Cruises to nowhere or day cruises are often gambling vessels that depart from and return to a single port without stopping en route at any other ports of call. These vessels sail into international waters for the purpose of allowing their patrons to gamble, returning to their home port in most cases in a matter of hours.
In July 2008, the Florida Clean Ocean Act, Section 376.25, Florida Statutes was enacted, directing the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (department) to implement a registration program to regulate releases of wastes from gambling vessels. In response to the legislation, on April 4, 2010, the department adopted Chapter 62-606, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Releases from Gambling Vessels.
Basic Rule Requirements
Chapter 62-606, F.A.C., requires gambling vessels operating in coastal waters of the state to register with the department, except as provided below. Coastal waters are defined as waters within three nautical miles of the Atlantic Coast and nine nautical miles of the Gulf Coast. New gambling vessels beginning operations in coastal waters must submit the registration application form and fee 30 days before the vessel enters coastal waters. Registered vessels must renew annually. The renewal application and fee are due 30 days before the expiration of the existing registration, or by December 1 of each year. The registration application, DEP Form 62-606.400(4)(a) Gambling Vessel Registration Form, is available via download.
This rule does not apply to vessels that are defined as cruise ships in 33 CFR 101.105 or to vessels of the U.S. Armed Forces. Vessels that provide verification of waste treatment systems that produce sterile, clear, odorless reuse water without generating solid waste and eliminate the need to pump out or discharge wastewater are exempted from registration. Verification of these systems should be provided on DEP Form 62-606.400(4)(b), Verification of Marine Waste Treatment System.
Gambling vessels are required to report releases of wastes within Florida coastal waters unless wastes are released under emergency situations. Discharges within coastal waters are required to be reported to the State Watch Office Toll-Free Number at 800-320-0519.
Chapter 62-606, F.A.C., also requires owners of waterfront landing facilities (berths) that are the registered locations for gambling vessels and vessels used to transport passengers to gambling vessels (shuttles) to provide waste management services. The following table provides an estimate of the minimum waste-service demand for each berth location of the registered vessels.
Estimate of Minimum Waste Service Demand for Waterfront-Landing Facilities (Berths)
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.