Boaters could save on registration fees by purchasing tracking transmitters

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CAPE CORAL, Fla.- In a unanimous vote, the Florida Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would give boaters a discount on their annual registration fees if they buy or already own an emergency position indicating radiobeacon.

The device, also known as an EPIRB, “sends a satellite signal, so the satellite’s going to give your initial position, and then radiobeacons will hone in on that,” said Henry Hoenk with West Marine in Cape Coral.

Hoenk estimates only about one percent of boaters own an EPIRB. The devices can range in price from about $200 to $1,500.

“When we go the next level up, you have a longer battery life,” Hoenk explained.

The bill follows the tragic disappearance of Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, two teens who went missing on a boat off the coast of Jupiter last year.

“I think it’s a great idea. There’s lots of safety devices out there that we don’t take advantage of and this is one that with proper promotion, will really make a big difference,’ Hoenk said.

The bill would cut about 12 percent off the yearly registration fee which can be as little as $10 or as much as $200, depending on boat length. Florida Gov. Rick Scott still has to sign the bill.

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