Oregon Marine Board
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News Releases
Marine Board Issues Temporary Rule to Close Portion of North Umpqua River - 07/07/21

At the request of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Oregon State Marine Board issued a temporary closure on a portion of the North Umpqua River to recreational boating to aid in fire suppression efforts in the area. 

The closure is from the Boulder Flat boat launch at River Mile 68 downstream to the Alder Creek confluence (River Mile 51.3). This restriction is effective immediately through July 18, 2021, or until this temporary rule is lifted, whichever comes first.

The U.S. Forest Service is currently leading efforts to suppress fires in the area affected by this temporary rule. The fire suppression crews are accessing the river for water and operations pose a significant danger to any boaters on the river.

Douglas County has issued a Level 3 evacuation for residents due to the Jack Creek Fire. The order applies to all recreation areas, homes, and businesses between milepost 43 of Highway 138E east to the Eagle Rock Campground.

The Oregon Department of Transportation closed the highway between Steamboat and Slide Creek.

More information on the Jack Creek fire can be found at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7605/. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office also has an interactive map showing evacuation zones.

View the temporary rule notice (250-020-0102).

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Recreational boaters enjoying angling
Recreational boaters enjoying angling
Blue Water Beckons Boaters (Photo) - 07/02/21

Oregon’s waterways are crowded this summer, and the Oregon State Marine Board is asking boaters to help make this year safer than last year.

“Watch out for others and share the water,” said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Oregon State Marine Board. “It’s not uncommon to have motorboats, paddlers, swimmers, and waders on the same piece of water, which requires everyone to slow down and pay attention.” Based on a review of last year’s incidents, Henry offers these recommendations:

  • Marked Swim Areas: It is illegal to operate a motorized or nonmotorized boat in a marked swim area. When near a swim area, motorboat operators should slow down. The boat’s wake can impact swimmers or people near the water’s edge. Also, if the boat operator loses control, even for a moment, the boat could enter the swim area.
  • Unmarked Swim Areas: Boaters should use extreme caution in areas where swimmers, waders, and others congregate. Careless operation of a powerboat could result in charges against the operator. Conversely, swimmers should make themselves seen and avoid swimming in busy boating areas.
  • Engine Cut Off Switches (ECOS): Most motorized boats have these devices installed and boat operators should use them. The device cuts the engine power if the operator falls overboard or away from the controls. The ECOS lanyard should be attached to your wrist, not your life jacket. This is because incidents can occur when an operator removes his or her life jacket with the lanyard attached. Shut off the motor BEFORE adjusting your life jacket or clothing.
  • Boating Under the Influence: Never use alcohol, drugs or marijuana products while boating. It is illegal for any operator to be impaired, even from prescription drugs. Wait until you are back on shore for the day to enjoy a cold one. While boating, drink plenty of water and stay alert.
  • Always wear a life jacket: US Coast Guard approved, properly fitted life jackets would have saved many lives last year. Many victims knew how to swim but were overcome by exhaustion or cold water. The Oregon State Marine Board encourages all boaters – young and old alike – to buy a good quality, comfortable life jacket, and wear it when boating.

Henry adds, “We’re also very concerned about fire this year. We’re in a historic drought, experienced historic high temperatures, and people are outdoors in force. Cigarettes and unattended or smoldering campfires are just two things that can turn the river side into an inferno. Fireworks, exploding targets, tracer rounds, sky lanterns, and other devices are prohibited on many public lands. Please abide by rules, be cautious, and have a safe time out there.”

Operation Dry Water Campaign Banner
Operation Dry Water Campaign Banner
Impaired Boat Operators in Focus July 2 -- 4 (Photo) - 06/25/21

Marine law enforcement officers from across the state will be joining with the Oregon State Marine Board and the US Coast Guard to enforce Oregon’s Boating Under the Influence of Intoxicants (BUII) laws this July 4 weekend. “If there is a chance you’ll be impaired this summer – especially during the July 4 weekend, don’t go boating,” says Randy Henry, with the Oregon State Marine Board. “It’s not worth the risk.” 

Henry notes that many of the state’s 36 counties sheriffs’ office and Oregon State Police will specifically be looking for impaired boat operators over the holiday weekend as part of the national Operation Dry Water Campaign. “If you’re impaired and we catch you, that can be the end of your boating fun for up to three years.”

Many marine officers have completed specialized training to recognize alcohol and drug impairment. This includes prescription drugs, alcohol, inhalants, marijuana, or any other substance that impairs a person’s ability to make sound judgments and have the ability to safely operate a boat.  The effects of drugs and alcohol are also amplified on the water with the combination of sun glare, wind, waves, and other environmental stressors.  Alcohol also dehydrates the body making sudden immersion into cold water at an even greater risk for drowning. 

Impaired boaters can expect to be arrested or face serious penalties.  In Oregon, the consequences of being convicted of BUII include the possibility of jail time, $6,250 in fines, loss of boating privileges, and a 1-3 year suspension of the boater education card and potentially being court-mandated to take another boating safety course.  Marine officers can arrest boaters on observed impairment and can legally obtain blood, breath or urine if a boater fails field sobriety testing.  So far this year, only two people have been arrested for BUII but the advent of hot weather will likely change that. 

“Overall, recreational boating is safe if boaters wear life jackets, boat sober, and keep a sharp lookout. Waterways are becoming more crowded with a variety of mixed boating and other activities, so it’s important to pay attention to what’s going on around you and to follow the navigation rules of the road. 

If boaters changed two things; wear life jackets and abstain from impairing substances, boating fatalities would be rare,” says Henry. “Oregon’s waters can be challenging enough for the sober boater, an impaired boater is really taking a huge, unnecessary risk, and they're subjecting others to it as well.”  

Henry goes on to say, “The public is our ally in safe boating.  If you see an impaired operator or someone who is operating in a way that threatens others’ safety, call 911 and report it.  That’s how we can work together to save lives.”  

For more information about Operation Dry Water, visit www.operationdrywater.org.

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Marine law enforcement practicing swiftwater rescue skills from a drift boat on the Rogue River
Marine law enforcement practicing swiftwater rescue skills from a drift boat on the Rogue River
Oregon State Marine Board and Office of Emergency Management Urge the Public to Practice Water Safety this Summer (Photo) - 06/24/21

SALEM, Ore. – The Oregon State Marine Board and Oregon Office of Emergency Management are teaming up to remind the public to play it safe in and around water. An increase in water-based recreation activities is expected this weekend with the National Weather Service issuing an Excessive Heat Watch for Friday afternoon through Monday evening.

There are inherent risks recreating on the water. Different skills are needed for operating motorized boats and paddling in nonmotorized boats, like kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. There are also risks when swimming in lakes and rivers. The greatest threat is to individuals who are attempting water recreation activities that do not match their skill and experience levels.

“We are seeing an increase in search missions on the water, and unfortunately, most of those are recovery missions. It’s really important for people to understand their limitations and to always wear a life jacket,” said State Search and Rescue Coordinator Scott Lucas.

The Oregon State Marine Board is Oregon's recreational boating agency, serving recreational boaters through education, enforcement access, and environmental stewardship. 

“Never leave the shore or dock without first knowing the rules and how to be safe,” says OSMB Public Information Officer Ashley Massey. “When recreating on the water, it’s important to wear a life jacket; take a boating safety class; carry all required safety gear; use the engine cutoff switch; file a float plan; be aware of weather and water conditions, always boat sober and be considerate of others.”

Learn more about being safe on the water by visiting the Oregon State Marine Board at https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/boater-info/Pages/Safety-and-Education.aspx,

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