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Surrendered and Abandoned Vessel Exchange (SAVE)

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The SAVE program combines the Abandoned Watercraft Abatement Fund (AWAF) and the Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP) grants into one, allowing local public agencies the convenience of only one grant to apply for and manage, and the flexibility to use the funds for both purposes as needed.

EFFECTIVE AS OF JANUARY 1, 2016, only the SAVE will be available to public agencies interested in receiving an AWAF and/or VTIP Grant. The SAVE is a competitive grant. Agencies are required to participate in both services under the SAVE.

The AWAF and VTIP are grant programs designed to remove, reduce and prevent abandoned recreational vessels and marine debris. Administered by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW), grants are awarded annually to qualified local public agencies statewide. The AWAF and VTIP, enacted in 1998 and 2010 respectively, have provided millions of dollars in grants, and have enabled the removal of thousands of vessels and marine debris.


Abandoned Watercraft and Abatement Fund (AWAF)

In October of 1997, Senate Bill 172 (Rainey) created the AWAF in Section 525 of the Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC).

The AWAF is a reimbursement grant which provides funds for the abatement, removal, storage and disposal of abandoned vessels, wrecked or dismantled vessels, parts, or any other partially submerged objects that pose a substantial hazard to navigation from navigable waterways or adjacent public property, or private property with the landowner’s consent, per Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC) Section 525. Commercial vessels are not covered under this program.

Vessel Turn-In Program (VTIP)

The proactive VTIP grant was created in 2010 as a solution to prevent abandoned vessels before they happen. By providing an easy and free alternative for boat owners to surrender an unwanted vessel to a participating agency in lieu of abandonment, this program eliminates the expensive, difficult and time consuming adjudication and removal process that abandoned vessels often require. More importantly, the VTIP also works to safeguard public and boater safety by preventing the risk of harmful water hazards, and provides for the protection of the environment by preventing discharges of oils, gas, sewage and other toxic pollutants that may leak from an abandoned vessel into our waterways and fragile habitats.

The VTIP grant was authorized by Assembly Bill 166 (Lieu), and became effective January 1, 2010 as HNC 526.1.


Section 525 (1)(A) of the Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC) allows DBW to distribute grants to local public agencies that have jurisdiction over navigable waterways in California.

Private businesses cannot apply for a SAVE grant; however, they may work through a local public agency that is participating in the SAVE to 1) remove abandoned vessels on their private property, 2) surrender vessels through the VTIP they have title to, and/or 3) remove hazardous marine debris.


Grant applications for the SAVE will be accepted through DBW’s online grant application system, “OLGA,” beginning February 1 and will close on April 30 annually. It is recommended that agencies submit their application as early as possible to avoid any last minute difficulties.

All applications must be submitted through OLGA. To assist users with this system, instructions are available via the link “OLGA INSTRUCTIONS” under Related Pages to the right of this page, or click here.

After reviewing the OLGA instructions, access the OLGA system to begin an application by clicking the link “Online Grant Application (OLGA)” under Related Pages, or click here. For first time users, it is strongly recommended to follow the instructions exactly as provided; for previous OLGA users with a SAVE application already created (submitted or not), your previous OLGA application, with updated information you can add, may be resubmitted for a new grant. This procedure is listed in the OLGA INSTRUCTIONS, or click here.


DBW will conduct OLGA training sessions for new and returning users. You are encouraged to attend one or all of the training sessions. 

Training will be held on February 15, 2018, from 1:00pm - 4:00pm at One Capitol Mall, Suite 500, Sacramento, CA, 95814.

Please download the OLGA Step by Step Instructions and the specific instructions for the BSE and/or SAVE grants using the hyperlinks located in the Step by Step’s on page 6, Step 6: “Start a New Application”, #6.12. Review this information before beginning your application. For those familiar with OLGA, you may wish to review this training material before reapplying.

Please submit your RSVP by February 9, 2018 via email to

Please include the following information in your email:

1 Name of attendee(s)
2 Agency
3 Phone Number(s)
4 Date(s) of attendance


A local government agency (LPA) that has jurisdiction over navigable waterways in California may apply for a SAVE grant. Grant amounts are based on the LPA’s “estimate of need,” and there currently are no restrictions for minimum or maximum fund requests. A site visit may be necessary to fully evaluate the agency's grant needs.

For an overview of grant information requested in the SAVE application, or click here, and for current grant evaluation scoring information, see links located in Related Pages, SAVE GRANT SCORESHEET. This information may change; please check back each year to verify.


There are both general terms and conditions that are required by all state agreements as well as specific terms and conditions that apply to the grant program. Prospective applicants should ensure that they can comply with these terms and conditions.

To view a copy of the grant agreement, please click the link in Related Pages, or click here


Per HNC 526(1)(C) a grant awarded by DBW shall be matched by a 10-percent contribution from the local agency receiving the grant. SAVE recipients are required to expend their 10-percent contribution before receiving reimbursement from the SAVE program.

The contribution may be rendered in cash or through in-kind contributions which must be verified, and are at the discretion of DBW. The contributions may include the following:

· Personnel hours (verifiable base net hourly rates only)
· Excess expenses above and beyond the grant amount such as storage, removal, etc.


For abandoned vessels and marine debris, the SAVE provides reimbursement funds for the abatement, removal, storage, and disposal of abandoned vessels, wrecked or dismantled vessels, parts, or any other partially submerged objects that pose a substantial hazard to navigation from navigable waterways or adjacent public property, or private property with the landowner’s consent, per Harbors and Navigation Code (HNC) Section 525.

In addition, for abandoned vessels, other expenses such as towing, hazmat removal, appraisals, and lien sale costs are also reimbursable through the SAVE.

For VTIP vessels surrendered through the SAVE, reimbursable expenses covered are removal, storage, towing, hazmat removal, demolition and disposal.

Commercial vessels are not covered under this program.


All processes are explained when a grant is awarded; however, in summary, a participating agency submits a reimbursement claim to DBW using forms available under Related Pages. Invoices and payment verification are required to accompany each claim, as is the 10% match (and other documents). If using an in-kind match, the Itemized 10% In-Kind Contribution Statement is linked on this page. Reimbursement requests may be made at any time and as often as necessary, but no later than 45 days prior to the expiration date of the grant. Payments normally take 6-8 weeks provided all information required is supplied to DBW.


In an effort to intercept vessels before they are abandoned, the VTIP is the most efficient and practical solution. Deciding which vessels to accept through the VTIP is up to each participating agency. According to HNC Section 526.1, the public agency determines, in its sole discretion, that the vessel is in danger of being abandoned, and therefore has a likelihood of causing environmental degradation or becoming a hazard to navigation.

Participating SAVE agencies may accept VTIP vessels only in their area of responsibility or from other neighboring California communities. Extra points are awarded applicants who are willing to accept vessels from outside their jurisdiction.


Verified titleholders can request to surrender their recreational vessels free of charge to participating VTIP agencies. If accepted, the title of the vessel must be free of any loan balances, liens, and/or taxes. Proof of ownership and a Release of Interest and Ownership from the owner are required to be provided to the VTIP agency. (*sample of this document provided in Related Pages here). The agency has the vessel demolished and submits proper notification to the DMV, and provides a reimbursement request to DBW.

For vessels surrendered through the SAVE (VTIP), reimbursable covered expenses are removal, storage, towing, hazmat removal, demolition and disposal.


DBW values its partnership with SAVE grantees, and strives to provide concise information, prompt reimbursements, and helpful assistance in order to keep the SAVE a viable and robust program for the betterment of California and its people. As in all partnerships, communication is key. To that end, grantees have management responsibilities as well: brief quarterly reports are required of grantees, and an annual teleconference meeting of all SAVE agencies is conducted in the fall.

Grant funds are expected to be utilized effectively and not saved for a rainy day or hoarded. When agencies apply for a new SAVE grant, points are awarded on a sliding scale for efficient management of previous grants. In addition to maintaining communication, grantees are expected to utilize as much of their grant as possible with efficiency and relative speed; failure to do so can be detrimental to the intent and future budget of the SAVE program. If an agency is facing the prospect of having substantial unused funds remaining in their grant, then they are encouraged (and may be required) to help other agencies that are in need through the “Funds Assist” process which is facilitated by DBW.


The typical grant process is as follows:

1. February 1: SAVE grant applications are open in OLGA; training sessions are conducted (dates to be advised on our website).
2. April 30: Grant applications are closed.
3. July 15: Grant awards announced. No work can begin until the grant is “Fully Executed” and notice to proceed is issued by DBW.*
4. August 1: Grant instructions and agreement documents are issued via OLGA to awarded agencies for their completion.
5. Agencies are required to complete various sections of the grant agreement, obtain their City Council or Board of Supervisors Resolution acknowledging acceptance of the grant (this may be done in advance of receiving grant documents), and return the grant documents back to DBW for final review and approval. The time frame for this process varies greatly among the agencies, but DBW strongly requests that documents be returned within 90 days of receipt.
6. *Once returned, DBW reviews the grant documents, and completes the internal processes and approvals, approximately 1-2 weeks. When complete, DBW will issue the Fully Executed / Notice to Proceed letter to the award recipient, along with the completed grant agreement.
7. Work may begin relative to the scope of the SAVE grant.


There are many free publications available on DBW’s website on the Home page under PUBLICATIONS. You may order the VTIP brochure from this site, or contact your grant administrator for assistance.

  • Vessel Turn-In Program brochure: 4-color, 3 panel, glossy brochure describing the VTIP; useful for public outreach.
  • Poster/flyer: “Is Your Boat an Anchor?” This flyer is available for your agency to use as a poster, flyer, mailer, etc. Please contact your grant administrator for an efile copy.
  • One page efile for web use. Post VTIP information on your website to let the public know about this vital program that you are providing. Contact your grant administrator.


Use the following information only to appeal the denial of an application.

Contact the deputy director of the Division at:

E-mail: Lupe Perez-Samaniego
Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Director
Call: (888) 326-2822
P.O. Box 942896
Sacramento, CA 94296-0001