Governor Rick Scott this week signed legislation designed to increase boater safety in Florida waters.
The governor signed House Bill 711, which reduces registration fees for boats equipped with safety features including an emergency position indicating radio beacon or Personal Locator Beacon.
Under the new law, the discounted fee for boats between 12 and 16 feet would drop from $13.77 to $11; for boats between 16 and 26 feet, the fee would go from $24.83 to $20.40; and for boats between 26 feet and 40 feet, the fee would fall from $68.56 to $57.50.
An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon and Personal Locator Beacons are used to alert search and rescue forces in the event of an emergency.
It does this by transmitting a coded message on the 406 megahertz distress frequency via satellite and earth stations to the nearest rescue coordination center, which then notifies local search and rescue forces.
Having a properly registered beacon greatly enhances the speed with which the Coast Guard can respond to any mariners in distress and could mean the difference between life and death during a maritime emergency.
You can find out more about them on-line at www.savedbythebeacon.com.