California Artificial Reef Bill Signed by Governor Schwarzenegger
A two-year effort by California Ships to Reefs (CSTR) to lay the ground work for artificial reefing projects in California was hailed as successful when Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 634 into law July 15.
The bill, sponsored by Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, protects state and local governments from liability
associated with scuba diving, particularly on ship-based artificial reefs. Without this protection,
government agencies would be reluctant to allow reefing in their jurisdictions.
“California Ships to Reefs is proud of its all volunteer organization, the Legislature and Governor for
passing AB 634. The Governor’s signature comes at an historic time, the tenth anniversary of HMCS
Yukon’s reefing in San Diego,” said Joel Geldin, Chairman and CEO of California Ships to Reefs.
“Today, California has removed a major impediment to artificial reefing. We are enthusiastic about the
new unlimited opportunities ahead to create a network of artificial reefs on the state’s coastline,
improving ocean life and enhancing our recreational diving and fishing industries,” Geldin added.
The well organized lobbying campaign by CSTR helped propel the bill through the Legislature with
remarkable bipartisan support. Dean Rewerts, Vice President of Reef Development of CSTR said, “We
appreciate how the Legislature was able to reach across the aisle and pass AB 634 without a single no
vote, working for the common good of California. California Ships to Reefs believes the entire state
owes thanks to Assemblywoman Diane Harkey for her foresight in carrying AB 634, making it easier to
create man-made reefing projects in California to the benefit of the state and the environment.”
Assemblywoman Harkey commented, “Fear of lawsuits has hampered efforts to expand recreational
activities in many communities. I am pleased that Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law our
legislation reducing liability for local and state governments while allowing for more recreational
activities such as scuba diving, aiding coastal economies, the environment and the state of California.”