The Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) was established in 1957 upon enactment of legislation supported by the boating community. That legislation established a state boating agency dedicated to all aspects of recreational boating and a special fund (Harbors and Watercraft Revolving Fund) to fund the department’s activities. The department receives no General Fund support.
The department 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 example, DBW is responsible for planning, developing, and improving facilities on state-owned and state-managed properties, including those on State Parks and State Water Project properties. It also provides funding so that local agencies can renew deteriorated facilities or develop new public access. In addition, the department is heavily involved in furthering environmentally sound boating practices through its clean and green programs. Also, it is involved in research on climate change and wave prediction as they relate to navigation and coastal protection.
The department serves all types of recreational boaters statewide. California has about 2.6 million recreational boats and over 4 million recreational boaters.Recreational boating annually contributes several billion dollars to the state’s economy.