Senate BillNo. 122


Introduced by Senator Lieu

January 18, 2013


An act to amend Section 526.1 of, and to amend and repeal Sections 525 and 526 of, the Harbors and Navigation Code, relating to vessels.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 122, as introduced, Lieu. Vessels: abandonment: abatement.

Existing law makes it an infraction punishable by a maximum $3,000 fine, and until January 1, 2014, a minimum $1,000 fine for a person to abandon a vessel upon a public waterway or public or private property without the express or implied consent of the owner or person in lawful possession or control of the property, except for the urgent and immediate concern for the safety of those aboard the vessel. Existing law authorizes a public agency to sell or otherwise dispose of certain vessels that are unseaworthy derelict or hulk, or abandoned property removed from a navigable waterway, as specified, if the public agency removed or caused the removal of the property, subject to specified conditions, including certain notice requirements and that the property has been appraised by disinterested persons for an estimated value of less than $2,000. Except, until January 1, 2014, a surrendered vessel, as defined, may be disposed of immediately upon acceptance by a public agency and is not subject to the specified conditions.

This bill would delete the January 1, 2014, repeal date of certain above-described provisions and delete alternative provisions that were to become operative on January 1, 2014, which would have reduces the minimum fine to $500 and eliminated the exception for a surrendered vessel. The bill would also delete an obsolete reporting requirement relating to the department’s duty to track and report to specified legislative committees on the number of surrendered vessels accepted by a public agency between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2013, pursuant to those provisions.

Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes. State-mandated local program: no.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

P2    1

SECTION 1.  

Section 525 of the Harbors and Navigation Code,
2as amended by Section 1 of Chapter 416 of the Statutes of 2009,
3is amended to read:

4

525.  

(a) Except for the urgent and immediate concern for the
5safety of those aboard a vessel, a person shall not abandon a vessel
6upon a public waterway or public or private property without the
7express or implied consent of the owner or person in lawful
8possession or control of the property.

9(b) The abandonment of a vessel in a manner as provided in
10subdivision (a) is prima facie evidence that the last registered
11owner of record, not having notified the appropriate registration
12or documenting agency of any relinquishment of title or interest
13therein, is responsible for the abandonment and is thereby liable
14for the cost of the removal and disposition of the vessel.

15(c) A violation of this section is an infraction and shall be
16punished by a fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1,000),
17nor more than three thousand dollars ($3,000). In addition, the
18court may order the defendant to pay to the agency that removes
19and disposes of the vessel the actual costs incurred by the agency
20for that removal and disposition.

21(d) Fines imposed and collected pursuant to this section shall
22be allocated as follows:

23(1) (A) Eighty percent of the moneys shall be deposited in the
24Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund, which is hereby created
25as a special fund. Moneys in the fund shall be used exclusively,
26upon appropriation by the Legislature, for grants to be awarded
27by the department to local agencies for the abatement, removal,
28storage, and disposal as public nuisances of any abandoned
29property as described in Section 522 or for the disposal of
30surrendered vessels as defined in Section 526.1, wrecked or
31dismantled vessels, or parts thereof, or any other partially
32submerged objects that pose a substantial hazard to navigation,
33from navigable waterways or adjacent public property, or private
P3    1property with the landowner’s consent. These grants shall not be
2utilized for abatement, removal, storage, or disposal of commercial
3vessels.

4(B) In evaluating a grant request submitted by a local agency
5pursuant to subparagraph (A), the department shall place great
6weight on the following two factors:

7(i) The existence of an active local enforcement program to
8control and prevent the abandonment of watercraft within the local
9agency’s jurisdiction.

10(ii) The existence of a submerged navigational hazard abatement
11plan at the local level that provides for the control or abatement
12of water hazards, including, but not limited to, abandoned
13watercraft, wrecked watercraft, hazardous floating debris,
14submerged vessels and objects, and abandoned piers and pilings.

15(C) A grant awarded by the department pursuant to subparagraph
16(A) shall be matched by a 10-percent contribution from the local
17agency receiving the grant.

18(D) As a condition of receiving grant funding pursuant to this
19paragraph, a local agency shall report to the department data, as
20deemed appropriate by the department, regarding abandoned and
21surrendered vessels removed or anticipated for removal pursuant
22to this article.

23(2) Twenty percent shall be allocated as set forth in Section
241463.001 of the Penal Code.

25(e) The state shall not assume liability for any injuries or
26damages to a person or entity, public or private, connected to or
27resulting from the processing or disposal of a surrendered vessel,
28as defined in Section 526.1.

29(f) The department may adopt rules and regulations for the
30purpose of administering this section.

begin delete

31(g) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2014,
32and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
33is enacted before January 1, 2014, deletes or extends that date.

end delete
34

SEC. 2.  

Section 525 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, as
35added by Section 2 of Chapter 416 of the Statutes of 2009, is
36repealed.

begin delete
37

525.  

(a) Except for the urgent and immediate concern for the
38safety of those aboard a vessel, a person shall not abandon a vessel
39upon a public waterway or public or private property without the
P4    1express or implied consent of the owner or person in lawful
2possession or control of the property.

3(b) The abandonment of a vessel in a manner as provided in
4subdivision (a) is prima facie evidence that the last registered
5owner of record, not having notified the appropriate registration
6or documenting agency of any relinquishment of title or interest
7therein, is responsible for the abandonment and is thereby liable
8for the cost of the removal and disposition of the vessel.

9(c) A violation of this section is an infraction and shall be
10punished by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500),
11nor more than three thousand dollars ($3,000). In addition, the
12court may order the defendant to pay to the agency that removes
13and disposes of the vessel the actual costs incurred by the agency
14for that removal and disposition.

15(d) Fines imposed and collected pursuant to this section shall
16be allocated as follows:

17(1) (A) Eighty percent of the moneys shall be deposited in the
18Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund, which is hereby created
19as a special fund. Moneys in the fund shall be used exclusively,
20upon appropriation by the Legislature, for grants to be awarded
21by the department to local agencies for the abatement, removal,
22storage, and disposal as public nuisances of any abandoned,
23wrecked, or dismantled vessels, or parts thereof, or any other
24partially submerged objects that pose a substantial hazard to
25navigation, from navigable waterways or adjacent public property,
26or private property with the landowner’s consent. These grants
27shall not be utilized for abatement, removal, storage, or disposal
28of commercial vessels.

29(B) In evaluating a grant request submitted by a local agency
30pursuant to subparagraph (A), the department shall place great
31weight on the following two factors:

32(i) The existence of an active local enforcement program to
33control and prevent the abandonment of watercraft within the local
34agency’s jurisdiction.

35(ii) The existence of a submerged navigational hazard abatement
36plan at the local level that provides for the control or abatement
37of water hazards, including, but not limited to, abandoned
38watercraft, wrecked watercraft, hazardous floating debris,
39submerged vessels and objects, and abandoned piers and pilings.

P5    1(C) A grant awarded by the department pursuant to subparagraph
2(A) shall be matched by a 10-percent contribution from the local
3agency receiving the grant.

4(2) Twenty percent shall be allocated as set forth in Section
51463.001 of the Penal Code.

6(e) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.

end delete
7

SEC. 3.  

Section 526 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, as
8amended by Section 3 of Chapter 416 of the Statutes of 2009, is
9amended to read:

10

526.  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any
11wrecked property that is an unseaworthy derelict or hulk,
12abandoned property as described in Section 522, or property
13removed from a navigable waterway pursuant to Section 523 or
14524 that is an unseaworthy derelict or hulk, may be sold or
15otherwise disposed of by the public agency that removed or caused
16the removal of the property pursuant to this section, subject to the
17following conditions, except a surrendered vessel, as defined in
18Section 526.1, may be disposed of immediately upon acceptance
19by a public agency and is not subject to the following conditions:

20(1) The property has been appraised by disinterested persons,
21and has an estimated value of less than two thousand dollars
22($2,000).

23(2) There is no discernable registration, license, hull
24identification number, or other identifying insignia on the property,
25or the Department of Motor Vehicles is unable to produce any
26record of the registered or legal owners or lienholders.

27(3) Not less than 72 hours before the property was removed,
28the peace officer or authorized public employee securely attached
29to the property a distinctive notice stating that the property would
30be removed by the public agency.

31(4) Within 48 hours after the removal, excluding weekends and
32holidays, the public agency that removed or caused the removal
33of the property sent notice of the removal to the registered and
34legal owners, if known or discovered subsequent to the removal,
35at their addresses of record with the Department of Motor Vehicles,
36and to any other person known to have an interest in the property.
37A notice sent by the public agency shall be sent by certified or
38first-class mail.

39(5) If the public agency is unable to locate the registered and
40legal owners of the property or persons known to have an interest
P6    1in the property as provided in paragraph (4), the public agency
2published, or caused to be published, the notice of removal for at
3least two weeks in succession in one or more daily newspapers
4circulated in the county.

5(b) The notice of removal required by paragraphs (3) to (5),
6inclusive, of subdivision (a) shall state all of the following:

7(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the public
8agency providing the notice.

9(2) A description of the property removed.

10(3) The location from which the property is to be or was
11removed.

12(4) The location of the intended or actual place of storage.

13(5) The authority and purpose for removal of the property.

14(6) A statement that the property may be claimed and recovered
15within 15 days of the date the notice of removal was issued
16pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of subdivision (a), whichever is
17later, after payment of any costs incurred by the public agency
18related to salvage and storage of the property, and that following
19the expiration of the 15-day period, the property will be sold or
20otherwise disposed of by the public agency.

21(7) A statement that the registered or legal owners or any other
22person known to have an interest in the property has the
23opportunity for a poststorage hearing before the public agency that
24removed, or caused the removal of, the property to determine the
25validity of the removal and storage if a request for a hearing is
26made in person or in writing to that public agency within 10 days
27from the date of notice; that if the registered or legal owners or
28any other person known to have an interest in the property disagree
29with the decision of the public agency, the decision may be
30reviewed pursuant to Section 11523 of the Government Code; and
31that during the time of the initial hearing, or during the time the
32decision is being reviewed pursuant to Section 11523 of the
33Government Code, the vessel in question shall not be sold or
34otherwise disposed of.

35(c) (1) Any requested hearing shall be conducted within 48
36hours of the time the request for a hearing is received by the public
37agency, excluding weekends and holidays. The public agency that
38removed the vehicle may authorize its own officers or employees
39to conduct the hearing, but the hearing officer shall not be the same
40person who directed the removal and storage of the property.

P7    1(2) The failure of either the registered or legal owners or any
2other person known to have an interest in the property to request
3or attend a scheduled hearing shall not affect the validity of the
4hearing.

5(d) The property may be claimed and recovered by its registered
6and legal owners, or by any other person known to have an interest
7in the property, within 15 days of the date the notice of removal
8was issued pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of subdivision (a),
9whichever is later, after payment of any costs incurred by the public
10agency related to salvage and storage of the property.

11(e) The property may be sold or otherwise disposed of by the
12public agency not less than 15 days from the date the notice of
13removal was issued pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of subdivision
14(a), whichever is later, or the date of actual removal, whichever is
15later.

16(f) The proceeds from the sale of the property, after deducting
17expenses for salvage, storage, sales costs, and any property tax
18liens, shall be deposited in the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement
19Fund for grants to local agencies, as specified in paragraph (1) of
20subdivision (d) of Section 525.

21(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that this section shall not
22be construed to authorize the lien sale or destruction of any
23seaworthy vessel, other than a surrendered vessel as defined in
24Section 526.1, that is currently registered and operated in
25accordance with local, state, and federal law.

begin delete

26(h) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2014,
27and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
28is enacted before January 1, 2014, deletes or extends that date.

end delete
29

SEC. 4.  

Section 526 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, as
30added by Section 4 of Chapter 416 of the Statutes of 2009, is
31repealed.

begin delete
32

526.  

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, any
33wrecked property that is an unseaworthy derelict or hulk, or
34abandoned property as described in Section 522, property removed
35from a navigable waterway pursuant to Section 523 or 524 that is
36an unseaworthy derelict or hulk, may be sold or otherwise disposed
37of by the public agency that removed or caused the removal of the
38property pursuant to this section, subject to the following
39conditions:

P8    1(1) The property has been appraised by disinterested persons,
2and has an estimated value of less than two thousand dollars
3($2,000).

4(2) There is no discernable registration, license, hull
5identification number, or other identifying insignia on the property,
6or the Department of Motor Vehicles is unable to produce any
7record of the registered or legal owners or lienholders.

8(3) Not less than 72 hours before the property was removed,
9the peace officer or authorized public employee securely attached
10to the property a distinctive notice stating that the property would
11be removed by the public agency.

12(4) Within 48 hours after the removal, excluding weekends and
13holidays, the public agency that removed or caused the removal
14of the property sent notice of the removal to the registered and
15legal owners, if known or discovered subsequent to the removal,
16at their addresses of record with the Department of Motor Vehicles,
17and to any other person known to have an interest in the property.
18A notice sent by the public agency shall be sent by certified or
19first-class mail.

20(5) If the public agency is unable to locate the registered and
21legal owners of the property or persons known to have an interest
22in the property as provided in paragraph (4), the public agency
23published, or caused to be published, the notice of removal for at
24least two weeks in succession in one or more daily newspapers
25circulated in the county.

26(b) The notice of removal required by paragraphs (3) to (5),
27inclusive, of subdivision (a) shall state all of the following:

28(1) The name, address, and telephone number of the public
29agency providing the notice.

30(2) A description of the property removed.

31(3) The location from which the property is to be or was
32removed.

33(4) The location of the intended or actual place of storage.

34(5) The authority and purpose for removal of the property.

35(6) A statement that the property may be claimed and recovered
36within 15 days of the date the notice of removal was issued
37pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of subdivision (a), whichever is
38later, after payment of any costs incurred by the public agency
39related to salvage and storage of the property, and that following
P9    1the expiration of the 15-day period, the property will be sold or
2otherwise disposed of by the public agency.

3(7) A statement that the registered or legal owners or any other
4person known to have an interest in the property have the
5opportunity for a poststorage hearing before the public agency that
6removed, or caused the removal of, the property to determine the
7validity of the removal and storage if a request for a hearing is
8made in person or in writing to that public agency within 10 days
9from the date of notice; that if the registered or legal owners or
10any other person known to have an interest in the property disagree
11with the decision of the public agency, the decision may be
12reviewed pursuant to Section 11523 of the Government Code; and
13that during the time of the initial hearing, or during the time the
14decision is being reviewed pursuant to Section 11523 of the
15Government Code, the vessel in question shall not be sold or
16otherwise disposed of.

17(c) (1) Any requested hearing shall be conducted within 48
18hours of the time the request for a hearing is received by the public
19agency, excluding weekends and holidays. The public agency that
20removed the vehicle may authorize its own officers or employees
21to conduct the hearing, but the hearing officer shall not be the same
22person who directed the removal and storage of the property.

23(2) The failure of either the registered or legal owners or any
24other person known to have an interest in the property to request
25or attend a scheduled hearing shall not affect the validity of the
26hearing.

27(d) The property may be claimed and recovered by its registered
28and legal owners, or by any other person known to have an interest
29in the property, within 15 days of the date the notice of removal
30was issued pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of subdivision (a),
31whichever is later, after payment of any costs incurred by the public
32agency related to salvage and storage of the property.

33(e) The property may be sold or otherwise disposed of by the
34public agency not less than 15 days from the date the notice of
35removal was issued pursuant to paragraph (4) or (5) of subdivision
36(a), whichever is later, or the date of actual removal, whichever is
37later.

38(f) The proceeds from the sale of the property, after deducting
39expenses for salvage, storage, sales costs, and any property tax
40liens, shall be deposited in the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement
P10   1Fund for grants to local agencies, as specified in paragraph (1) of
2subdivision (d) of Section 525.

3(g) It is the intent of the Legislature that this section shall not
4be construed to authorize the lien sale or destruction of any
5seaworthy vessel that is currently registered and operated in
6accordance with local, state, and federal law.

7(h) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.

end delete
8

SEC. 5.  

Section 526.1 of the Harbors and Navigation Code is
9amended to read:

10

526.1.  

begin delete(a)end deletebegin deleteend deleteFor purposes of this article, “surrendered vessel”
11means a recreational vessel that the verified titleholder has
12willingly surrendered to a willing public agency under both of the
13following conditions:

begin delete

14(1) 

end delete

15begin insert(a)end insertbegin insertend insert The public agency has determined, in its sole discretion,
16that the vessel is in danger of being abandoned, and therefore has
17a likelihood of causing environmental degradation or becoming a
18hazard to navigation.

begin delete

19(2) 

end delete

20begin insert(b)end insertbegin insertend insert The decision to accept a vessel is based solely on the
21potential of the vessel to likely be abandoned and cause
22environmental degradation or become a hazard to navigation.

begin delete

23(b) The department shall track the number of surrendered vessels
24accepted by a public agency that disposes of surrendered vessels
25using grant funds from the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund
26between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2013. The department
27shall also track the total expenditure from the fund for surrendered
28vessel abatement during the same period. On or before July 1,
292013, the department shall report on the information gathered
30between January 1, 2010, and January 1, 2013, to the Assembly
31Committee on Transportation and the Senate Committee on Natural
32Resources and Water, along with any recommendations to revise
33or continue the use of fund moneys for these purposes.

34(c) This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2014,
35and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that
36is enacted before January 1, 2014, deletes or extends that date.

end delete


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