Those Who Say Deregulating Yacht Brokers Would Increase Competition, Simply Don't Understand Florida's Highly Prized Yacht Brokerage Industry Florida has more than 2,500 licensed yacht brokers, accounting for about 15 percent of all yacht brokers across the globe. Roughly, 20 percent of all yachts sold worldwide last year involved a Florida yacht broker. Does this sound like a market lacking in competition? Florida's international yacht brokerage industry is the envy of the world.

Consider the facts Thanks to the Florida Yacht & Ship Brokers Act (SS326), yacht buyers in the U.S. and in international markets feel safe buying and selling yachts in Florida. These buyers need to be confident that their funds on deposit - from thousands to millions of dollars - will be handled by a licensed and bonded yacht broker who will place those funds in a regulated escrow account. They appreciate that convicted felons can't sell yachts or handle deposits on those sales in Florida. In short, the Florida Yacht & Ship Brokers Act has helped Florida build a yacht brokerage industry that is second to none. It racked up more than $16.8 billion in marine product sales and accounted for about 202,000 Florida jobs in 2010.

All the while, the Florida Yacht & Ship Brokers Act generated millions of dollars in sales and service tax revenue for the state, while costing taxpayers nothing. In fact, the division responsible for regulating yacht brokers consistently operates in the black with $326,945 in excess revenue in the 2009-2010 period. Deregulating Florida's brokers through passage of CS/HB 5005 would undermine the reputation and quality of Florida's world-renowned yacht brokerage industry, costing the state jobs and revenue. It would decrease competition by sending yacht buyers and the brokers who service their needs elsewhere. But don't just take our word for it.

Consider the following comments from leaders of some of the world's leading yacht brokerage associations: "Deregulation of Florida's vibrant and highly regarded yacht brokerage industry would severely undermine its integrity and professionalism," said Whit Kirkland, President of the International Yacht Council Ltd., a group that represents yacht brokerage associations worldwide. "Yacht buyers ultimately would not feel safe doing business in a state where just about anyone could call themselves a professional yacht broker and receive customer deposits, often in the millions of dollars, with few if any safeguards." Adds Vincent J Petrella, CPYB, Executive Director of the Yacht Brokers Association of America: “Deregulation of Florida’s yacht brokers is a serious issue that threatens to remove the stringent fiduciary responsibilities that the Florida Yacht & Ship Brokers Act places on yacht brokers for the protection of both buyer and seller.

The Yacht Brokers Association of America supports the establishment and enforcement of a higher level of professional standards for yacht sales professionals throughout the country similar to those imposed on Florida yacht brokers. To that end, we will continue to work hand in hand with the Florida Yacht Brokers Association to create a model for integrity and professionalism for the yacht sales profession throughout the country.”