Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House Amends Idle Bill

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

House Amends Idle Bill

Article excerpt

A committee of the Florida House of Representatives has

drastically amended a bill that would have imposed idle

speeds on many of the state's waters for all power vessels

and personal watercraft.

The House Rules & Regulations Committee last Wednesday passed

by a unanimous 6-0 vote HB 3915c1 with three amendments that

removed many proposed new regulations governing irresponsible

operation of regular vessels and PWCs.

The amendments deleted clauses that would have imposed more

stringent regulations that included prohibiting vessels from

traveling at more than idle speed within 100 feet of anchored or

moored vessels, shorelines, docks, bridges or in "narrow"

channels and from going more than 10 mph within 100 feet of the

stern of another vessel.

Remaining in the bill are provisions that would prohibit all

vessels from jumping wakes too close to another vessel, weaving

through congested vessel traffic, becoming airborne while

crossing the wake of another craft within 100 feet of the vessel

creating the wake and operating contrary to navigation rules.

The measure also still includes provisions that would

reclassify PWCs to hike the annual registration fees from $3.50

to $10.50 to help fund increased waterborne law enforcement,

restrictions on those renting PWCs and age limits of 14 for

operating owned PWCs and 18 for rentals.

Rep. Jim King, the Republican house majority leader from

Jacksonville, said the amendments were the result of a meeting

just before Wednesday's committee meeting with other

representatives and various lobbyists. King said the changes

probably saved the bill.

"We have removed the onerous parts of the bill that refer to

passing too close and that sort of thing," King said. "It was

either a question of doing that or of having the bill killed. …

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