L.A. Supervisors approve participation in boating safety financial aid program

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County will continue to receive funding for boating safety and enforcement at harbors in Marina del Rey, Redondo Beach, Avalon and other waterfront venues between Long Beach and Malibu, as the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution at its May 5 meeting to continue accepting money from Cal Boating and its participation in the state’s boating financial aid program.

The adopted resolution directs officials to secure funding from Cal Boating for boating safety and enforcement on all waters within Los Angeles County and authorize the regional government to participate in the Boating Safety and Enforcement Financial Aid Program.

By participating in the state’s financial aid program, the county’s fire department could receive a reimbursement of up to $2.12 million for its work in ensuring boating safety and enforcement.

“Participation in the [Cal Boating] Program will continue existing funding to the district lifeguard rescue services for [the next fiscal year] and may possibly provide additional financial aid to the county’s other boating safety and law enforcement efforts,” county fire chief Daryl Osby and Sheriff Jim McConnell said in a joint letter.

The county requested more than $6.5 million in total funding from the state for boating safety and enforcement efforts, according to Osby’s and McConnell’s joint letter. They added Los Angeles County has participated in the state’s financial aid program since 1996 and annually received $2.12 million to maintain its boating safety and enforcement efforts.

Los Angeles County, home to 1,477 square miles of coastal area and 72 miles of public beaches and open ocean waters, receives the highest amount of state aid for boating safety and enforcement efforts. According to Cal Boating, Los Angeles County’s Fire Department receives upwards of three times the state aid than the next highest agency: Contra Costa County’s Sheriff Department. Contra Costa County, which includes marinas in Richmond and Martinez, receives $638,249 from Cal Boating annually for its boating safety and enforcement efforts.

Most agencies receive between $100,000 and $325,000 annually from Cal Boating to help fund their respective efforts to promote boating safety and enforce maritime laws.

Cal Boating provides financial assistance to select government agencies overseeing waterways with high transient boater traffic and, according to the state division, has “an insufficient tax base to fully support a boating safety and enforcement program.”

In all, 36 counties and two cities receive $10,563,900 in financial aid from Cal Boating; Los Angeles County is responsible for about 20 percent of the allocated funding.

The voluntary financial assistance program is supposed to complement, as opposed to fully fund, a city or county’s enforcement of boating laws, vessel inspections, search and rescue operations and overall safety of local waterways.

Agencies are permitted to use the financial assistance, which is provided through the Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund, to cover administration, equipment, maintenance, operations and personnel costs.

State legislators enacted the Boating Safety and Enforcement Financial Aid Program in 1969.


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