South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Sep 22, 2020 Tue

Some months are busier than others, but this month was uniquely busy on all fronts. The Broward County Commission instructed the county administrator to move forward with permitting the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Business leaders from multiple industries attended the meeting (virtually) and spoke in support of FLIBS and its importance to the entire community.

Visas for yacht crew continue to be a challenge as the U.S. consulates are operating under limited hours and staff depending on their location. Senator Rubio’s office reached out to the Department of State on our behalf on this issue and the response they received the below response, which was hopeful.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs (CA) has told its personnel that air and sea crew are considered mission critical and visas for them could be processed during the previous routine visa suspension, as well as in Phases 0, 1, and 2, however, CA personnel has discretion to determine which mission critical cases will be accepted based on local conditions and resources.

MIASF has received reports that appointments are being made in various consulates, although wait times can be lengthy. MIASF will continue to proactively encourage consulates to facilitate as many crew visas as possible, particularly in active areas such as the Bahamas, which at this time is not accepting appointments.

U.S.C.G. Captain of the Port, Captain Burdian, visited the MIASF office several weeks ago. It is great to see an agency that has such an impact on the marine industry reach out without an agenda in mind, and MIASF spoke to her about the challenges being faced with wait times on NTRVP (Non-Tank Vessel Response Plan) approvals when vessels sell offshore and are not able to return to the U.S. until the plan is transferred to the new owner and approved by U.S.C.G. in Washington, D.C. Captain Burdian agreed there should be a solution and instructed her staff to work with us in establishing criteria for a one-time waiver process that would include insurance and a plan in place to assure protection criteria was met. This is a positive step forward.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has presented its draft legislative agenda to the industry for feedback. Since FWC has not filed a bill in several years, the document is extensive, including housekeeping issues as well as a few items of concern for the marine industry. Issues included new language and penalties for DUI, defining a human powered vessel, and applying regulatory expectations. Items that raised a flag, specifically include Florida Statutes Chapter 327.395 changes in the grandfathered date of requiring safe boating licenses for every operator. An implementation date is actively being discussed, but currently 2025 is proposed. The second item is a proposal to make the entire state of Florida a no discharge zone, despite lack of evidence that vessels are not compliant with current regulations or identifying areas of concern. To review the document, click here. Please do not hesitate to contact MIASF with input should any item impact your business directly.