(4) Notwithstanding chapter 116, every county officer within this state authorized to collect funds provided for in this chapter shall pay all sums officially received by the officer into the State Treasury no later than 5 working days after the close of the business day in which the officer received the funds. Payment by county officers to the state shall be made by means of electronic funds transfer.
History.s. 56, ch. 99-248; s. 51, ch. 2000-152; s. 43, ch. 2000-313; s. 16, ch. 2002-235.
328.735 Advanced registration renewal; procedures.
(1) The owner of any vessel currently registered in this state may file an application for renewal of registration with the department, or its authorized agent in the county wherein the owner resides, any time during the 3 months preceding the date of expiration of the registration period.
(2) Upon the filing of the application and payment of the appropriate vessel registration fee and service charges required by s. 328.72 and any additional fees required by law, the department or its agents shall issue to the owner of the vessel a decal and registration. When the decal is affixed to the vessel, the registration is renewed for the appropriate registration period.
(3) Any person who uses a vessel decal without lawful authority or who willfully violates any rule of the department relating to this section shall be punished as provided under this chapter.
History.s. 57, ch. 99-248; s. 52, ch. 2000-152; s. 44, ch. 2000-313.
328.74 Stickers or emblems for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund.The commission shall prepare stickers or emblems signifying support for the Save the Manatee Trust Fund which shall be given to persons who contribute to the Save the Manatee Trust Fund as provided in s. 328.72. The commission may accept stickers or emblems donated by any governmental or nongovernmental entity for the purposes of this section.
History.s. 4, ch. 91-199; s. 156, ch. 94-356; s. 20, ch. 99-245; s. 26, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 327.26.
328.76 Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund; vessel registration funds; appropriation and distribution.
(1) Except as otherwise specified in this subsection and less the amount equal to any administrative costs which shall be deposited in the Highway Safety Operating Trust Fund, in each fiscal year, all funds collected from the registration of vessels through the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the tax collectors of the state and funds transferred from the General Revenue Fund pursuant to s. 328.72(18), except for those funds designated as the county portion pursuant to s. 328.72(1), shall be deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund for recreational channel marking; public launching facilities; law enforcement and quality control programs; aquatic weed control; manatee protection, recovery, rescue, rehabilitation, and release; and marine mammal protection and recovery. The funds collected pursuant to s. 328.72(1) shall be transferred as follows:
(a) In each fiscal year, an amount equal to $1.50 for each commercial and recreational vessel registered in this state shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to the Save the Manatee Trust Fund and shall be used only for the purposes specified in s. 379.2431(4).
(b) An amount equal to $2 from each recreational vessel registration fee, except that for class A-1 vessels, shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to the Invasive Plant Control Trust Fund in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for aquatic weed research and control.
(c) An amount equal to 40 percent of the registration fees from commercial vessels shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to the Invasive Plant Control Trust Fund in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for aquatic plant research and control.
(d) An amount equal to 40 percent of the registration fees from commercial vessels shall be transferred by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, on a monthly basis, to the General Inspection Trust Fund of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These funds shall be used for shellfish and aquaculture development and quality control programs.
(2) All funds collected pursuant to s. 379.361(2) shall be deposited in the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund. Such funds shall be used to pay the cost of implementing the saltwater products license program. Additional proceeds from the licensing revenue shall be distributed among the following program functions:
(a) No more than 15 percent shall go to marine law enforcement;
(b) Twenty-five percent shall go to the Florida Saltwater Products Promotion Trust Fund within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, on a monthly basis, for the purpose of providing marketing and extension services including industry information and education; and
(c) The remainder shall go to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, for use in marine research and statistics development, including quota management.
History.s. 1, ch. 59-399; s. 2, ch. 61-119; s. 1, ch. 63-105; s. 1, ch. 65-361; ss. 12, 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 1, ch. 69-400; s. 5, ch. 70-336; s. 5, ch. 74-327; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 11, ch. 83-134; s. 10, ch. 84-184; s. 67, ch. 84-338; s. 2, ch. 85-108; s. 6, ch. 89-168; s. 4, ch. 89-250; s. 3, ch. 90-219; s. 2, ch. 91-199; s. 35, ch. 92-151; s. 157, ch. 94-356; s. 32, ch. 95-146; s. 55, ch. 95-333; s. 17, ch. 96-321; s. 114, ch. 99-13; s. 20, ch. 99-205; s. 21, ch. 99-245; s. 27, ch. 99-289; s. 3, ch. 99-312; ss. 32, 33, ch. 2000-362; s. 8, ch. 2000-364; s. 18, ch. 2001-196; s. 2, ch. 2001-369; s. 12, ch. 2008-150; s. 199, ch. 2008-247; s. 72, ch. 2013-160; s. 2, ch. 2016-126; s. 12, ch. 2018-111; s. 46, ch. 2019-3.
Note.Former s. 371.171; s. 327.28.
328.78 Crimes relating to registration decals; penalties.
(1) It is unlawful for any person to make, alter, forge, counterfeit, or reproduce a Florida registration decal unless authorized by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(2) It is unlawful for any person knowingly to have in his or her possession a forged, counterfeit, or imitation Florida registration decal, or reproduction of a decal, unless possession by such person has been duly authorized by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(3) It is unlawful for any person to barter, trade, sell, supply, agree to supply, aid in supplying, or give away a Florida registration decal or to conspire to barter, trade, sell, supply, agree to supply, aid in supplying, or give away a registration decal, unless duly authorized to issue the decal by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, as provided in this chapter or in rules of the department.
(4) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.
History.s. 1, ch. 80-266; s. 454, ch. 95-148; s. 56, ch. 95-333; s. 28, ch. 99-289.
Note.Former s. 371.053; s. 327.29.
1328.80 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.The commission is authorized to accept any application provided for under this chapter by electronic or telephonic means.
History.s. 24, ch. 97-300; s. 36, ch. 99-245; s. 32, ch. 99-289.
1Note.As amended by s. 36, ch. 99-245, and transferred from s. 327.90 to s. 328.80 by s. 32, ch. 99-289. For a description of multiple acts in the same session affecting a statutory provision, see preface to the Florida Statutes, “Statutory Construction.” Section 328.80 was also amended by s. 32, ch. 99-289, and that version reads:

328.80 Transactions by electronic or telephonic means.The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is authorized to accept any application provided for under this chapter by electronic or telephonic means.

Note.Former s. 327.90.