The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed today to oppose Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to eliminate the California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW). The motion, authored by Supervisor Don Knabe, Chairman of the Board, also directs the County’s Chief Executive Office, in conjunction with the Sheriff’s and Fire Departments and the Department of Beaches and Harbors, to prepare a letter of opposition to be sent to the Governor.
Under the Governor’s government efficiency proposal, DBW would be merged into the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). DBW, which is completely self-funded by the boating public’s resources, currently 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 throughout the State. If the two Departments merge it will likely result in cuts and delays to current projects and programs for boaters, including the County projects and programs.
The County of Los Angeles directly benefits from many DPW programs: the Department of Beaches and Harbors benefits from grants and loans for dock construction; the County Lifeguards get funding for boats, as does the Sheriff for boats and safety programs. The County will need to find different funding, if such funding is even available, for these projects and programs.
The Department of Boating and Waterways is critical to the future of boating in California, and any diversion of funds may result in the rapid deterioration of California’s boating waterways and infrastructure, said Supervisor Knabe. Additionally, diverting its resources to another State department, which has its own priorities, robs the very community that funds it. Boaters will still pay registration fees, but they won’t be getting the full benefit of those fees as they have in the past.