SACRAMENTO — Today, AB 335, Assemblymember Boerner Horvath’s bill to keep boat owners and renters safe by providing boat manufacturers the option to contact buyers if they need to do a recall, passed the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee on a unanimous bipartisan 11-0 vote.
In 2019, the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act passed, allowing consumers greater ability to protect their personal contact information from being shared. Certain exceptions allowed under later legislation gave car dealers the ability to share that information so consumers could receive important safety recall and warranty information for their vehicles. AB 335 simply extends that same exception to watercraft dealers so people get the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe while on the water.
“California is and should remain a national leader when it comes to empowering people to take charge of their personal data, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t important exceptions,” said Assemblymember Boerner Horvath. “Just like car dealers, watercraft dealers want to ensure owners get timely recall and safety information without running afoul of privacy protections. This bill will enable sellers to contact consumers and will keeps folks out of harm’s way while they’re enjoying our oceans, lakes, and waterways.”
Even though federal law requires such information be shared when a watercraft is purchased, the California Consumer Privacy Act makes it problematic to do so when a consumer chooses to exercise their privacy rights under the state law.
"California is the third largest boating state, and Californians bought $718 million in new boats, engines and trailers in 2018,” said David Dickerson of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the sponsor of the bill. “Most certainly the manufacturers of those vessels should be able to verify warranties and contact owners in the event of a safety recall. By allowing this limited sharing and retention of information, the legislature will ensure that consumers receive important and timely safety recall information and can easily confirm warranty eligibility.”
AB 335 builds on common sense exemptions made for the auto industry to promote boating safety while preserving the unique privacy protections California consumers enjoy, and has the support of dozens of manufacturers, dealers, and recreational boating organizations.
The bill now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.