Governor Signs Legislation Expanding List of Mussel Infestation Prevention Grant Recipients

The Governor has just signed into law SB 790 [McGuire] that expands those eligible for the existing Division of Boating and Waterways grant program to be used for the reasonable regulatory costs of implementation of a dreissenid mussel infestation prevention plan to include any person or entity that manages any aspect of the water in a reservoir that is open to the public for recreational, boating, or fishing activities.

According to the Sonoma County Water Agency that sponsored this legislation, “SB 790 seeks to ensure that entities who play a critical role in co-managing reservoirs can qualify for funding associated with mandatory inspection programs, installing decontamination stations, and educational initiatives preventing the spread of invasive mussels.”

Governor Signs Legislation Addressing Abandoned Commercial Vessels

The Governor has just signed into law AB 2441 [Frazier] that requires the State Lands Commission, upon receipt by the commission of funds appropriated by the Legislature and any federal or private funds for this purpose, in consultation with other relevant state and local agencies directly involved in the removal of abandoned vessels, by July 1, 2019, to develop a plan for the removal of abandoned commercial vessels.

RBOC supports the concept of the measure to address abandoned commercial watercraft in the Delta without targeting the recreational boater-derived funds for commercial vessels.

The organization was engaged as the measure moved forward and was amended, testifying and advocating to ensure that recreational boaters were not assessed financially for efforts to address commercial vessels.

Governor Vetoes Proposed Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation

The Governor this afternoon vetoed AB 1918 [Garcia] that would have established the Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation.

The Governor’s veto message:

This bill establishes the Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation within the California Natural Resources Agency to support the outdoor recreation economy. 

The activities identified in this bill are important, but a new bureaucracy is not needed to accomplish the goal. Over the last few years the Department of Parks and Recreation has worked towards enhancing recreational opportunities throughout the state. In fact, Parks California, a support organization to the Department of Parks and Recreation, was recently created to promote outdoor recreation and is engaging in activities similar to those called for in this bill.

 

Governor Signs RBOC-supported Public Safety Measure AB 2175 [Aguiar-Curry]

Governor Jerry Brown today signed into law the RBOC-supported AB 2175 [Aguiar-Curry] that will enhance boating safety by clarifying law enforcement’s ability to remove and store vessels under specific circumstances.

As per the author:

“AB 2175 will help create parity between the Harbors and Navigation Code and the Vehicle Code by allowing peace officers and harbor patrol officers the authority to remove a vessel from public property when they have probable cause to believe that the vessel was used as the means of committing a crime or when the officers believe that the vessel is itself evidence, or that it contains evidence, which cannot readily be removed.

“This bill will create consistency between the two code sections and will help clarify the ability to appropriately remove and store vessels, while also increasing boating safety by removing vessels so they are out of the public’s way.”

AB 2175 is sponsored by the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

Legislation Addressing Abandoned Commercial Boats in the Delta Passes Senate Policy Committee

Legislation to provide funding for the removal of abandoned commercial vessels in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.

RBOC supports the concept of the measure to address abandoned commercial watercraft in the Delta, and it is closely monitoring the measure as it moves forward to ensure that recreational boaters are not assessed financially for efforts to address commercial vessels.

As described in the official committee analysis, AB 2441 [Frazier] would:

  • Create the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Abandoned Vessel Removal Account in the General Fund.
  • Direct all rental income from surface uses for lands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the account.
  • Provide that moneys in the account shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to the commission for expenditure for purposes related to the removal of abandoned commercial vessels from lands and waterways including tidelands and submerged lands, within the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
  • Require the commission to deposit any moneys recovered from commercial vessel removal actions undertaken to remove unattended vessels moored, docked, beached or made fast to land in a position to obstruct the normal movement of traffic of otherwise create a hazard, into the account.
  • Require the commission, in consultation with other relevant state and local agencies directly involved in the removal of abandoned vessels, by July 1, 2019 to develop a plan for the removal of abandoned commercial vessels using moneys in the account.

Proposed Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation Passes Senate Policy Committee

Legislation to establish a new Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation has passed the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.

RBOC testified in committee in support of AB 1918 [Garcia]. The organization supports the measure provided that the measure is not amended or implemented in a manner that would redirect state boating fees and taxes from programs and services that benefit the states’ recreational boaters.

RBOC acknowledges and supports the objective of AB 1918 to promote sustainable outdoor recreation as well as economic development and job growth within the outdoor recreation economy.

California offers remarkable, extensive and unique recreational opportunities. Californians – including recreational boaters - understand and appreciate the intrinsic value of outdoor recreation, its contributions to the economy including jobs and tourism, and the opportunities to grow each of these values. 

This perspective has already become integrated into the very fabric of state government in many ways. A decision to establish a new entity in government is properly predicated upon the foundation established by these significant initiatives, respects the tremendous financial commitments that our citizens continue to contribute each year, and focuses on clear new objectives that cannot be achieved through existing efforts.

RBOC-supported Measure Addressing Vessels Used in Crimes Passes Committee

RBOC-supported legislation to authorize a peace officer or marine safety offer to remove a vessel from public property when the vessel has been used in a crime or provides evidence of a crime has passed the Senate Public Safety Committee with unanimous, bipartisan support and now proceeds to the Senate Floor [Senate Third Reading] for consideration.

The provisions of AB 2175 [Aguiar-Curry] as per the committee analysis would allow a peace officer or marine safety officer to impound a vessel in either of the following circumstances:

  • When the vessel is found on public property and the officer has probable cause to believe that it was used in the commission of a crime; or 
  • When the vessel is found on public property and the officer has probable cause to believe that the vessel itself provides evidence that a crime was committed, or it contains evidence of a possible crime and the evidence cannot be easily removed from it.

The bill states that a lien shall not attach to a vessel impounded under this section unless it is determined that it was used in the commission of a crime with the express or implied consent of the owner.  

The bill also allows the court to order a person convicted of a crime involving the use of the impounded vessel to pay for the costs of towing and storage, as well as any administrative charges related to the removal, impoundment, storage, or release of the vessel.

Finally, the bill defines “vessel” for the purposes of the section to include both the vessel and any trailer used by the operator to transport the vessel.

AB 2175 has already passed the Assembly. It is sponsored by the California State Sheriff's Association.

Assembly Fiscal Committee Places Vessel Impoundment Bill "On Suspense"

The Assembly Appropriations Committee today placed AB 2175 [Aguiar-Curry] "on suspense" until it determines whether there is sufficient state monies to cover the projected state costs associated with its implementation.

AB 2175 is the RBOC-supported measure that would enhance boating safety by clarifying law enforcement’s ability to remove and store vessels under specified circumstances.

The bill would allow peace officers and harbor patrol officers to remove a vessel from public property when the officer has probable cause to believe that the vessel was used as the means of committing a crime and when the officers believe that the vessel is itself evidence, or that the vessel contains evidence which cannot easily be removed.

Today, the bill was placed “on suspense” as anticipated due to the projected state fiscal impact:: "Unknown, potentially significant costs (various funds) for the California Department of Fish and Game and the Department of Parks and Recreation for towing and impoundment costs. Costs are likely to be in the tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, potentially exceeding $150,000."

The committee will decide just prior to the Memorial Day Weekend whether this and the numerous other measures placed on suspense will pass through the Appropriations Committee an on to the Floor for consideration.

The measure is sponsored by the California State Sheriffs' Association.

Senate Fiscal Committee Places BUI Expansion Measure "On Suspense"

The Senate Appropriations Committee today placed SB 1247 [Gaines] "on suspense" until it determines whether there is sufficient state monies to cover the projected state costs associated with its implementation.

SB 1247 is the measure that would expand the ability of a peace officer, who lawfully arrests a person for boating under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs [BUI], to request that the arrested person submit to a chemical test.

The bill would extend this authority to persons operating any vessel, rather than mechanically-propelled vessels.

Today, the bill was placed “on suspense” as anticipated due to the projected state fiscal impact: “Unknown, potential state incarceration costs for longer commitments to state prisons for persons found guilty of BUI while doing an act forbidden by law that causes bodily injury to another."

The committee will decide just prior to the Memorial Day Weekend whether this and the numerous other measures placed on suspense will pass through the Appropriations Committee an on to the Floor for consideration.

 

Assembly Fiscal Committee Considers Legislation Addressing Abandoned Commercial Vessels

AB 2441 [Frazier] was taken up in the Assembly Appropriations Committee today and as anticipated was placed "on suspense" due to its projected state costs.

AB 2441 is the measure that would require rental income received from surface uses of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta lands under the jurisdiction of the State Lands Commission to be used for the removal of commercial abandoned and derelict vessels.

As also discussed in the analysis of the Assembly Appropriations Committee, the bill would:

  • Require the SLC to develop a plan that prioritizes removal based on risk to the Delta.
  • Authorize the SLC to recover costs for removal actions.
  • Define the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to mean lands within the boundaries of the counties of Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, and Yolo.

Today, the bill was placed “on suspense” as anticipated due to the projected state fiscal impact: “This bill annually shifts approximately $6.9 million General Fund to the SLC for removal of commercial ADVs in the Delta.”

The committee will decide will know just prior to the Memorial Day Weekend whether this and the numerous other measures place on suspense will pass through the Appropriations Committee an on to the Floor for consideration.

RBOC’s position on AB 2441 is in support of the concept of the measure to address abandoned commercial watercraft in the Delta, and it is closely monitoring the measure to ensure that recreational boaters are not assessed financially for efforts to address commercial vessels.

Legislation Extending BUI Chemical Testing to Non-motorized Vessels Passes First Committee

Legislation will pass the Senate Public Safety Committee today to amend California's Boating Under the Influence [BUI] law that authorizes an officer to request a person arrested for BUI to submit to chemical testing.

SB 1247 [Gaines] would delete the requirement that the vessel be mechanically propelled.

Following is the author's stated rationale for the measure [from the policy committee analysis]:

"The Harbors and Navigation Code contains no definition of "machinery" and a vague definition of "mechanically propelled." California Boating Law gives an officer authority to request the operator of a "mechanically propelled vessel" submit to the chemical testing of their blood, breath, or urine if lawfully arrested for operating a vessel or other equipment while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.  The problem is an operator of a 30-foot sailboat with no motor, operating under sail at 20 knots, with an BAC level .10% stopped for a boating violation and arrested can refuse the officer's request for a chemical test since there is question as to whether the sailboat is a "mechanically propelled vessel.”

"Law enforcement should be able ask an arrested person to provide a chemical test of an operator of a sailing craft that could cause major damage, injure someone, or cause death.  Boating officers are under the assumption that a sail is "machinery" just as an "oar" is for a canoe or kayak.  There is a lack of clarity as to whether operators of vessels or craft using a sail, paddle, etc. can be asked to submit to chemical testing. Sailing vessels with or without motors piloted by a person under the influence create a safety issue for all boaters."

SB 1247 next proceeds

The measure is sponsored by the California State Sheriffs’ Association.

 

RBOC-supported Boating Safety Law Enforcement Measure Passes Committee

The RBOC-supported AB 2175 [Aguiar-Curry] that would enhance boating safety law enforcement efforts has passed the Assembly Committee on Public Safety.

RBOC supports the provisions of AB 2175 that would enhance boating safety by clarifying law enforcement’s ability to remove and store vessels under specified circumstances. The bill would: 

  • Authorize a peace officer or marine safety officer, while engaged in the performance of official duties, to remove a vessel from, and, if necessary, store a vessel removed from, public property within the territorial limits in which the officer may act, under specified circumstances relating to the use of the vessel in the commission of a crime.
  • Authorize a court to order a person convicted of a crime involving the use of a vessel that is removed and impounded pursuant to these provisions to pay the costs of towing and storage of the vessel and any related administrative costs imposed in connection with the removal, impoundment, storage, or release of the vessel.

The measure is sponsored by the California State Sheriffs' Association.

RBOC Supporting Legislative Concept Addressing Abandoned Vessels - Wary of Revenue Source

RBOC testified today in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on AB 2441 [Frazier], expressing support for the concept of commercial interests being identified to financially support efforts to remove abandoned and derelict vessels from the state's waterways, and also noting the organization's caution that the bill in its final form not target recreational boaters to fund this important effort.

When the final vote is announced, the measure will pass committee and proceed to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.

In its current form, AB 2441 would require that rental income from surface uses for lands in the Sacramento San Joaquin Delta be used for the removal of abandoned and derelict commercial vessels from lands and waterways, including tidelands and submerged lands within the Delta.

RBOC Testifies in Support of Westpoint Harbor at the BCDC

RBOC  continues its advocacy efforts in support of Westpoint Harbor, with Vice President - North Ray Durazo testifying at today's hearing of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission [BCDC].

The BCDC action today sent the proposed cease and desist order back to the Enforcement Committee for further review and deliberation.

Mr. Durazo's testimony: 

My name is Ray Durazo and I am Vice President – North of the Recreational Boaters of California, RBOC.

RBOC is the nonprofit governmental advocacy organization that works to protect and enhance the interests of the state's 3 million recreational boaters before the legislative and executive branches of state and local government.  RBOC was formed as a statewide organization fifty years ago and from that date forward has continued its commitment to promoting the enjoyment, protection, and responsible use of our waterways.

RBOC strongly urges the Commission to reject the proposed cease and desist order with regard to Westpoint Harbor.

BCDC’s approach towards the harbor does not further the commission as a national model, does not encourage the responsible and productive use of the Bay’s resources, and does not enable all of the Bay’s communities to flourish.

The claimed violations all suffer from one or more of deficiencies that have been well-documented by the harbor, as well as our November 15, 2017 letter.

The BCDC actions will act as a powerful deterrent to future generations interested in investing and serving recreational boating in the Bay in areas under BCDC jurisdiction. This will be to the detriment of the Bay as boating in California is a $7 billion annual economic engine.

RBOC’s concerns with BCDC’s actions towards the harbor are exacerbated when considered in the context of the commission’s similar enforcement actions against Scott’s restaurant in Jack London Square, and against Sweeny’s duck club in the Delta.

Taken together, the pattern is alarming to the boating community and has also led a County Superior Court judge in a recent case to opine that BCDC enforcement had exceeded its jurisdiction, had inflicted excessive fines, and had displayed vindictive prosecution.

Taken together, the pattern leads the community to have the strong impression that the commission enforcement staff is operating on its own and making important decisions that properly reside with the commissioners.

These issues need to be addressed in a timely manner, and RBOC urges the California State Legislature and State Auditor to investigate the BCDC enforcement actions including the exorbitant fines that are being imposed. It is critical that an independent, fair, objective, knowledgeable and transparent review be conducted.

RBOC has held meetings in the State Capitol with our elected officials regarding the Westpoint situation and our request for an audit.  We have found a receptive audience and will continue to push forward in the weeks and months ahead. Thank you for your attention and consideration of our position.

RBOC Supports Objective of Legislation Proposing Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation

RBOC is expressing to the author and proponents of AB 1918 [Garcia] the organization's support for the concept of promoting sustainable outdoor recreation as well as economic development and job growth within the outdoor recreation economy. AB 1918 proposes the establishment of a new Office of Sustainable Outdoor Recreation.

RBOC is also advocating that there are open questions and key issues that must be answered and addressed as legislation is pursued to create this new entity in state government. These include:

  • The position of the new office in state government – The exact position of the office within the Natural Resources Agency must be stated clearly in the legislation. This will enable stakeholders and interested parties to understand the standing of the proposed office and its relationship with other entities. 
  • The functions of the new office - It is important that the functions of the new office be very clear in the law, and that those functions do not impede, supersede, cannibalize or duplicate the important functions currently performed by other entities of state government. 
  • The funding of the new office –  It is important that the sources of public funding are set forth in the legislation, existing fees and taxes paid by recreational boaters are not re-directed to the office, and the office does not have statutory authority to impose fees on recreational boaters.

California offers remarkable, extensive and unique recreational opportunities. Californians – including recreational boaters - understand and appreciate the intrinsic value of outdoor recreation, its contributions to the economy including jobs and tourism, and the opportunities to grow each of these values. 

This perspective has already become integrated into the very fabric of state government in many ways. A decision to establish a new entity in government should be predicated upon the foundation established by these significant initiatives, respect the tremendous financial commitments that our citizens continue to contribute each year, and focus on clear new objectives that cannot be achieved through existing efforts.

RBOC appreciates being part of this dialogue, and looks forward to further discussions.

Take a Boating Safety Education Course March 18-24

No-Cost BoatUS Foundation online course offered for 36 states

ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 14, 2018 – Next week, Mar. 18-24, is a great time to take a boating safety course. Why? It’s perfect timing just before the start of the boating and fishing season and the week-long ‘Spring Aboard’ public service campaign makes it easy for boaters to take a boating safety course. The educational effort is a partnership of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA), government, and nonprofit partners including the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.

The BoatUS Foundation offers a no-cost NASBLA and state-approved online boating safety course for 36 states at BoatUS.org/Free. The course fits into busy schedules, allowing boaters to stop, and then start again where they left off any time of day or night, and is loaded with interactive animations, videos and photos to give boaters an education that goes well beyond the basics of boating. Upon successful passage course takers can easily print their state’s proof of completion. More than 1.4 million boaters have taken the Foundation’s courses since 1997.

US Coast Guard statistics indicate that of the accidents where the level of operator education was known, 80 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.

 

About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:

The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the more than half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nonprofit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 36 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/Courses.

 

RBOC Participates in California Boating Congress

RBOC co-hosted the successful February 27 California Boating Congress in the State Capital, with its leadership participating and also co-presenting on the topic of the new California Boating Card.

Pictured from left to right below are RBOC Immediate Past President - Director Peter Robertson, Past President - Director Greg Gibeson, President John Marshall, and Ex Officio Director David Kennedy with RBOC's national partner BoatUS.

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RBOC Honors Senator Cathleen Galgiani as its 2017 Boater of the Year

RBOC has selected Senator Cathleen Galgiani [D-Stockton] as the organization's Boater of the Year for the 2017 year in recognition of her efforts to protect and enhance the interests of the state's recreational boaters.

2018 President John Marshall presented the award to Senator Galgiani in the State Capitol on February 21, expressing the organization's sincere appreciation for the Senator's leadership and commitment in the State Capitol. 

Noted President Marshall: "Boaters recognize and value Senator Galgiani's dedicated efforts on numerous key issues affecting boating including issues in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. She continues to lead the battle against invasive species that clog waterways and impair boating as well as the environment, commerce and tourism."

Joining President Marshall in making the award presentation on behalf of RBOC were Vice President Ray Durazo, Past President \ Director Greg Gibeson, Director Paul Clausen, and Director of Government Relations Jerry Desmond. 

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RBOC Directors Lobby 2018 Boating Issues in State Capitol

RBOC Board of Directors at California State Capitol on February 21, 2018

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RBOC Celebrates 50 Year Anniversary

 

The Recreational Boaters of California (RBOC), a non-profit organization based in Sacramento, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2018. Launched in 1968, the group has been actively protecting boaters’ rights before the state’s legislative and regulatory bodies for half a century.

RBOC was formed as a joint undertaking by the Pacific Inter-Club Yachting Association (PICYA) and the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) to serve as the boating community’s advocate on governmental actions that impact the ability of boaters throughout the state to access lakes, inland waterways and coastal waters.

Since its inception, RBOC has worked on legislation and regulations that have touched every aspect of boating such as boating-related programs and services provided by the state, as well as decisions on how fuel taxes and registration fees paid by boaters are used, among other vital issues.

Today, RBOC receives funding and volunteer support from nearly 200 yacht clubs throughout the state. The organization also receives support from BoatUS and numerous individual donors.

The organization is governed by an 18-member Board of Directors comprised of 9 members from the northern part of California and 9 from southern California. All officers and directors have a distinguished background in boating and a record of service to the state’s boating community.

RBOC’s lobbying efforts are supported by a professional firm in Sacramento, Desmond & Desmond LLC, headed by Jerry Desmond, Director of Government Relations.