CA Pub Res Code Section 6309


The commission shall administer the Shipwreck and Historic Maritime Resources Program, which consists of the activities of the commission pursuant to this section and Sections 6313 and 6314.


The commission has exclusive jurisdiction with respect to salvage operations over and upon all tide and submerged lands of the state. The commission may grant the privilege of conducting salvage operations upon or over those lands by the issuance of permits. The commission may adopt rules and regulations in connection with applications for those permits, and the operations to be conducted in the salvage operation, that the commission determines to be necessary to protect those lands and the uses and purposes reserved to the people of the state.


The commission may issue permits for salvage on granted tide and submerged lands only after consultation with the grantee and a determination by the commission that the proposed salvage operation is not inconsistent with the purposes of the grant.


A salvage permit shall be required of a person or entity to conduct any salvage operation. As used in this section and Section 6313, “salvage operation” means any activity, including search by electronic means, or exploration or excavation using tools or mechanical devices, with the objective of locating, and recovering or removing vessels, aircraft, or any other cultural object from the surface or subsurface of state submerged lands.


Salvage permits shall be issued for one year, with the option to renew the permit for additional one-year periods at the discretion of the commission upon a showing that the permitholder has diligently and lawfully pursued the permitted activity and has achieved to a reasonable extent the purpose for which the permit was issued.


The commission may require that a person designated by the commission and paid by the permitholder be present during each phase of a salvage operation to observe and monitor compliance with the terms of the permit. The permitholder shall, upon the request of the commission, provide or pay for a reliable communication system for the observer to maintain contact with the office of the commission while on the salvage site.


The commission may issue a permit for the search or recovery of nonhistoric vessels, aircraft, or submerged objects, and for the search, archaeological investigation, and recovery of historic vessels, aircraft, or other submerged historic resources as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 6313. The commission shall determine the appropriate type of permit to issue based on its evaluation of the salvage project and the project’s probable impact on the site or objective, and the impact on the state submerged lands. The commission shall not require a permit for any recreational diving activity which does not disturb the subsurface or remove objects or materials from a submerged archaeological site or submerged historic resource as defined in Section 6313.


(1)Permits may be revoked by the commission, after notice to the permitholder, at any time the commission finds that the permitholder has failed to comply with the terms of the permit or any law or regulation governing the permitted activity.


A stop work order may be issued by the executive officer of the commission at the request of the onsite observer provided by subdivision (f), if the observer determines that the activities of the permitholder are not within the permitted activity. A stop work order shall be issued after the nonpermitted activity is brought to the attention of the person in charge of the onsite operation and that person fails or refuses after sufficient time and opportunity to change or correct the activity. Written notice of the stop work order shall be given to the person in charge of the onsite activity and a hearing by the executive officer or his or her designee shall be provided to the permitholder within three business days.


After the hearing the commission may seek enforcement of, or the permitholder may seek relief from, the stop work order in the superior court in the county in which the activity is being conducted. The relief may include damages for failure to comply with the stop work order. The commission may deny an application for a permit when it finds that the applicant has failed to provide, for a period of 60 days, information specifically requested by the commission which is necessary to complete the application.


When title to the objects, including a vessel, to be recovered is vested in the state, the commission shall provide for fair compensation to the permitholder in terms of a percentage of the reasonable cash value, or a fair share, of the objects recovered. The reasonable cash value of the objects shall be determined by appraisal by qualified experts selected by the commission. The commission shall determine the amount constituting fair compensation, taking into consideration the circumstances of each case. Title to all objects recovered is retained by the state until it is released by the commission.


The commission may fix and collect reasonable fees and costs for the processing and issuance of permits under this section. The applicant may be required to post a bond to ensure the completion of the project or payment of costs, or to deposit funds with the commission sufficient to cover costs and expenses chargeable to the applicant by law or by an agreement for reimbursement. If a bond is posted, the bond shall be held by the commission and shall be sufficient to cover all potential costs associated with the project, including preserving, restoring, and protecting the site and its associated finds.
Last Updated

Aug. 19, 2023

§ 6309’s source at ca​.gov