Section 328.15, Florida Statutes 2001
328.15 Notice of lien on vessel; recording.--
(1) No lien for purchase money or as security for a debt in the form of retain title contract, conditional bill of sale, chattel mortgage, or otherwise on a vessel shall be enforceable in any of the courts of this state against creditors or subsequent purchasers for a valuable consideration and without notice unless a sworn notice of such lien is recorded. The lien certificate shall contain the following information:
(a) Name and address of the registered owner;
(b) Date of lien;
(c) Description of the vessel to include make, type, motor and serial number; and
(d) Name and address of lienholder.
The lien shall be recorded by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and shall be effective as constructive notice when filed. The date of filing of the notice of lien is the date of its receipt by the department's central office in Tallahassee, if first filed there, or otherwise by the office of a county tax collector or of the tax collector's agent.
(2)(a) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall not enter any lien upon its lien records, whether it is a first lien or a subordinate lien, unless the official certificate of title issued for the vessel is furnished with the notice of lien, so that the record of lien, whether original or subordinate, may be noted upon the face thereof. After the department records the lien, it shall send the certificate of title to the holder of the first lien who shall hold such certificate until the lien is satisfied in full.
(b) When a vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as coowners in the alternative by the use of the word "or," whether or not the coowners are husband and wife, each coowner is considered to have granted to any other coowner the absolute right to place a lien or encumbrance on the vessel, and the signature of one coowner constitutes proper execution of the notice of lien. When a vessel is registered in the names of two or more persons as coowners in the conjunctive by the use of the word "and," the signature of each coowner is required in order to place a lien or encumbrance on the vessel.
(c) If the owner of the vessel as shown on the title certificate or the director of the state child support enforcement program desires to place a second or subsequent lien or encumbrance against the vessel when the title certificate is in the possession of the first lienholder, the owner shall send a written request to the first lienholder by certified mail and such first lienholder shall forward the certificate to the department for endorsement. The department shall return the certificate to the first lienholder, as indicated in the notice of lien filed by the first lienholder, after endorsing the second or subsequent lien on the certificate and on the duplicate. If the first lienholder fails, neglects, or refuses to forward the certificate of title to the department within 10 days after the date of the owner's or the director's request, the department, on written request of the subsequent lienholder or an assignee thereof, shall demand of the first lienholder the return of such certificate for the notation of the second or subsequent lien or encumbrance.
(3) Upon the payment of any such lien, the debtor or the registered owner of the motorboat shall be entitled to demand and receive from the lienholder a satisfaction of the lien which shall likewise be filed with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(4) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles under precautionary rules and regulations to be promulgated by it may permit the use, in substitution of the formal satisfaction of lien, of other methods of satisfaction, such as perforation, appropriate stamp, or otherwise, as it deems reasonable and adequate.
(5) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall make such rules and regulations as it deems necessary or proper for the effective administration of this law. The department may by rule require that a notice of satisfaction of a lien be notarized. The department shall prepare the forms of the notice of lien and the satisfaction of lien to be supplied, at a charge not to exceed 50 percent more than cost, to applicants for recording the liens or satisfactions and shall keep a permanent record of such notices of lien and satisfactions available for inspection by the public at all reasonable times. The division is authorized to furnish certified copies of such satisfactions for a fee of $1, which certified copies shall be admissible in evidence in all courts of this state under the same conditions and to the same effect as certified copies of other public records.
(6) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is entitled to a fee of $1 for the recording of each notice of lien. No fee shall be charged for recording the satisfaction of a lien. All of the fees collected shall be paid into the Marine Resources Conservation Trust Fund.
(7)(a) Should any person, firm, or corporation holding such lien, which has been recorded by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, upon payment of such lien and on demand, fail or refuse, within 30 days after such payment and demand, to furnish the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel a satisfaction of the lien, then, in that event, such person, firm, or corporation shall be held liable for all costs, damages, and expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees, lawfully incurred by the debtor or the registered owner of such vessel in any suit which may be brought in the courts of this state for the cancellation of such lien.
(b) Following satisfaction of a lien, the lienholder shall enter a satisfaction thereof in the space provided on the face of the certificate of title. If there are no subsequent liens shown thereon, the certificate shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien or encumbrance and an executed satisfaction on a form provided by the department shall be forwarded to the department by the lienholder within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.
(c) If the certificate of title shows a subsequent lien not then being discharged, an executed satisfaction of the first lien shall be delivered by the lienholder to the person satisfying the lien and the certificate of title showing satisfaction of the first lien shall be forwarded by the lienholder to the department within 10 days after satisfaction of the lien.
(d) If, upon receipt of a title certificate showing satisfaction of the first lien, the department determines from its records that there are no subsequent liens or encumbrances upon the vessel, the department shall forward to the owner, as shown on the face of the title, a corrected certificate showing no liens or encumbrances. If there is a subsequent lien not being discharged, the certificate of title shall be reissued showing the second or subsequent lienholder as the first lienholder and shall be delivered to the new first lienholder. The first lienholder shall be entitled to retain the certificate of title until his or her lien is satisfied. Upon satisfaction of the lien, the lienholder shall be subject to the procedures required of a first lienholder in this subsection and in subsection (2).
(8) When the original certificate of title cannot be returned to the department by the lienholder and evidence satisfactory to the department is produced that all liens or encumbrances have been satisfied, upon application by the owner for a duplicate copy of the certificate of title, upon the form prescribed by the department, accompanied by the fee prescribed in this chapter, a duplicate copy of the certificate of title without statement of liens or encumbrances shall be issued by the department and delivered to the owner.
(9) Any person who fails, within 10 days after receipt of a demand by the department by certified mail, to return a certificate of title to the department as required by paragraph (2)(c) or who, upon satisfaction of a lien, fails within 10 days after receipt of such demand to forward the appropriate document to the department as required by paragraph (7)(b) or paragraph (7)(c) commits a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(10) The department shall use the last known address as shown by its records when sending any notice required by this section.
(11) If the original lienholder sells and assigns his or her lien to some other person, and if the assignee desires to have his or her name substituted on the certificate of title as the holder of the lien, he or she may, after delivering the original certificate of title to the department and providing a sworn statement of the assignment, have his or her name substituted as a lienholder. Upon substitution of the assignee's name as lienholder, the department shall deliver the certificate of title to the assignee as the first lienholder.
History.--s. 4, ch. 67-586; ss. 25, 35, ch. 69-106; s. 14, ch. 74-327; s. 7, ch. 80-266; s. 16, ch. 84-184; s. 13, ch. 85-81; s. 4, ch. 85-252; s. 9, ch. 88-176; s. 160, ch. 94-356; s. 60, ch. 95-333; s. 20, ch. 96-321; s. 65, ch. 96-413; s. 60, ch. 99-248; s. 39, ch. 2000-313.
Note.--Former s. 371.81.