TAKE ACTION: Save the California Department of Boating & Waterways
Byline: The Log Staff
Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed to eliminate the Department of Boating & Waterways (Cal Boating) and transfer its functions to the Department of Parks and Recreation — putting an end to a self-supporting, independent agency that has a 54-year successful track record of enhancing boating access, boating facilities, boating law enforcement and boating education statewide.
“The Department of Boating and Waterways is critical to the future of boating in California,” explained the California Yacht Brokers Association in a recent statement. “It funds launch ramp construction, loans for marina construction, construction of boating safety centers, boating safety and law enforcement programs, abandoned vessel removal, public outreach programs and even weed control in boating areas.”
The boater advocacy group Recreational Boaters of California has issued a “Call to Arms” for all boaters statewide to write the governor and California legislators, urging them to support Cal Boating and oppose any plan to eliminate this important agency.
To contact Gov. Brown via email, visit govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail.php and insert your comments in the boxes provide
To contact your California Senate representative, visit senate.ca.gov. At the bottom of the home page is a link labeled “Find My Senator,” where you can search based on your home address.
To contact your California Assembly representative, visit assembly.ca.gov. At the bottom of the home page is a link labeled “Find my Representative,” where you can search based on your home address.
Make YOUR voice heard by sending an email NOW, to ensure that the governor and California legislators act to represent the needs and wants of boaters. Use this letter as a starting point for your own composition, or simply “cut and paste” it into your own separate emails to your state senator, your state assembly representative and the governor. Remember to include your full name, address and city of residency at the end of the email.
Dear _____________<Your Legislator’s Name>
I am writing to express my strong opposition to Gov. Brown’s recent proposal to eliminate the Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating). Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Cal Boating is completely self-funded by boaters’ dollars. Cal Boating does not rely on the state’s General Fund to pay for its many crucial construction projects, programs, staff or operating expenses. Eliminating the department would not help with the state’s financial problems.
2. Cal Boating’s efforts are dedicated to promoting boating, and are critical to ensuring the future economic health of California. Recreational boating is an economic powerhouse, contributing approximately $16.5 billion to the gross state product, which represents about 1.2 percent of the state’s economy, and generates about $1.6 billion in state and local taxes. There are more than 8,500 recreational boating-related businesses. Recreational boating also creates more than 284,000 direct and indirect jobs.
3. Cal Boating is the primary funding source for boating infrastructure construction. Each year, Cal Boating provides millions of dollars in the form of grants and loans for private enterprises and public agencies for boating infrastructure projects. Without the availability of these grants and loans, boating infrastructure improvements and repairs would be severely hampered, along with the much-needed jobs these projects create.
4. Cal Boating’s loans for boating projects are consistently paid back with interest. These loans generate approximately $20 million dollars in revenue each year for Cal Boating, through the repayment of principal and interest. Cal Boating actually makes money for the state.
5. Cal Boating safety programs save lives. Cal Boating has an aggressive safety outreach program, including direct financial support for law enforcement in high-boating traffic areas, that is critical to saving lives on the water.
In short, the Department of Boating and Waterways does an excellent job that has many direct and indirect financial and other benefits to the state — all without one penny of support required from the General Fund.
A decision to eliminate the department would have a serious adverse affect on California’s economy and the safe enjoyment of boating statewide. Please keep boating strong by saving the California Department of Boating and Waterways.