Dana Young, Shawn Harrison fight ‘modern-day piracy’

There were no Jolly Rogers or parrots in the Capitol Tuesday, but two lawmakers are seeking to put what they call a predatory boating-assistance practice in Davy Jones’ locker.

Sen. Dana Young and Rep. Shawn Harrison, both Tampa Republicans, held a press conference on legislation they’re sponsoring (SB 664, HB 469) to combat “modern-day piracy,” they said.

Their measures would “require maritime salvage and towing companies to provide boaters with the option of a written cost estimate before rendering assistance on the water,” according to a statement.

The idea is to “put a stop to the predatory practice of those salvage operators who provide relatively minor assistance to boaters and then charge outrageous fees by labeling the service a ‘salvage claim,’ ” it said.

One example given was a $30,000 bill to replace a hose on a bilge pump.

If passed into law, however, it would be in effect only within the state’s territorial waters: Three nautical miles on the Atlantic Coast and nine nautical miles along the Gulf Coast.

The bills would “require operators to provide a written estimate if the cost of service could be more than $500. The final bill may not exceed 20 percent of that written estimate, and a boater may waive the written estimate if they choose.”

A Periscope video of the news conference can be viewed below:

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


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