State funding available for public agencies to keep waterways clean

Cities, counties and port districts can now apply for Division of Boating and Waterways grants.

SACRAMENTO — The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting grant applications for the disposal of abandoned and unwanted vessels and law enforcement safety equipment. A total of $4.25 million in funding from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund (AWAF) and Boating Safety/Enforcement Equipment (BSEE) grant programs is available to local public agencies statewide. Applications will be accepted through April 30.

AWAF and BSEE both help improve safety on California’s waterways and alleviate the issue of abandoned vessels, according to DBW staff.

Numerous abandoned and derelict vessels are a pervasive environmental and public safety problem in coastal and inland waterways. DBW staff considers such vessels to be an eyesore and an environmental hazard. Last fiscal year, DBW provided $2.75 million in AWAF funding and $1.5 million in BSEE funding to local public agencies to help alleviate the problem.

The division recently hosted workshops for each program to guide new applicants and returning grantees. Email for more information about the workshops.

California’s AWAF Program helps with the removal, reduction and prevention of abandoned recreational vessels and marine debris on the state’s waterways. Grant recipients must have jurisdiction over navigable California waterways.

Private businesses cannot apply for a grant. However, they may work through a local public agency that is participating in the AWAF Program to remove abandoned vessels on their private property, Vessel Turn In Program (VTIP) to surrender vessels if they have titles of ownership and/or remove hazardous marine debris. View Program Information

BSEE grants, meanwhile, are available to local government agencies demonstrating a need for boating safety and law enforcement equipment pursuant to the application assessment criteria. Funds are available to local law enforcement agencies to purchase patrol boats, engines and personal watercraft, search and rescue, patrol and diving equipment. These competitive grants are intended to augment existing local resources and not to fully fund boating safety and enforcement. View Program Information

Visit DBW’s website at for information on other grant and loan programs.

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