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. 

Boater of the Year Award to Senator Cathleen Galgiani 2 21 18.jpg

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.

RBOC Elects John Marshall as 2018 President

The Recreational Boaters of California (RBOC), a non-profit organization based in Sacramento, announced the election of a new president, John L. Marshall of Newport Beach.  Mr. Marshall succeeds the group’s 2017 president, Peter Robertson of Sacramento.
 
Mr. Marshall literally grew up in the yachting community. His father was a commodore of the Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego.  He has been sailing for over 51 years and is presently a staff commodore of South Shore Yacht Club in Newport Beach.
 
John Marshall is a past commodore of the Association of Orange Coast Yacht Clubs. The association encompasses clubs in Newport Harbor and Dana Point Harbor.  He has been on the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) board of directors since 2016 and served as RBOC Vice President-South before his election to president.
 
“I am very excited to lead RBOC in the coming year,” Mr. Marshall states. “This organization has a proud history of advocating for boaters’ rights and I look forward to advancing our mission in the coming year.”
 
According to the RBOC mission statement, the group works to protect and enhance the interests of the state’s recreational boaters before the legislative and executive branches of state and local government.  In 2018, RBOC is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

 

 

Division of Boating and Waterways Now Accepting California Boater Card Applications

Following please find the announcement that the Division of Boating and Waterways is accepting applications for the California Boater Card.

Starting in January 2018, recreational vessel operators of motorized vessels will be required to pass a boating exam after which they will be issued a certification card.

The process will first address individuals 20 and younger and then proceed to include boaters of all ages.

RBOC supported the legislation that was enacted to establish this program, SB 941 Monning and DeSaulnier, Chapter 433, Statutes of 2014.

The organization worked to have the program established at DBW, rather than DMV, to ensure that the certificate fees would be reasonable, and to provide for a lifetime certificate rather than a licensure program.

Sacramento, Calif. – California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting applications for the California Boater Card. The card verifies that its holder has successfully taken and passed an approved boater safety education course. Once issued, the California Boater Card remains valid for an operator’s lifetime.

On Sept. 18, 2014, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. signed into law Senate Bill 941, which prohibits the operation of motorized vessels in California without a valid boater card developed and issued by DBW. The new mandatory boating safety education law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018. The law will be phased in by age. The first group required to take the exam are boaters 20 years of age and younger. Each year after January 2018, a new age group will be added to those who are required to possess a valid card. By 2025, all persons who operate a motorized vessel on California waters will be required to have one. The cost of the lifetime card is $10, and all the money goes toward developing and operating the program. By law, DBW cannot profit from the program.

“California and U.S. Coast Guard accident data show that states with some form of boating safety education have fewer accidents and fatalities than states without any boater education requirements,” said DBW Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “This new law will help make boating safer for all families on California’s waterways.”

California is one of the last states to implement some sort of mandatory boating education requirement. Repeatedly, recreational boating accident data shows that many operators involved in accidents have not taken a boating safety course. For example, last year’s statistics showed that more than 800 California recreational vessels were involved in reported accidents, resulting in 50 deaths. Only one of the boat operators involved in the fatal accidents had taken an approved boating safety course.

Applying for the California Boater Card is easy. Boaters have an option to apply before or after taking an approved boating safety course. You can find the list of options at www.CaliforniaBoaterCard.com.  A toll-free telephone support line is also available at (844) 421-8333.

There is good news for boaters who have already taken an approved course between Jan. 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2017 - Persons who have passed an approved examination during this timeframe will have until Dec. 31, 2018 to apply for their California Boater Card to receive the “grandfathering” exemption regardless of their age. Older courses will not be accepted since they may not include recent state or national changes to navigation law.

Boating safety course providers must be approved not only by the state of California, but by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Courses may be classroom, home study or online. 

It is important to note there are exemptions to the new law. For example, those operating a rental vessel or possess a current commercial fishing license do not need to obtain a California Boater Card. For more information on the new mandatory boating safety education law, including a current list of approved California boating courses and exemptions to the law, please visit www.CaliforniaBoaterCard.com.

Govenor Vetoes Proposed Ban on Smoking in State Parks, on State Beaches

Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed AB 725 [Levine] and SB 386 [Glazer], measures that would have banned smoking in state parks and on state beaches.

The Governor issued identical veto messages on each measure:

"The bill prohibits smoking on state coastal beaches and throughout the State Park System, and requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to post signs to notify the public of the smoking ban.

"Last year I vetoed Senate Bill 1333, a similar measure, because I believed that such a far-reaching prohibition in every state park and on every state beach was too broad.

 "In addition, the fine prescribed in this bill for lighting one cigarette is excessive: over $250 dollars [AB 725] $485 [SB 386], after the mandatory assessments."

"If people can't smoke even on a deserted beach, where can they? There must be some limit to the coercive power of government."

 

Key Legislation Update - As Legislature Has Adjourned

This is an update on a number of key legislative issues now that the state Legislature has recessed the first year of the 2017-2018 legislative session. 

The deadline for the Governor’s consideration of the measures that passed the Legislature in the final days prior to adjournment is October 15.

Prohibition against drinking an alcoholic beverage or smoking or ingesting marijuana or any marijuana product while driving, or while riding as a passenger

SB 65 [Hill] – has been enacted into law after provisions of concern to RBOC were removed at the organization's request. Those provisions would have prohibited drinking an alcoholic beverage while operating a vessel. The current, extensive provisions of state law strike an effective balance that prevents boating under the influence [BUI], effectively enforces the BUI laws, and acknowledges the boating experience. 

Elimination of mortgage interest deduction on second homes

AB 71 [Chiu] – was not taken up on the Assembly Floor and may be considered in 2018. RBOC has advocated in opposition to this measure.

Expansion of vessels eligible to use distinctive blue lights to include fire department and fire protection district vessels while engaged in public safety activities

AB 78 [Cooper] – this RBOC-supported measure has been enacted and will take effect on January 1, 2018.

Requirement that DBW, to the extent feasible, collaborate with the California Conservation Corps and use members of the corps in implementing its invasive aquatic plants control programs

SB 704 [Galgiani] – this RBOC-supported measure has been enacted into law and will take effect on January 1, 2018.

Enactment of a 12 cents per gallon motor vehicle gasoline tax increase, and a 20 cents per gallon diesel fuel tax, with the portion of the new gasoline taxes attributable to boats placed in the State Parks and Recreation Fund

SB 1 [Hertzberg] – has been enacted into law, with the increase taking effect on November 1, 2017. At least one initiative to repeal the tax is being pursued.

Authorization for a court to impound, for up to 30 days, a boat used in a violation of the BUI laws if the owner is convicted and the conduct resulted in the unlawful killing of a person

SB 644 [Stone] – was vetoed by Governor Brown: “I do not see the need, in these tragic but narrow instances, to additionally expand the powers of government to impound private property as an added punitive measure. Because this bill will not act as a deterrent, and existing criminal and civil penalties are sufficient to address the conduct contemplated, I am returning this measure without my signature.”

Establishment of an infraction to smoke on a state coastal beach or in a unit of the state park system

AB 725 [Levine] – has passed the Legislature and proceeds to the Governor for his consideration.

Establishment of an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $100 for a person to smoke on a state coastal beach or in a unit of the state park system

SB 386 [Glaser] – has passed the Legislature and proceeds to the Governor for his consideration.

Establishment of an infraction to possess an alcoholic beverage in a vessel on portions of the Mokelumne River during a summer period for which the Board of Supervisors has banned consumption on land portions of the Stillman Magee County Park

AB 934 [Flora] – was not heard in the initial policy committee and may be considered next year.

Imposition of a quagga and zebra mussel infestation prevention fee of up to $50 annually, on non-resident owners of vessels, to be paid before the vessel is placed in the state’s waterways

AB 1587 [Levine] – was held under submission in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Prohibition against the sale of a nonbiodegradable toxic chemical in a container that indicates that the chemical could be used in a chemical toilet, a waste facility of a recreational vehicle, or a waste facility of a vessel

AB 852 [Caballero] – did not proceed through the Legislature and can be considered next year.

Proposed $3.5 billion water, parks, climate, coastal protection, and outdoor access bond measure – with potential funding for a Riverside County aquatic center

SB 5 [DeLeón] – has passed the Legislature and has proceeded to the Governor for possible placement before voters on the June 2018 statewide ballot.

Requirement that the lead agency provide information on costs for each water contractor and the benefits each contractor will receive from the proposed Delta water conveyance project prior to water contractors entering into specified agreements

AB 791 [Frazier] - was held under submission in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

Prohibition against the Delta Stewardship Council granting a certification of consistency with the Delta Plan until completion of the update of the 2006 Water Quality Control Plan for the Bay-Delta Estuary

AB 792 [Frazier] – did not proceed through the Legislature and can be considered next year.

Declaration of state policy that the existing state of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is recognized and defined as an integral component of California’s water infrastructure

AB 793 [Frazier] – did not proceed through the Legislature and can be considered next year.

Revision of the definition of a local emergency to include conditions of disaster or extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the territorial limits of a district established under the Harbors and Navigation Code

SB 531 [Galgiani] - did not proceed through the Legislature and can be considered next year.

Governor Brown Signs Marijuana DUI Bill into Law - Without Boating Provision

Governor Jerry Brown has just signed into law SB 65 [Hill] in the form that reflects revisions negotiated by RBOC.

Therefore, it does not contain the provision that would have made driving or operating a boat or vessel, while drinking any alcoholic beverage, punishable as either an infraction or a misdemeanor.

As enacted into law, SB 65 will make drinking an alcoholic beverage or smoking or ingesting marijuana or any marijuana product while driving, or while riding as a passenger in, a motor vehicle being driven upon a highway or upon specified lands punishable as an infraction.

RBOC appreciates Senator Jerry Hill's recognition that the current, extensive provisions of state law strike a balance that prevents boating under the influence [BUI], effectively enforces the extensive state BUI laws, and acknowledges the boating experience.

As set forth on the state Division of Boating and Waterways website, the state BUI laws include:

  • No person shall operate any vessel, water skis or similar device while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs. No person who is addicted to any drug shall operate any vessel, water skis or similar device.

  • No person 21 years of age or older shall operate any vessel, water skis or similar device who has 0.08 percent or more, by weight, of alcohol in his or her blood.

  • A level of at least 0.05 percent, but less than 0.08 percent, may be used with other evidence in determining whether the person was under the influence of alcohol.  

  • A person under 21 years of age or older who has been arrested for operating a mechanically propelled vessel “under the influence” may be requested to submit to a chemical test to determine blood-alcohol content.

  • A person convicted of operating a vessel while intoxicated could receive up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail.
  • No person under 21 years of age may operate a vessel, water skis or similar device who has 0.01 percent or more of alcohol in his or her blood by weight.

  • Penalties may include a fine of up to $250 and participation in an alcohol education or community service program. 

  • No person under 21 years of age may operate a vessel, water skis or similar device who has 0.01 percent or more of alcohol in his or her blood by weight.

  • Penalties may include a fine of up to $250 and participation in an alcohol education or community service program.

In addition to supporting these laws, boaters are doing our part financially. Several million dollars are provided to local boating enforcement each year in the form of boater-derived state fuel tax dollars and registration fees.

RBOC was also concerned that the proposed prohibition in an earlier version of SB 65 would have applied regardless of whether the boat is actively underway, and that the measure did not provide clarity on who would be considered the operator of a boat in the situations where there are multiple individuals on-board and vessels with multiple helms.

It should also be noted that the conditions of operating a boat on most waterways under regional or state jurisdiction are far, far different from the operation of a motor vehicle on restricted roadways.

The speed of operation and distances between boats or obstructions normally provide ample time for operators who are not "under the influence" to avoid dangerous circumstances while at the same time sipping a beer, glass of wine or cocktail at the helm of a vessel heading back to port after a day cruising.

Governor Jerry Brown Signs RBOC-supported Legislation on Delta Invasive Species Collaboration

Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law the RBOC-supported SB 704 [Galgiani] that will require the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) to collaborate with the California Conservation Corps (CCC), to the extent feasible, to use its corps members in implementing invasive aquatic plants control programs in the Delta, its tributaries, and the marsh.

RBOC-supported Bill Encouraging Collaboration on Invasives Species Advances

The RBOC-supported SB 704 [Galgiani] to encourage collaboration on important state efforts to combat invasive aquatic species including water hyacinth will pass the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife when the committee concludes its actions today.

SB 704 would require the state Division of Boating and Waterways [DBW], to the extent feasible, to collaborate with the California Conservation Corps (CCC) in implementing its control programs for invasive aquatic plants in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, its tributaries, and Suisun Marsh.

The author's statement on the purpose of the measure:

"The California Conservation Corps is a critical and valuable state organization that provides educational and work opportunities for young adults seeking to improve and protect California’s natural resources.  Currently, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is facing a devastating infestation of water hyacinth that clogs waterways and harms natural ecosystems.  The collaboration between CCC and the Division of Boating and Waterways would help in the fight to control water hyacinth, as well as other aquatic weeds.  Although contracts currently exist, this bill would codify the relationship between CCC and DBW and encourage their continued partnership."

RBOC-supported "Blue Light" Safety Bill Passes Senate Committee

The RBOC-supported boating public safety measure AB 78 [Cooper] has passed the Senate Committee on Public Safety with bipartisan support.

AB 78 would expand the allowed use of a distinctive blue light on public safety vessels to include vessels owned by fire departments or fire protection districts whenever the vessel may be engaged in law enforcement activities.

The measure next proceeds to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

The author's description of the measure and its objectives:

"Currently the Harbors and Navigation Code (section 652.2) authorizes the use of “blue” lights on law enforcement vessels only. The use of blue lights on emergency vessels indicates to civilian boaters to yield the right-of-way and/or to slow down as to not create a hazard or unnecessary wakes. They do not mean by themselves to stop and succumb to police actions. Fire Departments also work the California waterways and are responsible for public safety responses to include extinguishing boat, structure and bank fires, emergency response and rescue, dead body recovery, medical response and staffing public waterway events. 

"Current law does not allow fire to equip or use blue lights while they are engaged in a public safety capacity or response. This continues to cause difficulties in that fire department vessels cannot respond in the most expedient manner to water way emergencies. Furthermore, when their vessels are stationary at incidents such as fires, search or rescue operations or body recoveries boaters do not use caution when passing or approaching fire vessels. Many fire departments call for mutual aid from law enforcement vessels merely to “standby” with blue lights activated while fire department personnel provide emergency public safety services. This costs time for fire department vessels to wait for law enforcement response and also creates an unnecessary manpower drain because it requires the services of two public safety entities when one would suffice. 

"AB 78 would fix this problem by allowing fire departments to equip their vessels with blue lights and to use them only for public safety responses on the waterways."

 

 

RBOC-Opposed Second Home Mortgage Interest Deduction Elimination Bill Passes Committee

AB 71 [Chiu], legislation opposed by Recreational Boaters of California [RBOC] that would eliminate the state tax deduction for mortgage interest on second homes, has passed the Assembly Commitee on Revenue and Taxation.

RBOC testified in committee that the organization remains opposed to AB 71 unless this provision is removed from the bill. The California Association of Realtors, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and others are also advocating in opposition to this provision.

RBOC supports the provisions of AB 71 that propose to increase the amount of tax credits available for low income housing.

However, RBOC is concerned that the provisions of AB 71 that would eliminate the state tax deduction for mortgage interest on second homes would lead a significant number of prospective boat purchasers not to invest in a recreational vessel.

This would have a direct, negative impact on the future purchase of recreational vessels, the multibillion dollar state boating industry including ancillary products and services, as well as the economic health of many communities across the state that rely on revenues generated by boaters.

RBOC also stresses that it is important to note that the amount of the mortgage interest deduction is already capped regardless of whether the taxpayer has one home or two, and that recreational vessels that are second homes may not necessarily be vacation homes but could be used by owners who commute to work during the week.

RBOC Is Supporting Legislation Placing Water Hyacinth Collaboration Into Law

RBOC is supporting SB 704 [Galgiani, D-Stockton], legislation that would place into law the collaboration between the Division of Boating and Waterways [DBW] and the Conservation Corps, and the use of members of the Conservation Corps in implementing its water hyacinth control programs.

RBOC concurs with Senator Galgiani that the health of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is threatened by water hyacinth which obstructs waterways and marinas, consumes valuable water resources, creates human health and safety hazards, and damages natural ecosystems by crowding out native plants and wildlife.

DBW is the appropriate and engaged lead agency for eradicating and controlling invasive aquatic plants, and has entered into agreements with the Conservation Corps to perform work in the Delta to help control water hyacinth.

RBOC Supporting Legislation Expanding Use of Blue Lights on Public Safety Vessels

RBOC is supporting AB 78 [Cooper, D-Elk Grove] that would expand the allowed use of a distinctive blue light on public safety vessels to include vessels owned by fire departments or fire protection districts whenever the vessel may be engaged in law enforcement activities.

RBOC believes this measure would improve department vessels response time and fire department personnel safety when they are stationary and engaged in a variety of public safety activities.

Existing law does not allow local or state fire agencies to equip their vessels with emergency blue lights, even though, as first responders, fire departments are required to respond to emergencies such as search and rescue and medical calls for service. AB 78 would remedy this situation.