Boating & Waterways Commission to Consider $153,000 Boating Project

The California Boating and Waterways Commission will meet on January 8, 2004, to consider approval of a $153,000 Department of Boating and Waterways boating launching facility grant project. The meeting is scheduled to convene at 8:30 a.m. in the Feather River Room at the Department of Boating and Waterways, 2000 Evergreen Street, Suite 100, in Sacramento. Details of the proposed project follow:

Kern County - Lake Ming Boat Launching Facility

The County of Kern has applied for a $153,000 grant to for the first phase of a proposed $1,526,000 improvement project at the boat launching facility at Lake Ming, located 10 miles northeast of Bakersfield. The project will include the replacement of two two-lane concrete boat launching ramps; replacement of the existing boarding floats and docks with four new pile-guided boarding floats; a new four-unit handicapped-accessible restroom building; resurfacing of two parking areas; and lighting.

Department loans require the consent of the seven-member Boating and Waterways Commission, appointed by the Governor. Funding for the projects is derived from the taxes paid by boaters on the purchase of gasoline for their vessels.


DBW Issues Boating Safety Advisory

The California Department of Boating and Waterways issued a boater's safety advisory today after recording the ninth boating-related fatality since the beginning of Memorial Day weekend.

"One of the victims died while using a paddlecraft, three while swimming from their vessels, and five in motorboat accidents, three of which were collisions involving personal watercraft," said Raynor Tsuneyoshi, DBW Director.

Collisions are the most common type of accident involving open motorboats, including personal watercraft (PWC). Everyone aboard a PWC and anyone being towed by a vessel must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Most types of life jacket will turn an unconscious wearer face-up in the water until help arrives.

Operator inexperience is one of the leading causes of boating accidents. DBW accident analyst, Amy Rigby, recommends that anyone operating a boat such as a PWC for the first time take the time to become familiar with its operation. Operator inattention is another leading accident cause. "People forget to look where they're going, and heavy boat traffic only makes the situation worse," said Rigby.

"Crowded waterways and alcohol are two important contributing factors in boating accidents," said Tsuneyoshi. "When everyone around you is in a weekend or holiday frame of mind, keeping a sharp lookout and maintaining a safe distance from other vessels are absolutely essential."

When fatigue combines with marine stressors such as wind, engine vibration, wave action, noise, sunlight, temperature and glare, looking out for other boat traffic and watching boat speed is important. Add alcohol to the mix and conditions become even more dangerous. Half of last year's boating fatalities were alcohol related.

Designating a sober operator may not be enough. "We've seen cases where a passenger fell overboard and was too intoxicated for self-rescue," says Rigby, "and the other boat passengers weren't sober enough to help the victim in time."

Parents should keep a watchful eye on children playing in or around the water and are advised to put life jackets on them as an added safety measure. California's rivers and lakes have rocky bottoms and sudden drop-offs, a combination that has led to children drowning in as little as four feet of water. When boating, children under the age of 13 must wear their life jackets when aboard a boat 26 feet long or smaller, while the vessel is under way.

Boaters are also reminded that the water in most rivers is still cold and running high from spring snowmelt. Dangerous river currents have already resulted in several drownings this year. Rafters should call ahead to check the flow level with the river operator, and consider taking a commercially guided trip or putting off their trip until conditions improve.

Rigby says that people tend to panic when they are caught in a current. "The thing to do is to float with the current on your back, feet-first, to fend off obstacles, until the current weakens and you can swim to shore," she advised.

"If everyone would remember to keep a proper lookout, wear their life jackets, and watch the alcohol, most accidents could be avoided," said Tsuneyoshi.


EDITOR'S NOTE: A personal watercraft (PWC) is defined as a vessel 13 ft. or less in length, propelled by machinery, that is designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel, rather than in the conventional manner of sitting or standing inside the vessel, including Jet Skis, Wave Runners, etc.

Boating Alerts & Notices: 2002


Boating and Waterways Commission Approves $1,535,000 in Boating Projects

At a meeting held on June 18, 2002, in Concord, Calif., the California Boating and Waterways Commission approved $1,535,000 in Department of Boating and Waterways boating facility loans. The approved projects are:

Alameda County - Fortman Marina

A $235,000 loan to the owners of the Fortman Marina, located in the city of Alameda, for improvements including installing new roofs, decks and flotation for the docks with covered berths; reconfiguring and replacing the end tie docks; upgrading the restrooms; replacing piles; paving and sealing the parking area; and installing new landscaping.

San Diego County - National City (Chula Vista) Marina

A $1,300,000 loan to the San Diego Unified Port District, for the engineering and design phase of an $11,000,000 loan. The Port and the City of National City will provide an additional $7,214,000 for the $18,214,000 project. The proposed project will include a new 229-berth marina, with barrier-free gangways, a 192-space parking lot, a harbormaster's building, a restroom, dock utilities, a fuel dock, slope protection, security gates, pathways, landscaping and irrigation, and signs. The Port District and the City will fund the dredging of the marina basin, pilings, dock communications, and storm drains.

Department loans and grants require the consent of the Boating and Waterways commission. The seven-member commission, appointed by the Governor, also advises the Department on matters within its jurisdiction. Funding for the projects is derived from the taxes paid by boaters on the purchase of gasoline for their vessels.