After months of intense lobbying by the Florida Yacht Brokers Association and its partners, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and the Marine Industries Association of Florida, the Florida legislature agreed Saturday not to repeal the Florida Yacht & Ship Brokers Act, the brokers group said.
The licensing and regulations that have protected buyers, sellers and brokers since 1988 remain intact, the group said. Customers' escrow accounts will continue to be protected by licensed and bonded Florida yacht and ship brokers.
"It was a tough fight," Jeff Erdmann, chairman of the group's legislative affairs program and president of Fort Lauderdale-based Bollman Yachts, said in a statement.
"There were moments when it looked like we might lose the battle, but we never gave up," he added. "Thanks to our lobbyist, Joe McCann, of Smith-Ballard, and the many calls and letters sent to state representatives by our members and brokers from across the state in support of our cause we were able to convince members of Florida's House and Senate not to deregulate our industry."
The team's message points included:
- The lawprotects buyers, sellers and brokers by ensuring that all Florida yacht brokers are licensed and bonded and adhere to the highest professional standards.
- The lawhas consistently run annual surpluses, costing the state and taxpayers nothing to operate while yacht brokers funnel millions of tax dollars each year to state coffers.
- Florida's yacht brokerage industry supports more than 202,000 jobs and generates an estimated $16.8 billion in total marine product sales in Florida's marine industry.
- Like real estate agents, yacht brokers regularly work with other brokers across the state, nation and internationally, sharing commissions. They also collect, hold and distribute large sums of money from clients that are held in escrow accounts and controlled by individual yacht brokerage offices.