California Accepting Applications for On-the-Water Boating Safety Education Grants - Application Deadline Set for Nov. 5, 2019


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting Aquatic Center Education Grant applications to help keep water enthusiasts safe on California’s waterways. Local public agencies, nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities operating on-the-water boating safety education programs within California can apply for these education grants. The application deadline is Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by 5 p.m.

California is home to many aquatic centers where children, youth and adults learn how to safely operate recreational vessels. Universities, colleges, local public agencies, and non-profit organizations operate these centers and provide classroom and on-the-water boating safety education in kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, powerboating, sailing, personal watercraft operation and other aquatic activities. Some centers specialize in programs for the disabled. 

In the past two-year funding cycle, DBW awarded more than $2 million to 42 aquatic center programs throughout the state, benefitting over 65,000 new and intermediate boaters. Funding covered the following items: 

  • Boating equipment and supplies.
  • Student scholarships for on-the-water boating courses.
  • Boating instructor training.
  • Boating safety-related events connected with National Safe Boating Week (NSBW), a week in May dedicated to promoting safe and responsible boating.

For this grant cycle, DBW has allocated up to $1 million for the program. The maximum grant award is $40,000 per grantee for a combination of equipment, scholarship and instructor training requests. Supplemental funding of up to $2,000 is available for NSBW events. 

Interested applicants should first review the Frequently Asked Questions on DBW’s grants web page to determine if they meet the necessary requirements. The online grant application (OGAL) system is located on the same web page.

Each application will be ranked and scored based on its demonstration of the applicant’s ability to safely and effectively teach on-the-water boating safety courses, enhance boaters’ knowledge of boating laws, demonstrate practical handling of vessels, understand weather and water conditions, and provide other boating safety information. 

DBW administers the Aquatic Center Education Grant Program, which is funded by the U.S. Coast Guard’s Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Over the past 10 years, the division has administered approximately $12.4 million in grant funding for aquatic centers throughout California. 

For detailed information on the grant program, please visit DBW’s grants web page at www.dbw.parks.ca.gov/AquaticCenterGrants.


Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC) beginner sailing students and their instructor release the sail for a photo opportunity in Clipper Cove near the Bay Bridge. TISC, a non-profit boating education organization, uses DBW grant funding to provide on-the-water boating safety courses to Bay Area children and adults. 



Division of Boating and Waterways Now Accepting Grant Applications to Keep California’s Waterways Clean - Grant Applications due October 14, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting grant applications for the Clean Vessel Act Education and Outreach (CVAEO) Grant Program. A maximum of $262,000 in federal funding per targeted region is available to organizations for educating coastal and San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary boaters about proper vessel sewage disposal, use of pumpout facilities, and monitoring pumpout stations. The deadline to submit applications is Monday, Oct. 14, 2019 before 10 a.m.

In 1992, Congress passed the Clean Vessel Act and established the CVAEO Grant Program to help reduce pollution from vessel sewage discharges into U.S. waters. Discharging sewage overboard creates environmental and human health problems. To reduce the negative impacts of discharging sewage overboard, all boaters are encouraged to use sewage management facilities, including pumpout stations, dump stations and mobile pumpout services. DBW uses federal Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund grants to support this program. 

The grant program targets two geographic regions of California:

San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary

Counties of:



San Mateo


Contra Costa


Santa Clara



San Francisco

Santa Cruz



San Joaquin







Southern California Coast

Counties of:

Los Angeles

San Diego

Santa Barbara


San Luis Obispo


As part of DBW’s commitment to provide clean, safe and enjoyable recreational boating in California, the division serves as the state grant coordinator. DBW will fund two grants (one for each targeted California geographic region) that will develop and implement a 12-month Clean Vessel Act Boater Education and Outreach Program for each of the two-targeted geographic regions mentioned above. Each regional grant must include: 1) education and outreach and 2) monitoring. Applications will be evaluated and ranked according to how each application proposal demonstrates comprehensive and proven methods for meeting grant program goals. 

In the last grant cycle, some highlights and accomplishments included: 

  • Participating in eight boating events and conducting 18 clean boating seminars sharing clean boating practices to reduce boat sewage impacts with more than 2,300 boaters.
  • Distributing more than 7,860 clean boating publications promoting sewage best management practices.
  • Distributing more than 300 universal deck fitting adapter kits.
  • Developing and promoting the first in the nation sewage pumpout Nav App (8,645+ downloads since March 2018). This app helps boaters locate nearby functioning sewage pumpout stations and displays cost, hours and location within marinas.
  • Monitoring 150 sewage pumpouts in 19 counties to encourage better maintenance and accountability.

Information on the grant program, as well as the current grant application, requirements and complete guidelines packet are available online or by request via email.



Division of Boating and Waterways Urges Water Enthusiasts to Take Safety Precautions over Labor Day Weekend
Crowds, Cold Water and Alcohol Are Not a Good Mix

SACRAMENTO, Calif. –As the last hurrah of the boating season begins this Labor Day weekend, the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is reminding everyone to take extra precautions to prevent a tragedy for you and your loved ones. With many boaters and water enthusiasts out on California’s lakes, rivers and along the coast, DBW has three simple tips to stay safe.

First, Always Wear a Life Jacket:

“Life jackets are the easiest and best preventive action you can take to increase your chances of survival,” said DBW Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “Everyone, not just children, should wear a life jacket at all times when near, in or on the water.”

Life jackets are a non-negotiable on any boating trip. U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that more than 80 percent of those who drowned were not wearing a life jacket. Don’t let your family and friends be part of this statistic. Assign each passenger with a properly fitted US Coast Guard-approved life jacket prior to departure.

Under California law, a life jacket is required for each person on board a recreational vessel. Children under 13 years of age on a moving vessel of any length, all personal watercraft riders, and anyone being towed behind a boat are required to wear a life jacket while recreating. The law does not apply to children under 13 years of age who are on a sailboat and are constrained by a harness tethered to the sailboat, in an enclosed cabin, or a vessel engaged in an emergency rescue situation.

Second, Leave Your Alcohol on the Shore:

Buzzed boating, or boating under the influence of alcohol or other substances is involved in one out of three boating fatalities. Do not bring or consume alcohol or drugs while on the water. Alcohol use is the primary contributing factor in over 30 percent of boater fatalities according to U.S. Coast Guard statistics. Tragedy can be avoided when boaters choose not to drink while boating.

Consuming alcohol negatively impacts vision, balance and reaction times and can cause dehydration. The effects of alcohol are heightened on the water compared to on land, with the environmental stressors such as wind, noise, and vibrations of the boat.

Boating under the influence is illegal on all bodies of water. Law enforcement can terminate your voyage and issue citations if you are found to be impaired.

Third, Know About the Dangers of Cold Water Immersion and Shock:

Even on a hot day, the water temperature can be cold and trigger cold water immersion and shock, which is the cause of many boating-related fatalities. The danger increases as water temperature decreases below normal body temperature (98.6 degrees F).

If you find yourself suddenly in cold water, try to control breathing, don’t gasp. An unexpected fall into cold water causes an involuntary gasp. You have about one minute to adjust to the cold shock response. When you remain calm, you will have a greater chance of self-rescue.

Always stay with your boat or paddleboard for flotation aid or to be more easily seen by rescuers. If possible, remove heavy shoes/boots and look for ways to increase buoyancy. If in the water with others, huddle together with everyone facing inwards to help stay afloat and keep warm.


Boating Under the Influence Hurts More People Than Just You

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California State Parks will be part of the more than 40 California marine law enforcement agencies joining hundreds of enforcement agencies across the United States to increase patrols and/or carry out Boating Under the Influence (BUI) checkpoints on July 5-7 over the Independence Day holiday weekend. Dubbed Operation Dry Water (ODW), the enforcement program’s goal is to help reduce the number of alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities and foster a stronger, more visible deterrent to boating under the influence.

California and U.S. Coast Guard recreational boating statistics repeatedly show the Fourth of July as the deadliest holiday for accidents. Alcohol was a contributing factor in over 30 percent of California’s boating fatalities over the past five years where testing was conducted. Nationally, alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.

“Our waterways during the upcoming Fourth of July holiday will be crowded,” says Division of Boating and Waterways Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “Accidents that happen when an operator is impaired can hurt many people. Everyone onboard a boat is at risk when an operator uses alcohol and/or drugs while boating. It can also be deadly when passengers are drunk, as they can fall overboard or be the cause of distracted driving.”

The Division of Boating and Waterways partners with the National Association of Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) to provide ODW outreach. One national public service announcement, “Boating Under the Influence Hurts More People Than Just You” recounts a tragic and preventable 2012 Northern California accident. “This drunk driver hit our family’s boat and killed our mom and sister,” says Brock and Alek Peterlin, in a 30-second video message. The brothers, along with their uncle, Brian Korek, tell their story of what happened that day when their mother and sister did not return home from boating on Lake Englebright. “Two people died, one man lost his house and went to prison; families have been torn apart by tragedy.”

It is against the law in California to operate a boat or water ski with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. Officers may arrest boaters with a BAC less than 0.08 percent if conditions are deemed unsafe. BUI convictions can result in up to six months in jail and/or fines of up to $1,000. Two convictions within seven years could add a jail term of up to one year. Boaters caught operating under the influence may also have their voyage terminated and their vessel impounded.

This year’s Operation Dry Water California participants include:

California State Parks and Recreation Areas
Folsom Lake (within Placer, El Dorado and Sacramento counties)
Lake Oroville (Butte County)
Lake Perris (Riverside County)
Millerton Lake (Fresno County)

City Police Departments
Long Beach Port Division
South Lake Tahoe

County Sheriff Departments
Contra Costa
El Dorado
Los Angeles
San Bernardino
San Joaquin

Harbor Patrols
Santa Barbara

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Englebright Lake (Yuba and Nevada counties)

U.S. Coast Guard Stations
Bodega Bay
Channel Islands Harbor
Dorado (Crescent City)
Golden Gate
Halibut (Southern Coast)
Humboldt Bay
Lake Tahoe
Los Angeles-Long Beach
Morro Bay
Rio Vista
San Diego
San Francisco

A map of participating agencies with their contact information can be found at: http://www.operationdrywater.org/agencies. California specific boating laws and safety tips may be found at: www.BoatCalifornia.com.

Launched in 2009 by NASBLA in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, ODW has been a highly successful 10-year campaign, drawing public attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Since the campaign began, law enforcement officers have removed more than 3,500 BUI operators from the nation’s waterways and made contact with more than 1.3 million boaters during the annual three-day weekend.


Division of Boating and Waterways Offers Boating Infrastructure Grants for Marina Operators

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Division of Boating and Waterways is now accepting applications through July 31, 2019 from public and private marina owners for Federal Boating Infrastructure (BIG) Grants. For 2020, a total of $14 million is available for BIG projects nationally.

Funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) - Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, BIG is a competitive program open to both publicly and privately owned marinas to renovate or construct visitor docks, restrooms, gangways and dockside utility hook-ups for recreational boats 26 feet or greater in length.

Through the BIG Program, grant recipients can:

  • Enhance access to recreational, historic, cultural and scenic resources.
  • Strengthen community ties to water’s edge and economic benefits.
  • Promote public/private partnerships and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  • Provide continuity of public access to the shore.
  • Promote awareness of transient boating opportunities.

Interested applicants should first review the federal guidelines and application instructions to determine if they meet the necessary requirements. Grant funds are available to qualifying projects on a competitive basis. DBW ranks and scores grant requests according to need, access and cost efficiency as well as available matching funds from partners and innovations that improve user access to the waterways.

DBW, as the pass-through entity for the grant application process, then sends eligible projects to the USFWS to compete against others from all other states. Following a USFWS grant award, DBW manages the project through completion to ensure it meets federal requirements.

Marina operators eligible to compete in this program should contact Deborah Holmes at Deborah.Holmes@parks.ca.gov or (916) 327-1822.

Last year, California BIG grantees received nearly $1.7 million for two projects. The City of West Sacramento received $1.5 million to construct a 372-foot long dock with an 80-foot long gangway. This improvement will provide shore access and side-tie dock space for up to six transient recreational vessels 26-feet or more in length. The city of Avalon received $197,000 to renovate an aging waste pumpout and water fill-up facility for transient, recreational boaters. This facility serves over 20,000 boaters to Avalon Harbor each year.


Division of Boating and Waterways Launches National Safe Boating Week (May 18 – 24): Wearing Life Jackets is the Best Way to Survive an Emergency

With the official kickoff of the boating season approaching this coming Memorial Day weekend, the Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is reminding water enthusiasts to keep themselves and their loved ones safe during National Safe Boating Week and throughout the year. DBW advises boaters to always check the water conditions­­––whether it’s the California coast or inland rivers and lakes––and their safety equipment, and always wear a life jacket.

Wearing a life jacket is the No. 1 way to increase the chances of survival in an emergency, whether on a powerboat or paddlecraft. California boating accident statistics show that three out of four recreational boating fatalities could have been prevented had they been wearing a life jacket.

“Emergency situations can happen too fast to reach for a life jacket,” says DBW Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “Always wearing your life jacket while boating is the easiest preventative action boaters can take when out on the water. Even adults who are good swimmers can drown, especially this time of the year when the water temperatures are still cold.”

Modern life jackets come in cool and comfortable styles and designs. There are many options for life jackets, but it is important to choose the right one for the intended boating activity.

Below are some tips to keep in mind when selecting a life jacket:

  • Coast Guard–Approved: Only approved life jackets should be used while boating. All life jackets approved by the Coast Guard will have an approval number located on the inside label.
  • Proper Fit: Life jackets are sized by weight and chest measurements. An adult-sized life jacket is not suitable for a child, as the life jacket may be too large and may ride up around their face or even slip off. Always check the fit of the child’s life jacket before entering the water. A life jacket too small for the wearer may not provide enough flotation to keep a person afloat.
  • Intended Boating Activity: Make sure that the life jacket is approved for the specific boating activity.
  • Good Condition: Check the life jacket before use to ensure it is in good condition. Life jackets can lose their buoyancy. Replace a life jacket that has faded labels, rips, tears, mildew, loose or missing straps, frayed webbing, broken zippers or buckles, or hardened stuffing. If an inflatable life jacket is used, check recommendations from the manufacturer on the CO2 canister and arming mechanism, and replace as necessary.
  • Children and Life Jackets: Under California law, every child under 13 years of age on a moving recreational vessel of any length must wear a Coast Guard–approved life jacket in serviceable condition and of a type and size appropriate for the conditions and the activity. Many cities and counties also have regulations about children and youth life jacket requirements along rivers and lakes. Always check with local managers about life jacket rules.

DBW partners with water safety officials throughout the state to offer programs to help ensure boaters have access to life jackets. Don’t have the right life jacket? Check the two programs below to see where life jackets are available free to the public:

  • 2019 Life Jacket Trade-in Events: During National Safe Boating Week, outdoor enthusiasts may trade in an old, outgrown or unserviceable life jacket for a new, Coast Guard–approved life jacket at a life jacket trade-in event. Similar events may be added throughout the summer. View life jacket trade-in events here.
  • Life Jacket Loaner Stations: Boaters may also borrow a life jacket for a day or weekend from more than 100 life jacket loaner stations throughout the state. View life jacket loaner stations.

For more boating and water safety information or laws, please visit BoatCalifornia.com.


Division of Boating and Waterways Asks Boaters to Keep Our Waterways Clean on Earth Day and Every Day

SACRAMENTO - The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) and the California Coastal Commission ask boaters to practice environmentally sound boating habits not only today on Earth Day, but throughout the year. Preserving the environment every day helps keep California’s waterways healthy all year long.

Here are five ways boaters can preserve the planet:

  • Prevent the Further Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species. Aquatic invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels, can create havoc in the aquatic environment and damage motor boats. To prevent the spread of these mussels and other aquatic invasive species, people launching vessels at any waterbody are subject to watercraft inspections and are strongly encouraged to clean, drain and dry their motorized and non-motorized boats, including personal watercraft, and any equipment that contacts the water before and after use. For free prevention resources, including a boat cleaning guide book and inspection/cleaning checklists, please visit DBW’s website.

  • Plan Ahead. Dump at the Pump! It is illegal to discharge untreated sewage anywhere within the three-mile territorial limit including lakes, rivers, reservoirs or coastal waters. Never discharge treated sewage into “restricted waters” such as a marina, swimming/wading areas, a sanctuary, poorly flushed areas, lakes, reservoirs, or freshwater impoundments and into a federal No Discharge Zones. Use sewage pumpouts, dump stations, or mobile-pumpout services.  Download our freeSewage Pumpout Nav.

  • Stow it, don’t throw it. Keep your trash on-board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line or any other garbage into our waterways. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal and paper, such as fishing-line recycling stations. Fishing line can entangle and kill wildlife and cause boat damage.

  • Turn in a vessel before it pollutes. Proper disposal of an unwanted vessel is a vital part of clean and responsible boating. Because there are several environmental hazards associated with old vessels, including used oil, solvents and used batteries, it is important that all vessel owners properly dispose of their vessels at the appropriate time. There are several options for proper vessel disposal: The no-cost Vessel Turn-In Program, landfill disposal, recycling and/or dismantling. Visit DBW’s website for more information.

  • Recycle, Collect, Report. Take the necessary steps to performspill-proof oil changes and recycle your used oil and oil filters. Always use oil absorbents and dispose of them as a hazardous waste by visiting your county household hazardous waste collection center or marina offering this service. Remember to never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills; it increases harm to the environment and is illegal. Check our oil and fuel clean boating videos. Report ALL oil and chemical spills to: The marina, the National Response Center (800-424-8802) and the California Office of Emergency Services (800 OILS911).

California has one of the highest levels of recreational boating activity in the nation. With 1,100 miles of coast, hundreds of navigable rivers, lakes, and the Delta, there are ample recreational opportunities. Growth in boating’s popularity also increases the potential impact of boat-related pollutants that can enter the environment. In an effort to reduce these impacts, DBW and the California Coastal Commission promote environmentally sound boating practices to marine businesses and boaters in California through a program dubbed Boating Clean and Green Program. For more information on the program or detailed information on environmental services/resources please visit www.BoatingCleanAndGreen.com.


Quagga & Zebra Mussel Prevention Grant Period Opens - $3.75 Million in Funding Available for Uninfested California Water Bodies

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is encouraging public agencies to apply for grants to prevent the spread of quagga and zebra mussels in California’s waterways. A total of $3.75 million in funding from the Quagga and Zebra Mussel Infestation Prevention Grant Program (QZ Grant Program) is available for eligible applicants. Applications will be accepted from April 2, 2019 through May 10, 2019 by 5 p.m.

Quagga and Zebra (Dreissenid) mussels pose a serious threat to California's waters and fisheries. The spread of these freshwater mussels threatens recreational boating and fishing, aquatic ecosystems and fisheries, water delivery systems, hydroelectric facilities, agriculture and the environment in general.

“California water body authorities very early recognized the westward spread of mussel infestation via the Colorado River system and the potential harm to state waterways should our lakes and reservoirs be invaded,” says DBW Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “To help prevent California waterways from infestation, DBW is authorized to provide grants to entities that own or manage any aspect of the water in a publicly accessible reservoir that is currently mussel free.”

Owners and managers of uninfested reservoirs as defined in Section 6004.5 of the California Water Code are eligible to apply. Funds are available for prevention projects such as planning, watercraft inspection stations and inspectors, launch monitors, watercraft decontamination units, educational signage and outreach. These competitive grants are intended to augment local resources.

DBW will host a grant webinar on Thursday, April 4 that will allow interested parties to learn how to apply for the grants. For more information, please visit the QZ Grant Program webpage.


Division of Boating and Waterways Warns of Cold Water Hazards during Spring Snowmelt


 With the Sierra Nevada snowpack estimated at 153 percent of average, California’s Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is warning water enthusiasts including anglers to take extra precautions this spring. Rivers will continue to rise as snow melts and will be dangerously cold. Simple actions such as knowing the water conditions (is it too cold or swift?), knowing your limits, wearing a life jacket and simply not entering rivers during spring runoff, can save a life.

“Even the strongest swimmers can be stunned by cold water and become incapacitated,” said DBW’s Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “You’re not only putting yourself at risk, but also your family and friends. You can avoid tragic outcomes by being aware of water conditions and taking some simple precautions.” 

Rising waters often cover obstacles below the surface. Debris, trees and rocks combined with cold, swift water creates treacherous conditions for all recreationists – waders, swimmers, paddlers, boaters, anglers and hikers cooling off at the water’s edge. Temperature is also a factor. Swift water from snowmelt can be as cold as 35 degrees and trigger shock, paralysis and drowning.

At Auburn State Recreation Area (SRA), 45 people have drowned in the rivers since 1986. “Tragically, I’ve responded to these preventable incidents several times, especially when the weather is warm but the rivers are extremely cold and the water is running high,” said Mike Howard, Auburn SRA Superintendent. “My advice for this spring season is to not put yourself or your loved ones at risk of falling into the water and do not try to swim during the spring runoff. It is best to stay away from the river right now.” 

Prevention is the best way to avoid drownings. When faced with swift water, even the strongest swimmers may be easily overwhelmed. By the time a person is struggling in water, a rescue is extremely unlikely and places the rescuer at risk.

Here are some water safety tips:

Know the Risks

  • Sudden immersion in cold water can stimulate the “gasp reflex,” causing an involuntary inhalation of air or water. It can even trigger cardiac arrest, temporary paralysis, hypothermia and drowning.
  • Cold water entering the ear canal can cause vertigo and disorientation. This may confuse swimmers, causing them to venture deeper into the water.
  • Cold water also reduces body heat 25 to 30 times faster than air does at the same temperature, and causes impairment that can lead to fatalities.

Learn About Self-Rescue Techniques

  • Do not panic if you fall into the water.
  • Do control breathing. Do not gasp for air. A sudden unexpected fall into cold water causes an involuntary gasp (or torso) reflex. It takes less than ½ cup of water in a person’s lungs to drown. When someone remains calm, he/she has a greater chance of self-rescue.
  • If you are in a boat and it capsizes, stay with your boat. Try to climb on top. It will help you stay afloat and will be seen more easily by rescuers.
  • Stay afloat with the help of a life jacket and regain control of breathing.
  • If you find yourself in the river, aggressively swim to the shore. Do not swim against the current. This uses energy very quickly and nobody can swim upstream in swift current.
  • If possible, remove heavy shoes. Look for ways to increase buoyancy such as seat cushions or an ice chest.
  • If you do fall into a river without a life jacket on, watch this video to help you survive.

Know your Limits

  • Swimming in open water is more difficult than in a swimming pool – people tire more quickly and can get into trouble.
  • Many unseen obstacles can be lurking below the water’s surface - this is especially the case during spring and early summer snowmelt. Rising water can make these obstacles even more treacherous. Guided trips for inexperienced paddlers are strongly recommended.                                                                                                                               

Wear a Life Jacket

  • Conditions change quickly in open water and even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating or swimming. Wearing a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket can increase survival time.
  • Anyone within 20 ft. of water should be wearing a life jacket in case of an unexpected fall. This is especially true with children.
  • A life jacket can also provide some thermal protection against the onset of cold water shock and keep you afloat until someone else can rescue you.
  • Need a life jacket? Check online to find a life jacket loaner station for a day or weekend use.

Whitewater Rafting and Paddling

  • Most California rivers are fed by the mountain snowpack, so they are cold year around. Even on warm, sunny days, rafters and paddlers must be prepared to deal with the water temperatures. The dangers increase as water temperatures decrease below normal body temperature (98.6 degrees F).
  • DBW offers whitewater enthusiasts informative safety videos online about the dangers of high, fast and cold water safety.

Parental Supervision

  • Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. Do not assume that someone is watching them. Appoint a designated “water watcher,” taking turns with other adults.
  • Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool: they need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.

For more water safety information, including boating laws, please visit www.parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.  



SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is set to begin this year’s efforts to control aquatic invasive plants in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region and Suisun Marsh. Pending weather conditions, DBW will begin herbicide treatment next week for water hyacinth, South American spongeplant, Uruguay water primrose, alligatorweed, Brazilian waterweed, curlyleaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, coontail and fanwort as part of an integrated plant control program.

Aquatic invasive plants have no known natural controls in the Delta and negatively affect the ecosystem by displacing native plants. They also create safety hazards for boaters and obstruct navigation channels, marinas and irrigation systems. 

DBW continuously works with local, state and federal entities to apply the latest science on the Delta’s aquatic invasive plants and strategies to control them. This year, DBW will use new integrated control strategies such as biocontrols and remote sensing to increase the efficiency of treatment efforts and protect the Delta and the public. Herbicides are used in strict adherence to regulatory requirements, permits, best management practices and protocols. An extensive water quality-monitoring program is carried out by DBW to ensure compliance with all water quality standards, including drinking water standards.

“We take our responsibility seriously to control aquatic invasive plants in the Delta while at the same time protecting the environment, agriculture, public health and water quality,” said DBW’s Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “To minimize impacts from our use of herbicides, we continue to leverage technology and resources through collaboration and cooperation with the public and our local, state and federal partners who are helping us manage this challenge. Our partnerships and frequent communication with state and federal regulators provides valuable guidance on meeting significant regulatory requirements while implementing a successful program.”

A media call will be held tomorrow, March 8, to allow reporters to ask questions about the treatment plan.

WHAT:          Media Call on 2019 Aquatic Invasive Plant Control Program 

WHEN:          Friday, March 8, 12 to 1 p.m.

WHO:            State and federal entities from: Division of Boating and Waterways, US Department of Agriculture, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, State 
                      Water Resources Control Board, Delta Stewardship Council, Delta Protection Commission

CALL:            (888) 790-1807   I   Code: 8615610

DBW’s decisions to use specific treatment methods are based on their effectiveness for specific plants, locations and conditions. Herbicide use is carefully controlled and has been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the State Water Resources Control Board and County Agricultural Commissioners’ offices for local herbicide use restrictions. All herbicides are registered for aquatic use with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California Department of Pesticide Regulation. 

Below is additional information on the permits and safety protocols DBW adheres to:

  • Biological Opinions (BOs): Mutually agreed upon protocols/conditions approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service.

o    BOs are designed to protect endangered species, guide acreage treated, specify the kinds of treatment used, including which herbicides and what species to control, and treatment dates.
o    Protocols regarding the levels of herbicides to use and requirements for extensive water quality and environmental monitoring are also part of the BOs.

  • Lake and Streambed Alteration Agreement: DBW obtains an agreement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for mechanical harvesting efforts.
  • Clean Water Act: For herbicide treatment, the division obtains a permit from the State Water Resources Control Board.
  • Pesticide Use Permits and Notices: DBW works very closely with 11 County Agricultural Commissioners within the Delta region.
  • Training: DBW’s applicator staff attend annual trainings to ensure that they are well versed in the herbicides being used, as well as safety protocols and methods for minimizing impacts on the environment.
  • Monitoring: Treated areas are monitored to ensure herbicide levels do not exceed allowable limits.

A summary of this year’s treatment season can be viewed online at www.dbw.parks.ca.gov/AIS.

Last year, DBW treated 2,293.42 acres (150 sites) of floating aquatic vegetation and 4,360 acres (71 sites) of submersed aquatic vegetation. Mechanical harvesting efforts totaled 9.70 acres. The division anticipates 2019 to have wetter conditions compared to 2018. A combination of herbicide, biological and mechanical control methods will be used to help control invasive plants at high priority sites in the Delta.

In 1982, California state legislation designated DBW as the lead state agency to cooperate with other state, local and federal agencies in controlling water hyacinth in the Delta, its tributaries, and the Suisun Marsh. The Egeria Densa Control Program was authorized by law in 1997 and treatment began in 2001. In 2012, Spongeplant was authorized for control upon completion of the biological assessment. In 2013, DBW was able to expand its jurisdiction to include other invasive aquatic plants, and since then other aquatic invasive plants such as Uruguay water primrose, Eurasian watermilfoil, Carolina fanwort, coontail, and alligatorweed have been added to the AIPCP.



State Offers Oil Spill Response Communication Seminars to Marinas and Yacht Club Operators

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) invites marinas and yacht club operators to attend a free seminar to learn about the proper way to respond to an oil spill. As waterfront stakeholders, marina and yacht club operators have extensive local waterway and boating knowledge. Attending a workshop will help these individuals learn about the tools and resources available to increase communication capabilities between boating facilities and the Office of Emergency Services during an oil spill. 

The seminars will be held on the following dates:

Oakland (Alameda County)
Register by March 11
Date:              Thursday, March 14
Time:             9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

San Diego
Register by April 22
Date:              Friday, April 26
Time:             9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Playa del Rey (Los Angeles County)
Register by April 29
Date:              Friday, May 3
Time:             9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Lake Tahoe
Register by May 31
Date:              Wednesday, June 5
Time:             9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Key presenters will include staff from the Division of Boating and Waterways and California Coastal Commission’s Boating Clean and Green Program, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. The seminars will cover topics such as California’s oil spill response structure, Office of Spill Prevention and Response Equipment Grants and the third-party claim process. Participants will also be provided with oil spill kits for boating facilities and California's Marinas and Yacht Clubs Spill Response Communication Packet.

To register, please contact California Coastal Commission’s Boating Clean and Green’s Program Coordinator Vivian Matuk at vmatuk@coastal.ca.gov or (415) 904-6905. The location and directions to the workshop are included with confirmation of the registration. Free parking is available at the workshop sites.


State Offers Free Workshops on How to Prevent the Further Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Division of Boating and Waterways and its partners invite everyone accessing California’s waterways to learn how to prevent the further spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) into uninfected waterways. Starting next month, AIS experts from the division, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife will be holding free workshops to help the public learn how they can recognize AIS in their region and how to take action to prevent it from spreading. Workshops are free, but space is limited and pre-registration is required.

Aquatic invasive species such as quagga and zebra mussels, water hyacinth and Brazilian waterweed pose threats to California’s water delivery systems, hydroelectric facilities, agriculture, boating, fishing and the environment. For example, quagga and zebra mussels are invasive freshwater mussels native to Europe and Asia. They multiply quickly, encrust watercraft and infrastructure, alter water quality and the aquatic food web and ultimately impact native and sport fish communities. These mussels spread from one waterbody to another by attaching to watercraft, equipment and nearly anything that has been in an infested waterbody. Invisible to the naked eye, microscopic juveniles are spread from infested waterbodies by water that is entrapped in boat engines, bilges, live-wells and buckets.

The public is invited to attend one of the following workshops:

Davis - Wednesday, March 27
Register by March 25
Time:             8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location:      Yolo Bypass Reserve- 45211 County Rd 32B (Chiles Rd), Davis, CA 95618

Alameda - Tuesday, April 30
Register by April 26
Time:            8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location:      Encinal Yacht Club -980 Fernside Blvd, Alameda, CA 94501

Monterey - Tuesday, May 7
Register by May 3
Time:             8:45 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Location:       Mott Training Center- 837 Asilomar Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 (Madrone Room)

To register, please contact Boating Clean and Green’s Program Coordinator Vivian Matuk via email at vmatuk@coastal.ca.gov or call (415) 904-6905. The directions to the workshops are included with confirmation of the registration. Free parking is available at the workshop sites. Lunch will not be provided.

The AIS workshops are part of the California’s Boating Green and Clean Program. The program is an education and outreach program conducted through the Division of Boating and Waterways and the California Coastal Commission. Staff and volunteers promote environmentally sound boating practices to marine businesses and boaters. For more information, please visit www.BoatingCleanAndGreen.com.


Become a Dockwalker Partner and Help Keep California’s Waterways Clean

The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) invites the public to become volunteers and help keep California’s rivers, lakes and ocean clean by becoming Dockwalkers. 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, boat launch ramps and boating events. Participation in the program, including the training sessions, qualifies as community service.

California has one of the highest levels of recreational boating activity in the nation. With approximately four 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.

“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.”

The free trainings to become a Dockwalker are set to begin next month (March) and run through May 2019 across the state. Pre-registration is required.

Training classes will be held in the following cities:

San Francisco Bay Area

  • Los Altos (March 12)
  • Petaluma (March 16)
  • Oakland (April 10)
  • San Rafael (April 20)
  • San Jose (May 1)

Southern California

  • San Diego (April 27)
  • Marina Del Rey (May 4)
  • Newport (March 30)
  • San Pedro (May 11)

Solano/San Joaquin Delta

  • Stockton (May 9)
  • Vacaville (May 13)    

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.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.

The DBW and California Coastal Commission’s Boating Clean and Green Program manage the Dockwalker Program. 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.

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


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California State Parks provides for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.


State Announces Availability of Up to $2.75 Million Funding for Local Public Agencies to Help Keep California’s Waterways Safe and Clean

SACRAMENTO – The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting grant applications for the disposal of abandoned and unwanted vessels. Up to $2.75 million in funding from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund (AWAF) may be available to local public agencies statewide for the Surrendered and Abandoned Vessel Exchange grant program (SAVE). Applications will be accepted through April 30, 2019 by 5 p.m. For those interested in applying for these grants, DBW is hosting a workshop to guide new applicants and returning grantees.

“Abandoned and derelict vessels are a pervasive environmental and public safety problem in coastal and inland waterways,” said Ramona Fernandez, Acting Deputy Director of the Division of Boating and Waterways. “Not only are they an eyesore, destroying the beauty of the waterways, but they also pose an environmental hazard by polluting the waterways.” 

The division will help applicants through all the steps in the application submission process. It is recommended that representatives from interested agencies attend the four-hour workshop to be held at DBW headquarters:

  • Tuesday, March 5, 2019
    8 a.m. – noon
  • One Capitol Mall, Suite 500
    Sacramento, CA 95814
  • Pre-registration is required via email to Ron.Kent@parks.ca.gov by Monday, February 11, 2019.
  • Please include the program name (SAVE), name of attendee(s), agency name and phone number in the email.

DBW brings together a body of knowledge as the state’s expert in recreational boating-related matters, including public access, safety and education, marine law enforcement, and consumer and environmental protection. The SAVE Program helps to improve safety on California’s waterways and alleviates the issue of abandoned vessels.

Last fiscal year, DBW provided $2.75 million in AWAF funding to local public agencies in SAVE grants to help alleviate the problem. The majority of this funding helped public agencies in the Bay Area and the Delta remove abandoned vessels. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to eligible agencies based on demonstrated need.

For additional information on the SAVE Program, please click here.


Division of Boating and Waterways Announces Availability of $1.5 Million in Funding to Help Keep California’s Waterways Safe

SACRAMENTO - The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) is now accepting grant applications for local government agencies to purchase boating safety and law enforcement equipment. A total of $1.5 million in funding from the Boating Safety/Enforcement Equipment (BSEE) grant program is available statewide. Applications will be accepted from Feb. 1, 2019 through April 30, 2019 by 5 p.m. For those interested in applying for these grants, DBW is hosting workshops for each program to guide new applicants and returning grantees.

“California does not have a single marine law enforcement entity to patrol our thousands of miles of waterways,” explains DBW Acting Deputy Director Ramona Fernandez. “DBW works with more than 100 local law enforcement units to provide the necessary equipment vital to keep millions of California boating enthusiasts safe on the water.”

The division will help applicants through all the steps in the application submission process. It is recommended that a representative from an interested agency attend a four-hour workshop. Workshops will be held on:

  • Tuesday, March 5, 2019 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
    Friday, March 8, 2019 from 8 a.m. – noon
  • One Capitol Mall, Suite 500 Sacramento, CA 95814
  • Pre-registration is required via email to Joanna.Andrade@parks.ca.gov by Friday, February 8.

Please include the name of attendee(s), agency name, and phone number in the email.

Note: You will only need to attend one of the dates for the workshop.

Local government agencies who can demonstrate a need for boating safety and law enforcement are eligible to apply. Funds are available to local law enforcement agencies to purchase patrol boats, engines and personal watercraft, search and rescue, patrol and diving 2 equipment. These competitive grants are intended to augment existing local resources and not to fully fund boating safety and enforcement.

Last fiscal year, DBW provided $1.5 million in BSEE funding to local public agencies. The funds were used to purchase patrol boats, dive gear, remotely operated vehicles and sonar equipment. These funds are made possible through the United States Coast Guard/Homeland Security Recreational Boating Safety Program.

DBW brings together a body of knowledge as the state’s expert in recreational boating-related matters, including public access, safety and education, marine law enforcement and consumer and environmental protection.

For more information on the BSEE grant program, please click here.