Amended in Senate April 15, 2013

Senate BillNo. 457


Introduced by Senator Monning

February 21, 2013


An act to amend Section 656 of the Harbors and Navigation Code, relating to vessels.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST

SB 457, as amended, Monning. Vessels: collisions and accidents.

Existing law regulates the operation and equipment of vessels subject to the jurisdiction of this state. Existing law specifies that it is the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty, so far as the operator can do so without serious danger to his or her own vessel, crew, and passengers, to render assistance to other persons affected by the collision, accident, or other casualty as may be practicable and necessary to save those persons from, or minimize any, danger caused by the collision, accident, or other casualty. Existing law further requires the owner,begin delete operatorend deletebegin insert operator,end insert or other person on board a vessel involved in a casualty or accident to report the casualty or accident in accordance with regulations adopted by the Department of Boating and Waterways.

begin deleteThis bill would require that the other person required to report a casualty or accident on board the vessel be at least 18 years of age and physically capable of making the report. end deleteThe bill would require that any public agency that is under contract with the department to receive law enforcement grant funds from the department, pursuant to regulations adopted by the department, complete and submit to the department a report for any boating accident to which it responds or for which it receives a report, andbegin delete wouldend deletebegin insert mayend insert make any public agency that fails to comply with that reporting requirement ineligible to receive any future law enforcement grant funds from the department forbegin delete at leastend deletebegin insert up toend insert 5 fiscal years following the date of the failure to submit an accident report.begin insert The bill would require the department to use reasonable means to obtain from the public agency a complete report for any boating accident to which it responds or for which it receives a report. The bill would further require the department to use reasonable means to notify the public agency of the failure to submit a report prior to the department’s determination that the public agency is ineligible to receive future grant funds.end insert

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 656 of the Harbors and Navigation Code
2 is amended to read:

3

656.  

(a) It is the duty of the operator of a vessel involved in a
4collision, accident, or other casualty, so far as the operator can do
5so without serious danger to his or her own vessel, crew, and
6passengers, to render to other persons affected by the collision,
7accident, or other casualty that assistance that is practicable and
8necessary in order to save them from, or minimize any, danger
9caused by the collision, accident, or other casualty.

10(b) Any person who complies with subdivision (a) or Section
11656.1, 656.2, or 656.3 or who gratuitously and in good faith renders
12assistance at the scene of a vessel collision, accident, or other
13casualty without objection by any person assisted, shall not be held
14liable for any civil damages sought as a result of the rendering of
15assistance or for any act or omission in providing or arranging
16salvage, towage, medical treatment, or other assistance, if the
17assisting person has acted as an ordinary, reasonably prudent person
18would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.

19(c) (1) An individual employee of a public entity engaged in
20rescue pursuant to this code shall not be a proper party defendant
21and shall be dismissed on motion, unless the employee has violated
22a statute other than a statute creating a general obligation to rescue
23or is guilty of oppression, fraud, malice, or the conscious disregard
24of the safety of others.

P3    1(2) The public entity employing such an individual shall be
2liable in civil damages if the individual employee has failed to act
3as a reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same
4or similar circumstances.

5(3) If a public entity has given a reasonable printed, electronic,
6or verbal warning of the danger causing the distress that created
7the necessity for the rescue, and there has been a reasonable
8opportunity for the party in distress to receive the warning, the
9public entity is liable only for acts or omissions of its employee
10that were taken in a grossly negligent manner.

11(d) The owner, operator, or other person who isbegin delete at least 18 years
12of age and physically capableend delete
on board a vessel involved in a
13casualty or accident shall report the casualty or accident in
14accordance with regulations adopted by the department. The
15department shall adopt regulations to maintain a uniform casualty
16and accident reporting system for vessels subject to this code in
17conformity with federal casualty and accident reporting regulations
18promulgated by the United States Coast Guard or any successor
19to those regulations. Consistent with Public Law 92-75 and the
20federal regulations contained in Part 173 of Title 33 of the Code
21of Federal Regulations, a peace officer or harborbegin delete policeman,end deletebegin insert police
22officer end insert
upon receiving an initial report of a casualty involving the
23death or disappearance of a person as a result of a boating accident,
24shall immediately forward the report, by quickest means available,
25to the department.

26(1) A public agency that is under contract with the department
27to receive law enforcement grant funds from the department shall,
28pursuant to regulations adopted by the department, complete and
29submit to the department a report for any boating accident to which
30it responds or for which it receives a report.

31(2) A public agency that has received any law enforcement grant
32funds from the department that does not submit an accident report
33as required under paragraph (1)begin delete shallend deletebegin insert mayend insert bebegin insert determined by the
34department to beend insert
ineligible to receive future grant funds forbegin delete at leastend delete
35begin insert up toend insert five fiscal years following the date of the failure to submit
36a report.

begin insert

37(3) The department shall use reasonable means to do both of
38the following:

end insert
begin insert

39(A) Obtain from a public agency any complete report required
40to be submitted pursuant to paragraph (1).

end insert
begin insert

P4    1(B) Notify a public agency of the failure to submit a report
2required under paragraph (1) before taking action pursuant to
3paragraph (2).

end insert

4(e) Neither the report required by this section nor any action
5taken by the department with regard to the report shall be referred
6to in any way, or be any evidence of negligence or due care of any
7party, at the trial of any action at law to recover damages.

8(f) All required accident reports, and supplemental reports, shall
9be without prejudice to the individual so reporting and shall be for
10the confidential use of the department and any peace officer
11actually engaged in the enforcement of this chapter, except that
12the department shall disclose the names and addresses of persons
13involved in, or witnesses to, an accident, the registration numbers
14and descriptions of vessels involved, and the date, time, and
15location of an accident to any person who may have a proper
16interest in that information, including the operator involved or the
17legal guardian of that operator, the parent of a minor operator, the
18authorized representative of an operator, or any person injured,
19and the owners of vessels or property damaged, in the accident.

20(g) This section applies to foreign vessels, military or public
21recreational-type vessels, vessels owned by a state or subdivision
22of a state, and ship’s lifeboats otherwise exempted from this chapter
23pursuant to Section 650.1.



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