Polk Co. Sheriff's Office
Polk County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol - 12/11/14
The Polk County Marine Patrol finished up their seasonal program year at the end of September. This past summer was a busy year for the Marine Patrol Unit as the use of the Willamette River continues to increase yearly for both motorized and non-motorized activities.
This year we saw a significant increase in our floating traffic from previous years due to the new launch ramps that opened up the previous year in Keizer and Independence. These ramps also provided nice trailer parking and restroom facilities for not just our floating traffic boaters but our motorized boaters as well. With these new river entry points, boaters have found several new areas to boat as well as leisurely float on a sunny afternoon. These ramps have also helped attract boaters who may have gone elsewhere but due to the cost of fuel have chosen to stay closer to the valley. The new ramps have also helped open up areas of the river for good navigable motorized boating that was previously difficult to get to unless you had a jet type boat.
This year, the Polk County Marine Patrol has conducted nearly 1150 on the water inspections. These inspections have resulted in over 58 citations and 80 warnings. The Marine unit logged nearly 960 hours of either patrol or other marine related activities in our communities. The Marine Unit also responded to several rescue calls throughout the year including responding to the river to rescue the Willamette University Crew Team that capsized one evening resulting in several people in the water and stranded on the bank until our team arrived to safely transport them back to the ramp.
The Polk County Sheriffs' Office contracts with the Oregon State Marine Board who provide 100% of the funding by way of boater registration fees to provide this service.