DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — Destin City Council voted unanimously Monday night to extend a suspension on livery vessels for another 6-months.

The moratorium put in place in 2019 prevents all current livery vessel businesses from adding new boats to their fleet if operating out of the harbor. The ordinance was passed with the motion to conduct a full harbor capacity study on boat traffic and environmental impacts the felt has on the harbor.

Livery vessels are defined as temporary rental vessels. In January of 2023, SB 606 will take effect changing the wording and rules on livery vessels.

Defines “livery” as a person who offers a vessel for use by another in exchange for any
type of consideration when such person does not also provide the lessee or renter with a
captain, a crew, or any type of staff or personnel to operate, oversee, maintain or manage
the vessel.

Florida SB 606

Under the ordinance, starting businesses can transfer current boats from an existing company, but new boats are prohibited.

The moratorium was requested by Mayor Gary Jarvis in Oct. to become permanent. Council members approved reviewing an ordinance to extend the suspension until June 2023 when the harbor capacity study is complete and the new law takes effect.

United States Army Corps of Engineers released preliminary harbor study results to the council in Oct.

Average Daily Entry/Exits to Destin Harbor:

Fishing CharterTour CharterLivery PontoonPersonal PontoonPersonal VesselSailboatJet-SkiNon-motor CraftTotal Average
Holiday Weekend612344701918338388192,204
Regular Weekend743405871245319404222,091
Preliminary Study numbers released on Oct. 3 from USACE

Any decisions to make the moratorium permanent will likely take place in April 2023 when the council can fully review the USACE study data.

The city started the livery vessel permitting discussion in 2017.

“The City Council heard concerns that (1) overcrowding in the Destin Harbor is disproportionately affected by the proliferation of livery vessels, which contribute to a high
number of inexperienced and ineffective livery vessel operators, thereby increasing the
danger to the public health, safety and welfare; and (2) the proliferation of livery vessel
rentals contributes to the deterioration of water quality in and around Destin.”

City of Destin Agenda Item description – 2022-5983