Guest Editorial: Become a Dockwalker and Help Keep California’s Waterways Clean

STATEWIDE—The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) and the California Coastal Commission invite the public to become volunteer Dockwalkers and help keep California’s rivers, lakes and ocean clean. These individuals help raise awareness about clean boating practices through the distribution of boater kits filled with educational information and pollution prevention tools. Dockwalkers also interact one-on-one with recreational boaters at marinas, yacht clubs, boat launch ramps, boating events and popular boating areas, or by simply talking to boaters wherever they are.

The free Dockwalker trainings are set to begin in March and run through May 2019 around the state. Participation in the program, including the training sessions qualifies as community service. To find the cities where the training is available and to pre-register, please visit and select “Dockwalker Program.”

“Dockwalkers make it easy for boaters to learn how to implement clean boating practices,” said Vivian Matuk, Boating Clean and Green Program Manager. “We invite outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference for our waterways by becoming a Dockwalker. Anyone from 15 to 100 years young who is interested in water quality and sharing clean boating information can become a Dockwalker!”

Training classes will be held in the following cities: Newport Beach (March 30); San Diego (April 27); Marina del Rey (May 4); and, San Pedro (May 11).

If you are a boater, this is your program because you want to protect the waterways and share your knowledge with your peers. Many Dockwalkers are boaters themselves, thus the program boasts that it exerts a bit of “pier pressure.”

Marinas and yacht clubs are also encouraged to participate in the Dockwalker Program. Participating facilities receive educational materials and tools to operate a clean boating facility and minimize water quality impacts. This program provides marinas with points towards the Clean Marina designation, and participation in the Dockwalker Program counts towards the nomination of the Club of the Year under the community service category. In addition, yacht clubs and marinas are essential in spreading awareness directly to boaters.

Safety organizations such as the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons also benefit from the Dockwalker Program as it supports their current efforts, and enhances and broadens their boating safety mission.

Partnerships with the Bay Foundation (DBW Clean Vessel Act Program), the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadrons, Save Our Shores, Lake Berryessa Partnership and many more organizations are integral to this program’s success.

California has one of the highest levels of recreational boating activity in the nation. With approximately 4 million boaters, even a small amount of pollution per vessel can cause serious harm to waterways, marine fish and wildlife. Since 2000, more than a thousand Dockwalkers have taught 10,000 boaters about oil, fuel, sewage, trash and marine debris prevention. The DBW and California Coastal Commission’s Boating Clean and Green Program manage the Dockwalker Program

For more information on the program including testimonials and videos, please visit and select “Dockwalker Program.”


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