Department of Marine Vessels will oversee mix of boats at marinas and implement environmental regulations.
SACRAMENTO — Long wait times on the water, grumpy employees with bad tans and glitches associated with the implementation of a new licensing system. If this sounds like your average day at the DMV, you’re right — except it’s not the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Instead, it’s the new norm for California’s boaters, who, as of April 1, must deal with the newly minted Department of Marine Vessels.
The boating iteration of DMV officially replaces the Division of Boating and Waterways, which was suddenly phased out under a decree issued by Gov. Jerry Brown just a few days ago.
Officials had been planning to reorganize California’s State Parks department; the agency managed the Division of Boating and Waterways since it was downgraded from its own department as part of Brown’s reorganization in 2012.
Brown spearheaded this reorganization as the sun begins to set on his days as California’s top executive, stating a lot has changed since 2012.
“Back in 2012, we were reeling from the effects of the Great Recession. It only made sense to cut down on waste and alter the way we managed boating in California,” Brown said at a recent press conference addressing a proposed single-use straw ban for rural counties. “But now the California economy is stronger than ever. People can afford yachts again. Boaters need a dedicated department, now more than ever.”
A new DMV office will be built at every coastal harbor in California. A handful of inland lakes up and down the state will also have new DMV offices.
State analysts expect the new Department of Marine Vessels rollout will cost California boats $23.7 billion. Brown’s staff said 60 percent of department operations would be financed by tidelands funds; the other 40 percent comes from California’s taxpayers.
So what can we expect from the new Department of Marine Vessels? A spokesperson from the governor’s office provided The Log with a list of regulations the new department is expected to oversee. Below is a brief sampling:
- California Boater Card: The new DMW will issue mandated California Boater Cards to all boaters. The state will continue to roll out the card as previously planned, but boaters must now conduct an on-the-water boat test, in addition to fulfilling the required education component.
- Boater Card Education: Only courses approved by the Department of Marine Vessels will be accepted to fulfill the Boater Card education component.
- Sea Level Rise Monitoring: At least $5 million, annually, will be allocated for sea level rise monitoring at each harbor.
- TMDL Enforcement: All California harbors must now abide by some form of TMDL, or Total Maximum Daily Load, mandate to address copper levels hailing from boat bottom paints. The state is apparently flirting with the idea of requiring 30 percent of all California boaters to use alternate paints.
- License Plates: All boats manufactured after Jan. 1, 2020 and registered in California will be required to have a license plate, similar to automobiles, trucks and motorcycles.
- Insurance: All boats must carry proof of current and valid insurance. Insurance paperwork must be submitted to the marine vessels department annually. Failure to file such paperwork will result in a $750 fine.
- PFDs: Anyone boarding a craft, regardless of size and type, must wear a personal flotation device, or PFD. This requirement applies to kayaks, standup paddleboards and all other forms of personal watercraft. Violation of this new requirement will result in a citation and $1,250 fine.
More information on the new Department of Marine Vessels is available online at marinevessels.ca.gov or by calling 916-555-CDMV.
Hi! Thank you for reading through the entire article! April 1 is just around the corner, so we decided to have a little light-hearted fun. The Log’s Parimal M. Rohit penned this satire column in hopes of drawing a few chuckles. He wrote this as a work of fiction in honor of April Fool’s Day. Everything written above is either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.