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Marine Board Meeting June 18, 19 in Salem - 06/06/19

The Oregon State Marine Board will meet on June 18 and 19, 2019 at the Marine Board office, 435 Commercial St. NE, Suite 400, in Salem.  On June 18, the meeting will begin at 1 pm and on June 19; the meeting will begin at 8:30 am. 

During the June 18 meeting, the Marine Board will consider 21, Cycle One boating facility grant requests.  Cycle One has $1.9 million available with nearly $8 million being requested by applicants.      

The following agenda items will be discussed on June 19:

  • Chapter 250 – Division 010, Division 014, Division 016 and Division 018; pertaining to legislative bills passed during the 2019 session;
  • Possible rulemaking via petition to repeal rules that went into effect February 1, 2019, involving wake surfing and restriction zones in the Newberg Pool on the Willamette River;
  • Consideration of rulemaking for Boat Operations on the Willamette River in Clackamas County to establish seasonal closures in the area near the Sportcraft Marina dock in Oregon City as requested by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
  • Rules briefing on rule advisory committee recommendations and feedback from Portland Waterways Listening Sessions.

The Board will also enter into executive session per ORS 192.660(2)(i).

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Drift2018.jpg
Drift2018.jpg
Marine Law Enforcement Annual Drift Boat Training Set (Photo) - 06/04/19

During the week of June 10-14, Marine Law Enforcement personnel from around the state will be learning and perfecting their drift boating skills on the Rogue River.  Students will learn to swim in whitewater, practice rescue techniques, navigate Class III whitewater, and operate in remote environments from drift boats, rafts, and catarafts.

Running whitewater takes training and practice so law enforcement can respond to emergencies quickly and confidently.  “There’s no training like it anywhere else in the country, says Eddie Persichetti, Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Marine Board.  Experienced instructors from around the state help guide the way for the less experienced students.” Each day the students drift various river sections, beginning with Class I rapids.  “Day one we build on rescue techniques and focus students’ attention on reading white water. It’s incredibly important to see the whole run vs. the next ten feet in front of the boat,” says Persichetti.  Day two, instructors build on the skills from the day before and then progress onto more difficult skills with more difficult rapids throughout the week.  “The key is to develop the skill and confidence in officers so they can safely patrol Oregon’s waterways and apply those skills to assist boaters in distress. The safety of everyone recreating on the water is our top priority,” Persichetti explains.   

The skills the officers gain will give them a strong foundation in their law enforcement roles when they return to their patrol area.  “We also practice scenarios where students encounter boaters and guides who are not in compliance with existing laws,” Persichetti adds.  “Oregon’s waterways seem to become more crowded every year and it's imperative that law enforcement focuses on those boaters who are not in compliance.”   Persichetti adds, “When the law enforcement students leave this training, they have a new respect and understanding for safety on the river, the people who run it and playing by the rules.”

Recreational boaters can expect to see law enforcement students drifting on the Upper Rogue from Lost Creek Reservoir to Touvelle Park from June 10 through June 13 and the Middle Rogue from Ennis Riffle to Argo Canyon on June 14.

For more information about boating laws and regulations, visit www.boatoregon.com.

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Attached Media Files: Drift2018.jpg
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NPFlyer.jpg
Get Familiar with New Rules for Towed Watersport Operations in Newberg Pool (Photo) - 05/31/19

The “Newberg Pool” is a stretch of the Willamette River formed by the backwater of Willamette Falls at Oregon City and extends up to the Yamhill River near Newberg. The stretch is popular among watersport enthusiasts for its protected waters but is also heavily developed with residential homes.  In February 2019, the Oregon State Marine Board implemented new recreational boating regulations from river mile 30 to river mile 50, creating “zones” for different boating and watersport activities in an attempt to manage boat wakes and their impacts on private residences.    

To help boaters understand the new rules, the Oregon State Marine Board has placed new descriptive signs and informational flyers at all access points in the Newberg Pool, and created a phone app and online resources to help boaters operate legally.  A series of 20, high-visibility buoys are being placed to mark the various zones of the river with different restrictions.  Buoys currently mark river miles 30 and 50 and the others will be placed from June 17-20.  Boaters are encouraged to use the Newberg Pool phone app with real-time mapping showing where they are on the river and the regulations that apply at that location.

The new rules separate the 20-mile stretch of the Newberg Pool, from River Mile 30 to River Mile 50, into eight zones – four “yellow zones” and four “red zones.”

For most activities, the rules are identical in both yellow and red zones. In the entire pool, all watercraft are restricted to slow-no wake speed within 100 feet of docks, boathouses, floating homes, and other structures.  Boats can be operated at higher speeds outside of this 100-foot buffer, including waterskiing. However, wakeboarding and towing inflatables (inner tubes, rafts, etc.) are only permitted at a distance of 200 feet or more from on-water structures.

For wakesurfers, the rules differ between zones.  Within yellow zones, wake surfing is permitted, but surfers must remain 300 feet from docks and other structures or, if the river is not wide enough, the boat must operate in the middle of the river. 

However, wakesurfing is not permitted anywhere in the red zones, regardless of distance from riverside structures.  Operation of watercraft at moderate speeds, those between slow-no wake and planing speeds are also prohibited in red zones (no plowing).

Restrictions from Private Docks, Boathouses, Floating Homes or Moorages Permitted by DSL:

YELLOW ZONES

0-100’ – All boats, slow-no wake of private docks, boathouses, floating homes or moorages permitted by DSL

100-200’ – No wakesports (boarding or surfing) or inflatable devices. Waterskiing allowed

200-300’ - No wakesurfing. Wake boarding, tubing, waterskiing allowed

300’ or more – All wakesports allowed. (wakesurfing may occur at the centerline of the river, as conditions allow)

RED ZONES

0-100’ – All boats, slow-no wake of private docks, boathouses, floating homes or moorages permitted by DSL

100-200’ – No wakesports (boarding or surfing) or inflatable devices. Waterskiing allowed

200’ or more - No wakesurfing. Wakeboarding, tubing, waterskiing allowed

“By design, the regulation requires operators to manage their wake by operating near the center of the river,” said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Marine Board. “Boaters must also maintain a sharp lookout at all times and steer right to avoid a collision in head-on situations and need to also look at the waterline to avoid hitting fallen boarders.  If the river is too crowded to operate safely at the centerline, we ask operators to change activities or move to another area.  Safety is paramount.”

Henry also cautions boaters to know the river. “If you do move right for oncoming traffic, watch for shoals and submerged trees, which can destroy your outdrive and cause injury.  Stay as far away as possible from docks and boathouses. This section of river is now being treated as a high congestion waterway with enhanced enforcement.  There is no green zone between river mile 30 and 50.  Every person must operate with care, caution and courtesy.  Make sure you understand the rules.”  

The rules also restrict motorboat operators from anchoring further than 100 feet from the shoreline May 15 to September 15, between 3 pm and sunset on weekdays, and noon and sunset on weekends and holidays.  This restriction doesn’t apply to boaters engaged in fishing.  The goal here is to keep the center of the river open for watersports during the busier periods.

“These regulations will be monitored throughout the summer,” said Henry. “Because they are complex, our focus is on education and compliance the first year, but officers will issue citations when needed.” Citations for these rules are $265, Class B violations. Marine officers from Yamhill, Clackamas and Marion County sheriffs’ will be coordinating patrols to enforce compliance. “Expect saturation patrols throughout the summer,” Henry added.

The new rule language, digital signage, and information on how boaters can minimize their wake can be found on the Marine Board’s website at https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/boater-info/Pages/Wake.aspx

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Hells Canyon Park, owned by Idaho Power
Hells Canyon Park, owned by Idaho Power
Oregon Prepares for Aquatic Invaders with Rapid Response Exercise (Photo) - 05/29/19

During the week of May 20, a group of 15 participants converged on the Snake River in Hells Canyon for a planning exercise in the event the Columbia River Basin tests positive for quagga or zebra mussels. 

The group practiced activating a mock command center and conducted a scenario-based, on-water drill.  From this exercise, the group determined what actions and their priority, in the event quagga or zebra mussels are detected in the Columbia or Snake Rivers.  Other objectives of the exercise were to identify communication gaps and other pitfalls to remedy before actual monitoring samples confirm waterway contamination.  Representatives from the Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Idaho Department of Agriculture, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Oregon Department of Agriculture, Idaho Power and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, participated in the exercise.    

“If quagga or zebra mussels get a foothold in the Columbia River Basin, hydropower facilities, irrigation, agriculture and other industries that depend on water will be hit hard; not to mention the impact this could have on salmon and steelhead populations and all of the work that’s been done to improve fish habitat,” says Glenn Dolphin, Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the Oregon State Marine Board.  “Oregon needs to practice a rapid response plan and act fast.  The question isn’t “if” the mussels contaminate the basin, but “when.”  We need to have everything dialed into the point where the group is a well-tuned machine with leadership and procedures in place, and everyone knows what role they play.”     

Officials in Idaho have taken many preparatory steps in the event these invasive mussels wind up in their waterways and Oregon is looking at mirroring their state’s response efforts.  Idaho assembled a playbook for rapid response that was used as a template for the exercise.     

“Rapid response exercises are extremely important, says Rick Boatner, Invasive Species, Wildlife Integrity Supervisor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  “If you miss your window of opportunity for whatever reason, the mussels will take over an entire ecosystem and now you are dealing with containment and control, which is far more expensive and drastically increases the chance that the mussel will expand into more areas around the state.”

Mandatory boat inspection stations in Oregon are the first line of defense, but most are only open seasonally during daytime hours with Ashland and Ontario stations open year-round.  Recreational boaters can help protect the waters where they recreate with three simple steps: Clean, Drain and Dry their boat after every use. 

The Marine Board and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife co-manage Oregon’s Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program.  Non-motorized boats 10 feet long and longer are required to purchase and carry an aquatic invasive species permit.  Motorized boaters are assessed a fee on their motorboat registration to help fund the program.  These fees pay for aquatic invasive species inspection stations, decontamination equipment, staffing, law enforcement, and outreach materials. 

For more information about aquatic invasive species or to purchase a permit, visit https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/boater-info/Pages/Aquatic-Invasive-Species-Program.aspx and https://myodfw.com/articles/buying-aquatic-invasive-species-prevention-permit.  

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The Marine Board is funded by registration, title fees and marine fuel taxes paid by motorized boaters.  No lottery, general fund tax dollars or local facility parking fees are used to support the agency or its programs.  Boater-paid fees go back to boaters in the form of boating safety services (on-the-water enforcement, training, and equipment), education/outreach materials, and boating access facility grants (boat ramps, docks, parking, restrooms, and construction and maintenance).  The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit program has dedicated funding to pay for border inspection stations, decontamination equipment, inspectors, and signage/outreach materials.  The Mandatory Education Program is self-supporting and revenue helps pay for education materials and boater education cards.  For more information about the Marine Board and its programs, visit www.boatoregon.com.

Marine Board's Boating Safety Program Manager, Randy Henry with Corporal Darin Krag, with the Klamath County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol Unit.
Marine Board's Boating Safety Program Manager, Randy Henry with Corporal Darin Krag, with the Klamath County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol Unit.
Klamath County Marine Deputy Receives Western States Officer of the Year Award (Photo) - 05/21/19

Corporal Daren Krag of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol received the prestigious Western States Boating Administrators Association’s (WSBAA) Officer of the Year award.  Krag received the award on Tuesday, May 14, in Oklahoma City as part of the annual WSBAA conference.

Cpl. Krag was selected from a pool of nominees from 16 member states for his effectiveness and dedication to serving recreational boaters.  Cpl. Krag oversees a fleet of eight boats used to patrol Klamath County’s 96,034 acres of water, including Oregon’s largest lake, which makes up roughly 12% of Oregon’s boatable waterways. Lakes in Klamath County are popular year-round for fishing, bird watching, waterfowl hunting, and watersports, which mean Klamath County’s Small Boat Team is ready and capable to respond at any moment, including frigid winter months when the lakes are generally frozen over.

Under Cpl. Krag’s leadership, his team conducted over 72 hours of classroom instruction in local schools and safety fairs reaching 1,732 individual students.  Cpl. Krag personally completed 796 patrol hours in 2018, and with his team, completed 2,368 patrol hours, total.  In addition to coordinating marine patrol activities, Cpl. Krag is passionate about enforcement in patrolling the waterways of Klamath County as well.  In 2018, he stopped 256 boats and issued 501 separate violations.  Under Cpl. Krag’s direction, his marine deputies completed 687 violation stops, issuing 1087 separate violations. Cpl. Krag personally issued 20 citations for “Child Not Wearing a Life Jacket”, 14 personal watercraft violations, 24 violations for no boater education card, 83 life jacket violations, and 30 Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicant (BUII) arrests. In fact, Cpl. Krag has arrested more than 120 BUII offenders since 2010 -far more than any other officer in Oregon.

Cpl. Krag is ahead of the pack; one of Oregon’s leading marine instructors, contributing more than 190 hours towards the Marine Board’s annual Marine Law Enforcement Academy, drift boat school and jet boat school.  He also serves on the agency’s Boat Accident Investigation Team and the Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicants (BUII) advisory committee.  Cpl. Krag readily deploys his team of skilled marine deputies and volunteers and the Sheriff’s Office side-scan sonar to assist neighboring agencies in boat accidents, recoveries, and investigations, as well.

As a result of this award, Cpl. Krag will now be considered for national Officer of the Year which will be announced in October by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators.

“It’s an honor to have Cpl. Krag recognized for his work and dedication,” said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Oregon State Marine Board.  “He’s a pillar in this profession.”

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