Oregon Marine Board
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News Releases
Marine Board Urges Boaters to Stay Off the Water - 09/09/20

The Oregon State Marine Board is urging boaters to stay off waterbodies near areas where there are active fires. With fires burning across the state and extensive evacuation orders, public health, safety, and protecting property are paramount. The agency asks boaters to do their part by staying out of harm’s way and wait until outdoor conditions improve.

Sheriff’s office marine deputies are assisting with public safety and evacuation orders and need the assistance of boaters to stay well clear of active fires and waterbodies used for fire suppression efforts. Boaters can be cited for unsafe operation (ORS 830.305) for interfering with these efforts. Furthermore, on-water rescue and resources are extremely limited should boaters need aid.  

Federal and state land managers have closed access for outdoor recreation in many locations due to active fires. Air quality and travel conditions are also hazardous.

The agency’s interactive Boat Oregon Map is a resource for some boating facility closures; however, given rapidly changing conditions, assume that “where there is fire, recreational access will be closed.”

For more wildfire resources, visit wildfire.oregon.gov.

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A picture of different motorized and non-motorized boats launching at Poole Creek boat launch on Lemolo Lake, managed by the US Forest Service.
A picture of different motorized and non-motorized boats launching at Poole Creek boat launch on Lemolo Lake, managed by the US Forest Service.
Labor Day Weekend Safe Boating Tips for Fun (Photo) - 09/02/20

Labor Day Weekend is always popular outdoors, and to keep things fun and safe, the Oregon State Marine Board suggests taking the time to plan your water getaway and stay safe with the following tips:

  • Wear your life jacket. Each boat (including canoes and kayaks, inflatable boats, stand up paddleboards) must have a properly fitting life jacket for each person on board and at least one sound-producing device. Life jackets need to be in good shape and readily accessible – not under a hatch or in its packaging. All youth younger than 13 must wear a life jacket when in a boat that’s underway. This season, most of the victims of recreational boating fatalities were not wearing a life jacket.
  • Know your waterway. “Be familiar with your surroundings and always watch where you are going,” says Ashley Massey, Public Information Officer for the Marine Board. “Stumps, deadheads and sand and gravel bars are prevalent this year and water levels are really low in a lot of locations. Start out slow and get your bearings.” Find out where there are reported obstructions and the recommended actions for safe navigation.
  • Know what rules apply. “There are all types of watercraft on the market; some are considered boats and others are pool toys. Boats are designed differently, and by state law, have specific equipment requirements such as having enough properly fitted life jackets and a sound-producing device, like a whistle. Attach the whistle to your life jacket and you’re set.” Massey adds. “If you plan to float the river, keep in mind that pool toys are designed for use in a swimming pool, have no directional control, and can puncture easily. If you are planning a relaxing float, do so in a watercraft designed for the river; one which won’t easily puncture and comes properly equipped with a paddle so you can maneuver away from obstructions.” Any boat with a motor, even temporarily mounted, must be titled and registered. Paddlecraft 10 feet and longer are required to purchase and carry a Waterway Access Permit.
  • Boat Sober. Boating is a great social activity, but the Marine Board encourages boaters and persons floating on the waterways, to leave the alcohol onshore. It’s safer for everyone. If arrested for Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicants (BUII), violators can be fined up to $6,250; can lose boating privileges for up to three years, and even serve jail time. Intoxicants include marijuana, illicit drugs, and even some prescription drugs.
  • Sit on the seat inside the boat. Many boaters are tempted to ride on the swim platform, stern, sides, and the bow of unenclosed boats. The stern can be a dangerous place for exposure to carbon monoxide and a prop-strike safety hazard. It is illegal to ride on the bow, decks, gunwales, or transoms of a motorboat when the boat is underway. Sitting on designated seats is the safest option –especially when the boat is towing someone. Just because new boats have seats on the transom or swim step doesn’t make them legal.
  • Slow down and keep scanning. Know the boating regulations for your area of operation. Always obey the “slow-no wake” buoys or signs. Boaters, including PWCs, are responsible for damage caused by their wake. Remember to slow down within 200 feet of a dock, launch ramp, marina, moorage, floating home or boathouse, pier, or swim float. Be courteous with one another and share the waterway. Paddlers should stay closer to shore, crossing busy channels at right angles only when it is safe and allow motorboats to pass in deeper water.

Marine officers will be enforcing slow-no wake zones and other boating laws. The top boating safety violations this summer involve life jackets, excessive speed, unsafe operation, failure to maintain a proper lookout, riding on the gunwales, deck or transom when a boat is underway, and overloading.

So far this year, there have been 22 recreational boating fatalities involving 10 motorized boats and eleven non-motorized boats.  Only four of the victims were wearing life jackets; one did not fit properly, and the other incidents had other contributing factors. 

For more information about equipment requirements, regulations, and ideas on where to go boating, visit the Marine Board’s website and ways to reduce your risk with these boating safety guidelines during COVID-19.

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Definitions:  

BOAT: All watercraft, including a seaplane on the water and not in flight, used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water. Exemptions include boathouses, floating homes, air mattresses, beach and water toys, or single inner tubes. “Boats” must be equipped with specific safety gear based on the type of boat and boat length. Stand up paddleboards are considered boats and must meet carriage requirements.

SLOW-NO WAKE: Operating a boat at the slowest speed necessary to maintain steerage and that reduces or eliminates waves that appear as white water behind the boat.

Locations for boating facility grant awards
Locations for boating facility grant awards
Marine Board Approves 16 Cycle Two Grants (Photo) - 09/02/20

The Oregon State Marine Board approved 16 boating facility grants for motorized and non-motorized boating access and improvement projects around the state during a special Marine Board meeting held virtually on August 27. This is the first grant cycle to award waterway access permit funding for non-motorized access projects and education programs to encourage safety into this growing activity.

The following grants were approved beginning with the facility owner, the project location and description, funding sources, and total project costs:

  • Oregon State Parks: Bullards Beach State Park, Coquille River. The Board approved cost increases for the debris boom with $63,419.34 in state boater funds, combined with $21,139.78 in applicant cash for a cost increase total of $84,559.12.
  • Port of Arlington: Port facility, Columbia River. Funding to replace the flush restroom, add showers, expand the parking area, and add paddling access and a staging area. The Board approved $183,695.26 in state boater funds, $95,064.74 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $226,884.00 in applicant match for a project total of $505,644.00.
  • Yamhill County: Rogers Landing, Willamette River. Funding to repair the short-term tie-up dock. The Board approved $47,091.00 in state boater funds, combined with $15,697.10 in applicant match for a project total of $62,788.10.
  • Bureau of Land Management: Spring Recreation Area, Brownlee Pool of the Snake River for the self-adjusting dock replacement, and guide rail repair. The Board approved $48,950.00 in state boater funds combined with $53,900.00 of applicant match for a project total of $101,900.00.
  • Oregon State Parks: Nehalem Bay State Park funding to replace the boarding docks. The Board approved $103,779.00 in state boater funds combined with $33,500.00 of applicant match for a project total of $137,279.00.
  • Port of Alsea: Port Marina funding to improve paddling access by installing a kayak dock. The Board approved $28,000.00 in waterway access permit funding, combined with $17,000.00 of applicant match for a project total of $45,000.00.
  • Port of Alsea: Port facility funding for paving the gravel parking area. The Board approved $39,750.00 in state boater funds, combined with $13,250.00 in applicant match for a project total of $53,000.00.
  • Clatsop County: Westport boating facility located in Westport Slough off the Columbia River. Funding for consultant services for a lift station and other utilities. The Board approved $35,000.00 in state boater funds, $2,500.00 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $17,939.00 for a project total of $55,439.00.
  • Douglas County: Amacher Park on the North Umpqua River. Funding for consultant services and permitting. The Board approved $17,500.00 in state boater funds, $17,500.00 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $12,693.00 in applicant match for a project total of $47,693.00.
  • Port of Garibaldi: Tillamook Bay Crab Harbor and Ghost Hole Floating Restrooms to replace the piling. The Board approved $16,800.00 in state boater funds, combined with $50,400.00 in federal Clean Vessel Act funds and $983.00 in applicant match for a project total of $68,183.00.
  • Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership: Funding for hands-on boating and water safety education through 12 canoe trips with an anticipated 240-288 participants from underserved communities. Canoes will be launching from Willamette Park in the Lower Willamette River. The Board approved $22,740.00 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $11,030.00 of applicant match for a project total of $33,770.00.
  • City of Reedsport: Umpqua River, former Bumblebee Cannery site, funding for property acquisition for parking to serve nonmotorized boater using the Bumblebee boat ramp and docks. The Board approved $50,000.00 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $53,850.00 in applicant match for a project total of $103,850.00.
  • City of Estacada: Estacada Lake Shore. Funding to assist with permitting for the future installation of a nonmotorized dock, gangways, nonmotorized boat rental and storage enclosure. The board approved $35,000.00 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $385,500.00 in applicant match for a project total of $420,500.00.
  • Coos County: Tenmile Lake. Funding to replace the gangways for the short-term tie-up dock and multi-use dock. The Board approved $46,282.50 in state boater funds, $28,240.19in waterway access permit funds, combined with $38,438.04 in applicant match for a project total of $112,960.73.
  • Coos County: Tenmile Lake. Funding for a kayak launch on a multi-use dock. The Board approved $33,037.54 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $16,143.86 in applicant match for a project total of $49,181.40.
  • Vive NW: Funding for 24 informational and multilingual boating and water safety education videos. The Board approved $100,000.00 in waterway access permit funds, combined with $25,000.00 in applicant match for a project total of $125,000.00.

The Cycle Two Boating Facility Grant funding totals equate to $602,267.10 in motorized boating dollars, $412,082.47 in waterway access permit dollars, $50,400.00 in federal Clean Vessel Act funding, $991,933.10 in applicant funding match for a total project value of $2,056,682.35. Cycle Two grant projects are anticipated to be completed before June 30, 2021.  

“We’d like to thank people who took advantage of the new grant application comment process,” said Janine Belleque, Boating Facilities Manager with the Marine Board. “We received 67 individual comments which were considered by the Board for awarding the grants.”

The Marine Board is directly funded by boaters in the form of motorboat title and registration, non-motorized permit fees, as well as marine fuel taxes. The revenue is returned to boaters in the form of boating facility grants for access, improvements, and education. Each biennium, the agency has three boating facility grant funding cycles. Learn more about the Marine Board’s Boating Facility Grant programs.

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Marine Board Solicits Written Public Comment on Proposed Rules for North and South Twin Lakes - 09/01/20

The Oregon State Marine Board is soliciting written comments on proposed rules affecting boat operations on North and South Twin Lakes. The proposed rules amend Oregon Administrative Rule 250-020-0091, Boat Operations in Deschutes County.

The Marine Board directed staff to draft rules that would allow the use of electric motors by persons with disabilities on the lakes. Currently, no motorboats are allowed. The Board is interested in expanding opportunities for boaters with disabilities to safely recreate by allowing them to operate with electric motors at not-to-exceed slow-no wake speed. Recent legislation (HB 3168 of the 2019 Oregon Legislature) authorizes the Marine Board to amend the regulations for North and South Twin Lakes.

Written comment will be accepted until October 4, 2020, at 11:55 pm. Comments must be received prior to the closure time/date to be considered. Comments can also be submitted by email to .rulemaking@oregon.gov">osmb.rulemaking@oregon.gov  or by U.S. Mail to Jennifer Cooper, Administrative Rules Coordinator, Oregon State Marine Board, 435 Commercial Street NE, Salem, OR 97301.   

Those wishing to provide oral testimony to the Marine Board may do so by calling (503)378-2617 and leaving a concise voice message not to exceed two minutes. Audio files of these messages will be provided to the Board Members for their review.

The Board will deliberate at their Quarterly Board Meeting on October 21, 2020, and may vote to adopt the proposed rules as written or to pursue another direction.

To view the proposed rules, visit

https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Pages/Rulemaking-and-Public-Notices.aspx.
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Proposed rules for boat operations on the Willamette River in Portland
Proposed rules for boat operations on the Willamette River in Portland
Marine Board Solicits Written Public Comment on Proposed Rules for Willamette River in Portland (Photo) - 09/01/20

The Oregon State Marine Board is soliciting written comments on proposed rules affecting boat operations on the Willamette River in downtown Portland. The proposed rules amend Oregon Administrative Rule 250-020-0280, Boat Operations in Multnomah County.

The proposed rules extend the slow-no wake zone currently in a portion of the Holgate Channel and creates pass-through zones north and south of Ross Island from May 1 through September 30. No person shall operate a motorboat pulling a water skier or towed device, and; no one would be allowed to operate a personal watercraft in continuous operation above 5 mph, except to transit directly through the zones.

Written comment will be accepted until October 4, 2020, at 11:55 pm. Comments must be received prior to the closure time/date to be considered. Comments can also be submitted by email to .rulemaking@oregon.gov">osmb.rulemaking@oregon.gov  or by U.S. Mail to Jennifer Cooper, Administrative Rules Coordinator, Oregon State Marine Board, 435 Commercial Street NE, Salem, OR 97301.   

Those wishing to provide oral testimony to the Marine Board may do so by calling (503)378-2617 and leaving a concise voice message not to exceed two minutes. Audio files of these messages will be provided to the Board Members for their review.

The Board will meet October 21, 2020, and may make a motion to adopt the rules or to pursue another direction.

To view the proposed rules, visit

https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Pages/Rulemaking-and-Public-Notices.aspx.

Aerial view of the fires along the Siuslaw River near Mapleton.
Aerial view of the fires along the Siuslaw River near Mapleton.
Siuslaw River Closed to Recreational Boating from Mapleton to Tiernan Landing (Photo) - 08/31/20

At the request of the Lane County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Marine Board is issuing a closure to all recreational boating on the Siuslaw River between the Hwy 126 Bridge in Mapleton downstream to Tiernan Landing. The temporary closure is in effect from September 1 through September 13, 2020, and is necessary due to fire suppression efforts and road closures in the area.

Fire suppression aircraft are accessing the river for water and pose a significant danger to any boaters on the river. Marine officers are assisting on the water and making contacts with local homeowners asking for their active cooperation. Lane County has issued a Level 3 evacuation for residents of Hadsell Creek Rd., and a Level 2 evacuation for residents on or near Sweet Creek Rd., on the south side of the Siuslaw River.

For a map of the evacuation areas, please visit https://sartopo.com/m/QRCS. Updates from the Oregon Department of Forestry can be found on the Fire Blog at http://odfwildfire.wpengine.com/. View the temporary rule notice.

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