Livery Regulations and Safety Information
A livery is defined in section 327.54, Florida Statute, as:
- A person, corporation, company, business, or entity;
- that advertises a livery vessel for use by another;
- in exchange for any type of consideration; and
- does not provide the renter or lessee with a captain, crew, or any type of staff or personnel to operate, oversee, maintain, or manage the vessel.
*Note: A vessel rented or leased by a livery is a livery vessel as defined in FS 327.02, F.S. The term “Bareboat” is not defined or used in Florida Statutes.
A livery is not:
- A public or private school or postsecondary institution located within Florida.
- A vessel that was not advertised AND was loaned to someone who the vessel owner knows, regardless of whether consideration was given.
- A rented vessel if the renter is provided a captain, crew, or any type of staff or personnel to operate, oversee, maintain, or manage the vessel.
Yes. Liveries need a state issued, no-cost Livery Operator Permit if they are renting motorboats, personal watercraft (PWC), paddlecraft, sailboats, or houseboats that are being operated on the waters of the state.
Liveries that operate in Florida without a valid Livery Operator Permit are in violation of section 327.54(2), Florida Statutes, which is a first degree misdemeanor subject to a $1,000 fine. (s.775.083, F.S.).
Livery Operator Permits may be obtained from the FWC. Permits are issued at no cost and are valid for one year. Permits must be renewed annually and the expiration date will be set to the business creation date or birthday of the individual named on the permit.
Paperwork for renewal can be submitted prior to the expiration of a current permit, however, the permit will not be active until after the previous permit expiration date.
To qualify for and obtain a permit, the livery must complete the FWC Livery Permit Checklist Form (FWC 311).
The Livery Permit Checklist form requires the applicant to provide documentation of the following:
- A listing of all vessels offered for rent or lease
- Proof of valid insurance coverage
Valid insurance coverage is as follows:
Coverage for the livery (for accident, loss, injury, property damage or other casualties) in the amount of at least $500,000/person and $1 million/event.
- Statement from insurance company of the same coverage for the renter ($500,000/person and $1 million/event)
- Statement from the livery that the renter has an option to purchase additional insurance coverage.
NOTE: Effective July 1, 2023, if a livery does not have an insurance policy covering the renter AND the renter has chosen to opt out of insurance purchase option, the renter must complete a signed acknowledgement consistent with section 327.54(7)(b)2., Florida Statutes.
If the livery only consists of human powered vessels you are not required to have insurance.
- For businesses: Business creation records and local business license or tax receipt, if applicable
For individuals: copy of government issued photo ID
In addition, applicants must complete and sign the Livery Permit Certification Form (FWC 312).
*Note: If any of the above information changes, the FWC must be notified within 10 days.
Find the Livery Statute (327.54, F.S.) at Statutes & Constitution: View Statutes: Online Sunshine (state.fl.us.)
You may email all forms and documentation to LiveryPermit@myfwc.com or you may send by mail to:
FWC Boating and Waterways
Attention: Livery Permit
620 South Meridian Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1600
Livery Operator Permits are issued once all required forms and documentation have been received by FWC.
Note: Permits are not required to be displayed at the business location but must be made available to law enforcement upon request. It is a violation of section 327.54(2), Florida Statutes, to operate a livery business without an FWC issued Livery Operator Permit.
To operate a motor-powered vessel of 10 horsepower or more, ALL persons born after Jan. 1, 1988, must have successfully completed an approved boating safety course and have a Boating Safety Education ID Card issued by the FWC. The following may also be used to meet this requirement:
- Passed a Temporary Certificate Examination developed or approved by the Commission;
- A valid International Certificate of Competency;
- Completed boating safety education course or equivalent examination in another state, United States territory, or Canada which meets or exceeds the minimum requirements established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.
Yes, below are some exemptions:
- The person is licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to serve as master of a vessel;
- A person is operating on a private lake or pond;
- A person is an operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is at least 18 years old and possesses the required Boating Safety Education Identification Card, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel;
- The person is an operator who is accompanied onboard by a person who is exempt from the educational requirements, provided that person is attendant to and responsible for the safe operation of the vessel;
- A person operating a vessel within 90 days after completing an approved boating safety course, as required in 327.395(1), Florida Statutes. and has a photographic I.D. and a boater education course completion certificate showing proof of having completed the required boating safety education course. The course completion certificate must provide the student’s first and last name, date of birth, and the date the course was successfully completed.
*Note: In addition to having the boating safety education course requirements, ALL PERSONS who rent or lease a vessel AND ALL POTENTIAL OPERATORS of a rented or leased vessel must be provided pre-rental and pre-ride instruction as set forth in Rule 68D-34.002, Florida Administrative Code.
Visitors born on or after Jan. 1, 1988, from other states who want to rent a vessel of 10 horsepower or greater, are required to have certification of completion of an approved boating safety education course.
- Florida law allows a visitor from another state to use proof of completion (in the form of a card, certificate or something similar) from another state as long as it meets the standards established by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA). Most states (or their contractors) issue certification cards to students who successfully complete an approved course. The card or certificate should have a statement or logo that identifies the course as having met NASBLA standards.
- Visitors from Canada may use a Canadian Pleasure Craft Operator Card, which meets or exceeds the minimum requirements established by NASBLA.
- Visitors may also use a valid International Certificate of Competency.
The instructions required may be found on the Livery Pre-Rental and Pre-Ride Instruction Checklist and Attestation Form (FWCDLE 313). This form must be completed and signed by both the renter and instructor.
This form must be maintained by the livery for 90 days and must be made available to law enforcement upon request.
*Note: You may include more instruction subjects or expound on the current requirements by using additional materials from your livery.
Any person delivering pre-rental or pre-ride instructions must have successfully completed a boating safety education course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the State of Florida. Proof of completion must be maintained at the rental/business location. Approved boater safety courses can be found on the FWC Boating Safety Courses page.
Required boating safety information signs must be displayed in an area visible to the public at the livery’s business location.
The sign must correlate to the type of vessel(s) the livery rents.
These signs must be at least 187 square inches in size.
Printable posters can be found at the links below or you may request pre-printed signs from FWC Boating and Waterways Section by calling (850) 488-5600 or use the AskFWC feature on our website: Service Request - Create Request Page: Ask FWC (govqa.us).
- Rental of motorboats other than personal watercraft, jet boats, houseboats must display the Motorboat Rental Safety Poster.
- Rental of houseboats must display the Houseboat Rental Safety Poster.
- Rental of personal watercraft and/or jet boats must display the Personal Watercraft/Jet Boat Rental Safety Poster.
- Paddlecraft or other human-powered vessels must display the Paddlecraft Rental Safety Poster.
- Rental of sailboats must display the Sailboat Rental Safety Poster.
Yes. The livery must have a written agreement with the renter or lessee that includes the renter/lessee’s name, address, date of birth, emergency contact name and address and telephone number. The agreement must include the number of people onboard the vessel and the vessel’s expected return time.
*Note: Renter agreements must be maintained for one (1) year and must be made available to law enforcement upon request.
Yes. A livery may not knowingly lease or rent a vessel, other than a human powered vessel, to any person under 18 years of age.
Liveries may not rent or lease a vessel under any of the following circumstances:
- If it does not have an FWC issued Livery Operator Permit.
- The number of people exceeds the number considered to constitute a maximum safety load for the vessel as set forth on the vessel’s authorized person capacity plate.
- The horsepower of the motor exceeds the capacity of the vessel.
- The vessel does not contain the safety equipment required by section 327.50, Florida Statutes.
- The vessel is not seaworthy, is a derelict vessel, or is at risk of becoming derelict.
- The boating safety information required by Rule 68D-34.004, Florida Administrative Code, is not posted in an area visible to the public.
- The livery does not have a written agreement with the renter or lessee.
- The livery has not provided the renter/lessee with pre-rental or pre-ride instruction required by Rule 68D-34.002, Florida Administrative Code.
- The renter/lessee is under 18 years of age unless it is a human-powered vessel being rented/leased.
When a livery vessel is:
- Overdue by more than four hours.
- Involved in an accident.
Failure to have a valid Livery Operator Permit is a first degree misdemeanor. Liveries that operate in Florida without a valid Livery Operator Permit are in violation of section 327.54(2), Florida Statutes and are subject to a $1,000 fine (s.775.083, F.S.)
Violations of all other livery laws constitute a second degree misdemeanor.