California boat Point Reyes


The California Legislature has created a number of programs that authorize the removal and disposal of abandoned and derelict vessels and marine debris. Local public agencies that have jurisdiction over their area of responsibility (AOR) have authority to remove, store and dispose of wrecked property within their AOR. The State Lands Commission was granted statewide authority to remove ADV’s through an expedited process in 2011. In 2015, the Legislature passed a Marine Debris Statute, Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC) Sections 550 and 551, which provides an expedited process and legal authority to any state, county, city or other public agency having jurisdiction over its location to identify and remove vessels under certain conditions as marine debris or solid waste.

Legislative Summary

In California, the provisions contained in Division 3, Chapter 3, Sections 510-527 and Sections 550-551 of the HNC represent the primary statutory authority for state and local agencies and law enforcement for removal of abandoned and derelict vessels and marine debris. Provisions contained in Section 6302 of the Public Resources Code, passed in 2011, give the California State Lands Commission, which has jurisdiction over all navigable waters, statutory authority to remove derelict and abandoned vessels through a truncated administrative process.

Funding Summary

The California State Legislature has created two grant programs overseen by the CA State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways for the removal and prevention of ADVs: the Abandoned Watercraft and Abatement Fund (AWAF)--Statutes of 1997, and the Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP)—Statutes of 2009. These grants are now combined under a single grant title of “Surrendered and Abandoned Vessel Exchange (SAVE)” and are awarded annually to local public agencies for the abatement, removal, storage and disposal of abandoned and surrendered (recreational) vessels on California’s waterways. The removal of these abandoned vessels, water hazards, and/or the interception of derelict vessels, increases public and navigational safety, and removes or prevents environmental contamination. The AWAF and VTIP are legislatively mandated by HNC Sections 525 (1) (A), and 526.1.

More SAVE information can be found at:

POC Summary

The California Division of Boating and Waterways and the State Lands Commission are the lead agencies for abandoned vessels. See the California Division of Boating and Waterways Surrendered And Abandoned Vessel Exchange (SAVE) participating agencies contact list.

Last updated Tue, 03/19/2024 - 05:24 pm EDT