We were featured in another article on the passing of the Carfax for Boats Law due to our participation on helping get it passed. We’ve been called the Carfax for boats for years because #BoatsCantTalk #Carfaxforboats #BoatsCantTalk
Carfax for boats law lowers chance of buying damaged vessel By Palak Patel / firstname.lastname@example.org
Thinking about buying a used boat? A new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on June 7 helps ensure that you won’t be left high and dry.
Known as ‘Carfax for boats,’ the law enables boat buyers and sellers to have access to the history of boats and include any accidents or damages done to the vessel, similar to that of a vehicle’s history.
Florida is the fifth state to implement this law.
Established in 2011 by the Uniform Law Commission, the law was first passed by Virginia, with Connecticut, District of Columbia and Hawaii following soon after, according to Caroline Mantel, director of business development at BoatHistoryReport.com. Mantel, who served as vice chair for the Vessel Identification, Registration & Titling Committee under the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, was personally involved in helping the law move forward.
Officially named the Uniform Certificate of Title for Vessels Act, the new law requires boaters to fully disclose any hull damage or theft directly on the title of the vessel, which goes into effect on July 1, 2023.
Reporting of a vessel’s history will mostly rely on self-reporting since boat insurance is not required in the state of Florida; failure to do so will result in the responsible party getting heavily fined, with the first offense starting at $5,000.
“Of the 923,000 registered boats in Florida, one in 30 boats has some sort of negative history associated with it, and in Duval County, it’s one in 28,” said Mantel.
The problem, however, is not with buying a pre-owned boat.
The problem is currently there are nine nontitling states — a boat with a branded title from Florida can be registered in Tennessee (one of the nontitling states) and will show up as having a “clean” title in the registration.
Until all 50 states start requiring vessels to be registered and titled properly, the law won’t be as effective as it should be.
Furthermore, all boats damaged prior to 2023 will not require such branding, which could potentially enable damaged boats to circulate in the boating industry without consumer knowledge.
“This law will be great in 10 years from now when all the boats have been titled correctly,” Mantel said.
However, this law will still significantly impact the boating industry and help provide greater transparency for safer boating.
“The goal is to make boating safer; this includes boat buying and selling, being out on the water, laws that protect boaters, etc. Anything that makes boating safer helps the boating industry and other businesses associated with it,” said Mantel.
President of the Jacksonville Marine Association, Rusty Gardner, agrees with Mantel.
“The ability to protect their [potential boat owners’] rights and assure the boat dealers that a boat is in good condition is great,” said Gardner.
On the other hand, he added, boat salvagers are at a disadvantage because their business is based on fixing boats and selling them off as “good condition” vessels.
When asked about the impact this law will have on the boating industry, Gardner doesn’t think it will negatively influence the industry at all.
“It’s going to positively impact the consumers, which is who we want to make happy,” Gardner said, “because at the end of the day, they are the ones that are going to go boating and enjoy their time on the water.”
For more information, visit BoatHistoryReport.com.