South Florida Intercoastal

Advocacy Report

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: Feb 23, 2021 Tue

A leadership change in government is always followed by policy changes and new interpretations of regulations. This year was no exception. The first presidential order to impact the marine industry, or more correctly the crew rotation on a large vessel, was the expansion of the travel ban to include additional countries including England and South Africa. Department heads were given 14 days to submit their proposals on how their agency would address implementation. With fingers crossed and a few crew refused boarding, we waited… The good news is a B1 visa is still included in the exemption from the travel ban to the US. Crew are only permitted to travel to the US to meet their boat and are not permitted to transit through which does pose a few problems for boats based in the Caribbean and the Bahamas as direct flights are not currently available.

The CDC has released OSHA COVID-19 Workplace Safety Guidelines. You can find the document on the MIASF homepage and click on the COVID-19 RESOURCE GUIDE.

We are currently monitoring The Pro Act which was refiled last week in the house and had originally passed in February 2020, but did not clear the senate. This year there is a strong possibility that some, if not the whole, bill could pass and be enacted. The bill will dramatically alter federal labor law. Probably the most impacting to the marine industry would be codifying California’s ABC test which imposes stricter requirements for employers to classify a worker as an independent contractor versus an employee.

The State legislative session was in the bill filing process through February 26th. This year’s 60-day session begins on March 2nd. There are several bills we are currently monitoring. FWC has a bill with a wide variety of changes that could affect boating. There are several education bills which we are supporting as they are structured to aid industry specific programs and specifically, our apprentice program.

The MIASF has been approached to join the steering committee of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary – Water Quality Protection Program. It is great that they are looking for input from the industry before making decisions which could alter how boaters can enjoy the Keys. We have also been included in the DEP’s Coral Reef Conservation Program, stakeholders committee as they work to find a balance between users and protection of the reef, one of our most valuable assets.