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.

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.

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 Directors Lobby 2018 Boating Issues in State Capitol

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

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Bill Pirating Recreational Boater Funds for Commmercial Vessel Cleanup Held in Committee

The Assembly Appropriations Committee has "held under submission" the RBOC-opposed AB 2092 [Frazier] that would authorize the use of boater-generated state taxes and fees for the cleanup of commercial vessels.

With this action, AB 2092 did not proceed through the Appropriations Committee prior to the deadline for bills to proceed to the Assembly Floor [Assembly Third Reading].

Many thanks to the many boaters statewide who took action to contact their elected representatives and express concerns with this important measure. Your actions make a difference.

Save Boater Fundsfrom Being Pirated for Commercial Vessel Cleanup - Contact Assembly Appropriations Committee Members Prior to May 27

RBOC is continuing to encourage California Boaters to contact their elected representatives on the Assembly Appropriations Committee and to urge a “no” vote on AB 2092 [Frazier] in Committee unless the bill is amended so that recreational boaters’ funds will not be used to rid the waterways of abandoned commercial vessels.

Please take action today. The committe's decision on the bill will occur prior to a May 27 deadline.

To take action: click here

Take Action Today to Protect Recreational Boater Funds from Being Pirated for Commercial Vessel Cleanup [4/21]

California Boaters are encouraged to contact their elected representatives on the Assembly Appropriations Committee and to urge a “no” vote on AB 2092 [Frazier] in Committee unless the bill is amended so that recreational boaters’ funds will not be used to rid the waterways of abandoned commercial vessels.

Please take action today. The bill could be heard next week, and must pass through committee prior to a May 27 deadline.

To take action: click here

Key issues:

AB 2092 [Frazier] would target recreational boater funds for the cleanup of abandoned commercial vessels. 

Commercial vessels are much more expensive to clean-up and the cost of one vessel could exceed the entire amount of available funds.

The owners of commercial vessels do not contribute to our fund – only recreational vessel owners do.

The demand for clean-up of recreational vessels already exceeds the amount of available funds. These vessels should remain the top priority at this time.

There is no condition in the bill restricting the cleanup of abandoned commercial vessels to those that pose a danger to recreational boaters.

Bill Pirating Boater Funds for Commercial Vessel Clean-up Passes First Committee

Legislation authorizing recreational boater funds to be utilized for the cleanup of commercial vessels passed the first legislative policy committee, the Assembly Transportation Committee, following todays' hearing.

RBOC testified in opposition to the measure, AB 2092 [Frazier], unless is it amended so that recreational boaters' funds will not be used to rid the waterways of abandoned commercial vessels.

In addition, hundreds of individual boaters contacted their elected representatives on the committee.

The announced vote of the 16-member committee is 10 "ayes" to 3 "nayes." Nine votes were necessary for passage.

The measure next proceeds to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.

RBOC will be enabling boaters to contact their representatives on the committee in advance of the committee hearing, and will be advocating RBOC's position in the State Capitol.

RBOC Working to Protect Boater Funds from being Tagged for Commercial Vessel Cleanup

RBOC is working to protect boater fuel tax dollars and registration fees from a proposal to target these funds for the cleanup of abandoned commercial vessels.

RBOC is opposing AB 2092 [Frazier] unless the bill is amended so that recreational boaters’ funds will not be used to rid the waterways of abandoned commercial vessels.

RBOC is greatly concerned that, as currently written, AB 2092 would open up the use of boater fuel tax dollars and registration fees for commercial vessels. The key issues:

  • Commercial vessels are much more expensive to clean-up and the cost of one vessel could exceed the entire fund.
  • The owners of commercial vessels do not contribute to the fund –only recreational vessel owners do.
  • The demand for clean-up of recreational vessels already exceeds the amount of available funds. These vessels should remain the topaat this time.
  • There have been no comprehensive studies of:
  • The extent to which abandoned commercial vessels represent danger on the waterways;
    • Whether the owners of abandoned commercial vessels can be identified and assessed cleanup costs; and
    • Whether there are other alternatives to tapping into the recreational boater-funded program, such as state recycle and superfund dollars.

AB 2092 proposes to open up the use of boater-generated fuel tax dollars and registration fees for the cleanup of abandoned commercial vessels. At issue is the integrity of the boater supported and financed Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund [AWAF] and Vessel Turn-in Program [VTIP]. RBOC has been – and continues to be - a strong supporter of both of these essential programs.

The AWAF and VTIP provide funds to public agencies to remove, store, and dispose of abandoned, wrecked, or dismantled recreational vessels which pose a substantial hazard to navigation, from navigable waterways or adjacent public property, or private property with the landowner's consent.

As part of its commitment to provide clean, safe and enjoyable recreational boating on California's waterways, the Division of Boating and Waterways [DBW] administers this statewide program. It allows public local agencies to apply for funding and upon approval, enter into a contract grant agreement with DBW.

The AWAF and VTIP, enacted in 1998 and 2010 respectively, have provided millions of dollars in grants, and have enabled the removal of thousands of vessels and other marine debris.

The Governor has proposed a budget of $1.75 million for the program in next year’s budget, and we understand that the monetary requests of grant applicants greatly exceed the available funds.

As RBOC has discussed with the author and proponents of the measure, rather than focus on recreational boaters’ funds, RBOC would be pleased to work with all interested stakeholders to address the issues raised by the abandonment of commercial vessels in California, and to identify effective, efficient, and balanced efforts that can be taken.

RBOC continues to be engaged in the productive dialogue that occurs within the abandoned vessel working group that focuses on these issues and can provide a beneficial forum for the development of ideas.

Other state and local agencies that have financial resources and expertise should also be approached. CalRecycle, for instance, completed a department-managed Pilot Project a few years ago with the stated objective of removing abandoned commercial vessels and debris that poses threats to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

There is a CalRecycle Solid Waste Cleanup Trust Fund and a State Water Resources Control Board Cleanup and Abatement Account.

Update on Key 2015 Legislation Impacting Boaters

An update on the key 2015 legislation impacting boating interests:

Personal Flotation Devices

AB 638 (Frazier)

RBOC is supporting AB 638 [Frazier], legislation that would enhance safety on the state’s waterways.  The bill would amend Harbors and Navigation Code Section 658.3 to expand the requirement for children under 13 to wear a personal flotation device [PFD] to boats over 26 feet, rather than just boats 26 feet and under.

The requirement to wear a PFD would continue to apply while the vessel is underway, unless the child is either restrained by a harness tethered to the vessel, or is in an enclosed cabin.

RBOC also supports the logical and reasonable provision of AB 638 that would amend the definition of “enclosed cabin” to mean a space on board a vessel that is surrounded by bulkheads or canvass, and covered by a roof.

The following two practical exceptions set forth of Section 658.3 would continue:

(1) This subdivision does not apply to a person aboard a personal watercraft or a person being towed behind a vessel on water skis, if that person is a performer engaged in a professional exhibition, or preparing to participate or participating with authorization pursuant to a United States Coast Guard permit or other permit granted pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 268 in an official regatta, marine parade, tournament, or exhibition.

(2) In lieu of wearing a United States Coast Guard-approved wearable personal flotation device as described in this subdivision, a person engaged in slalom skiing on a marked course or a person engaged in barefoot, jump, or trick waterskiing may elect to wear a wetsuit designed for the activity and labeled by the manufacturer as a water ski wetsuit. A United States Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device as described in this subdivision shall be carried in the tow vessel for each skier electing to wear a water ski wetsuit pursuant to this paragraph.

The bill has passed the Assembly and now proceeds to the Senate for consideration.

Division of Boating and Waterways: oversight committee on invasive aquatic plants

SB 223 (Galgiani)

RBOC is supporting this bill that would require the Division of Boating and Waterways to establish, and designate and provide staff support to, an advisory and oversight committee to evaluate and monitor the activities of the division relating to the management and control or eradication of those plants.

The bill would require the membership of the advisory and oversight committee to include an equitable number of representatives from specified interests and would require the advisory and oversight committee to meet, at a minimum, twice per year and communicate any findings or recommendations to the division

This bill has passed the Senate policy committee and has been placed “on suspense” in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Marine Debris: Removal and Disposal

AB 1323 (Frazier )

RBOC has been supporting this bill but it also inquiring into the amendments made to the bill on May 5.

The bill would exempt from current notice provisions marine debris that constitutes a public nuisance or a danger to navigation, health, safety, or the environment, and would authorize such marine debris to be removed and disposed of immediately, unless the marine debris is whole and the owner of the marine debris is identifiable, in which case the bill would require it to be maintained or stored for 10 days.

The bill would authorize a public entity to recover costs incurred for removal and disposal of marine debris from the owner or other specified persons.

The bill would require the State Lands Commission, on or before January 1, 2017, to adopt best management practices and requirements for salvage of marine debris. 

The bill is on the Assembly Floor [Assembly Third Reading]

 State Parks Revenue Generation

AB 549 (Levine) 

This bill would revise the existing law that requires the Department of Parks and Recreation to report to the Legislature annually on or before July 1 on the revenue distributed to each park district.

The bill would instead require the department to report to the Legislature annually on or before December 31. 

This bill has passed the Assembly and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Motor vehicle fuel taxes: diesel fuel taxes: rates: adjustments

SB 433 (Berryhill)

This bill would, for the 2016-17 fiscal year to the 2020 -21 fiscal year, inclusive, on or before May 15 of the fiscal year immediately preceding the applicable fiscal year , require the Department of Finance to adjust the motor vehicle fuel tax rate.

This bill is on the Senate Floor (Senate Third Reading)

Property Tax Postponement for Mobilehomes and Floating Homes

SB 477 (Leyva)

This bill would authorize an owner of a mobilehome or floating home, who is a qualified person, to seek postponement of ad valorem taxes under provisions similar to other owners of real property. 

This bill is in the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

County Search and Rescue Costs

AB 896 (Wagner)

This bill would allow counties to seek reimbursement from residents 16 or older for search or rescue costs under specified conditions. 

This bill is on Assembly Third Reading [Assembly Floor].

Renewable Gas Standard

SB 687 (Allen)

This bill would require the state air board to adopt a carbon-based renewable gas standard by June 30, 2016.  The bill would also specify that the ARB is required to ensure a gas seller is making reasonable progress to meeting the compliance periods.

The bill will next be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Bay Delta Conservation Plan: judicial review

SB 772 (Stone)  

This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation establishing judicial review procedures for the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. 

This bill has not moved forward this year.