Georgia boat livery liability legislation heads to Governor’s desk

On the final day of the Georgia Legislative session, the Georgia House of Representatives unanimously approved the Senate Substitute for House Bill 994. Sponsored by Rep. Alan Powell and carried in the Senate by Senator Matt Brass, this bill addresses liability issues related to boat rentals, leases, and charters.

Under HB 994, when someone rents, leases, or charters a vessel and operates it negligently, they would be responsible for any resulting injuries or damages. The bill offers protection for boat rental businesses (known as liveries). If a livery business has insurance coverage of at least $500,000 per person and $1,000,000 per occurrence, the livery wouldn’t be held liable as vessel owners for accidents caused by renters, provided they meet certain conditions:

  • Ensure the renter is reasonably skilled in operating the watercraft.
  • Renters must meet applicable safety requirements.
  • The watercraft must be in safe operating condition, as determined by inspection.
  • The watercraft must be maintained in safe condition by the livery business.

HB 994 mandates that boat liveries display proof of insurance at their rental locations and provide renters with a disclaimer explaining that the livery is insured, but renters may be personally liable for any damages or injuries.

The bill now heads to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s desk for final approval.

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