Marinas push for hurricane protection bill in Florida

MIAMI – A trade group of marina owners and related businesses is urging its 800-plus members to contact their representatives in the Florida Legislature and ask them to support a bill that would allow marina owners to secure boats belonging to others on their property once a hurricane watch is posted, the Miami Herald reported in a story yesterday.

Despite damage to docks and pilings from unsecured boats in past hurricanes, marina owners currently are forbidden from securing some boats that could pose a threat, David Ray, executive director of the Marine Industries Association of Florida, told the Herald.

The bill would allow marina owners to charge ''reasonable fees'' for securing boats once a hurricane watch has been posted and seeks to prevent them from being held liable for any damage to boats by a hurricane, unless the damage was the result of any intentional acts or negligence.

Ray said the bill would help marina owners reduce their risk in a hurricane, and also would give more money to cities and counties to remove derelict vessels.

The House of Representatives passed the proposal last week in a 115-1 vote. The proposal now must get clearance from a Senate committee to advance to the full floor for a final vote this week.

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