Ballast Water Management Fee

Assembly Bill 703, The Ballast Water Management Act of 1999, Chapter 849, Statutes of 1999 established a program to address the problem of the introduction and spread of nonindigenous aquatic species into the state waters of California. The California State Lands Commission initiated a ballast water management and control program with a sunset date of January 1, 2004.

Assembly Bill 433, which was passed into law in September 2003, extended the ballast water management fee program to January 1, 2010. In addition, Assembly Bill 433 renamed the Ballast Water Management Fee Law to the Marine Invasive Species Fee Collection Law. For purposes of administration of the fee we continue to refer to this program as the Ballast Water Management Program. Assembly Bill 433 also expands the definition of a voyage to include each vessel that arrives at a California port or place from a port or place outside of coastal waters of the state rather than from a port of place outside the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) as was required in prior law.

Senate Bill 497 was signed in to law on September 18, 2006. SB 497 deletes the sunset date of January 1, 2010 for the Marine Invasive Species Act and makes the fee permanent. In addition, SB 497 increases the maximum administrative civil penalty from $5,000 to $27,500 per violation for a person who intentionally or negligently fails to comply with the law.

In 2008, the State Lands Commission Amended Section 2271 of the California Code of Regulations to increase the per vessel fee to ensure adequate funds were available to meet program requirements.

In 2009, the State Lands Commission Amended Section 2271 of the California Code of Regulations to increase the per vessel fee to ensure adequate funds were available to meet program requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How much is the fee?

Effective November 1, 2009, the fee is $850 per qualifying voyage. Prior to November 1, 2009, the fee was $625 per qualifying voyage for the period of August 1, 2008 through October 31, 2009.

How is the fee assessed?

The State Board of Equalization (BOE) works with the California Marine Exchanges to identify daily arrivals of vessels into California ports. Using that information, the BOE:

  • Determines which vessel voyages are subject to the fee;
  • Establishes account numbers for the owner/operators of these vessels and;
  • Mails a notice of the amount due to the vessel's owner/operator and faxes a copy to the agent of record, if requested.

There is an option of filing monthly fee returns rather than receiving notices of determination for each qualifying voyage. For further information about qualifying for filing of monthly fee returns please contact the Environmental Fees Division. Contact information is below.

How do I pay the fee?

Payment of the fees should be made to the BOE and mailed along with a copy of the Notice of Determination, or fee return to the address below. If you prefer, payment may be made at any of our BOE offices. Payment may be made in cash, check, cashier's check or money order.

Mail payments to:

Special Taxes Remittance Processing
State Board of Equalization
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-6199

How do I contact the BOE if I have questions or need additional information?

Agents and owners/operators should notify the BOE of any change of address, phone or fax number to ensure that invoices and information on the fee program are received timely. To notify the Board of changes or if you have any questions regarding the Ballast Water Management Program, please contact us at:

Environmental Fees Division
State Board of Equalization
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279-0057

Phone: 916-322-9534
Fax: 916-327-0859

If you would like more information on Ballast Water Management Program and testing or copies of State Lands Commission regulations, please contact the State Lands Commission, Marine Facilities Division, by phone at (916) 574-1900 or visit their website.