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The Florida Senate

CS/CS/CS/HB 475 — Certificates of Title for Vessels

by State Affairs Committee; Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee; and Rep. Williamson and others (CS/CS/SB 676 by Appropriations Committee; Infrastructure and Security Committee; and Senator Hooper)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Infrastructure and Security Committee (IS)

The bill incorporates the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act into Florida’s existing vessel titling and lien law. The bill contains numerous revisions to current title application requirements, revises information that must be included on a certificate of title for a vessel, provides for the perfection of security interests in a vessel and for the rights of a secured party, provides requirements for the transfer of ownership in a vessel, and revises various duties and responsibilities of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) with respect to titling of vessels.

Generally, the bill:

  • Provides requirements for applications for certificates of titles for vessels, including their detailed content, and provides exceptions from the requirement to apply for a certificate.
  • Provides responsibilities of an owner and insurer of a hull-damaged vessel and of the DHSMV when creating a certificate of title.
  • Specifies that possession of a certificate of title does not by itself provide a right to obtain possession of a vessel, but nothing prohibits enforcement of a security interest in, levy on, or foreclosure of a statutory or common-law lien on a vessel.
  • Provides the DHSMV with duties relating to the creation, issuance, refusal to issue, or cancellation of a certificate of title, and provides additional requirements for obtaining a duplicate certificate of title.
  • Sets out requirements for the determination and perfection of a security interest in a vessel and for the delivery of a statement of the termination of a security interest.
  • Provides for the rights of a purchaser of a vessel who is not a secured party and for the rights of a purchaser who is a secured party.
  • Specifies circumstances by which the DHSMV may create a new certificate of title after the receipt of an application for a transfer of ownership or termination of a security interest, without the applicant providing a certificate of title.
  • Provides requirements for the voluntary transfer of vessel title ownership, transfer by a secured party, and transfer by operation of law.
  • Applies the bill to any transaction, certificate of title, or record relating to a vessel entered into or created before July 1, 2023, but provides for certain exceptions.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2023.

Vote: Senate 36-0; House 116-0