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AB 1682 – Expands Speed Limit Exemption For Lifeguard And Public Safety Water Vessels
Existing California law establishes a speed limit of 5 miles per hour for all machine-propelled vessels operating within 100 feet of a swimmer or 200 feet of a beach, swimming float, diving platform, lifeline, or landing float. Existing law also provides an exemption for vessels engaged in direct law enforcement activities that are displaying traditional blue safety lights. A recent Court of Appeal decision arising from a personal injury case held that this exemption did not clearly apply to lifeguard vessels and that the statutory framework was ambiguous. The California Supreme Court denied review, but four Justices invited the Legislature to clarify the ambiguity.
AB 1682 expands the statutory exemption to also include lifeguard water rescue vessels owned or operated by a public agency, or other public safety vessels displaying blue safety lights, if those vessels are engaged in public safety activities – such as traffic control, assisting disabled vessels, firefighter, providing medical assistance, search and rescue, or training – or if they are operating within the surf zone.
(AB 1682 amends Sections 650.1 and 655.2 of the Harbors and Navigation Code.)