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News Releases
Marine Board Hosting Open House to Discuss 2019 Legislative Concepts - 09/12/18

The Marine Board will be hosting an open house to discuss the agency’s legislative concepts on September 19, at 7 pm, at the Marine Board office, 435 Commercial Street NE, in Salem.  Recreational boaters are encouraged to attend and ask questions.  Agency staff will be on-hand to provide background and answers.

The Oregon State Marine Board has an ambitious plate of legislative concepts for 2019.  The concepts aim to improve efficiency and safety while adapting to changing boat use and increasing costs to serve Oregon boaters.    

“The agency has eight concepts and many came about based on feedback from stakeholders over the last couple of years and are woven into the agency’s strategic plan.  It’s a lot to hoist, but the Board is very responsive to the needs of recreational boaters, stakeholders, and partners and we’re always looking for ways to improve our services,” says Larry Warren, Director of the Marine Board.  “These concepts get the agency closer to fulfilling our mission; serving Oregon’s recreational boaters through education, enforcement, access, and environmental stewardship for a safe and enjoyable experience.”   

For legislative concept details, visit https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Pages/Legislative-Concepts.aspx.

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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, construction, and maintenance).  The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit program is 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. 

Smoke Alarms and Live-Aboard Boats -Early Detection is Key - 09/11/18

When the air temperatures start dropping in the fall, many live-aboard boaters and cruising boats (including sailboats with cabins) turn up the heat and spend more time inside.  But many of these boats are not equipped with smoke alarms.  Early detection has proven to save lives in homes and RV’s, so why are smoke alarms rarely found in boat cabin spaces?  They’re currently not required.  However, the Oregon State Marine Board encourages owners to consider purchasing and installing a reliable smoke alarm because there’s a risk of fire on boats and fires can happen.

While not required for recreational boats, the Coast Guard Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 46 guidelines requires that smoke alarms be installed in the sleeping compartments of small inspected passenger vessels.  An RV rated smoke alarm (label reads UL 217 RV) is approved for use on cruising boats.  Unlike the smoke alarms used in homes, the RV-rated alarms must withstand higher temperature variations, vibrations, humidity, and mild saltwater exposure.  The RV-rated smoke alarm is similarly recommended for use on recreational boats by the National Fire Protection Association.  However, due to the extreme environments in some areas, experts recommend regular inspections and a replacement cycle roughly every five years. 

Live-aboard boats and cruising boats have a variety of potential fire dangers, more than a typical home.  Pleasure boats have a high fire load in the form of combustible fuel storage that supplies multiple onboard devices, and AC and DC electrical systems (which are subject to regular moisture that causes corrosion, as well as vibration and jarring as part of the normal use).  A boat’s construction materials are extremely combustible, as are interior furnishings.  According to BoatU.S., 55% of boat fires are electrical in nature and will start in a smoldering state.  Propulsion, fuel, engine and exhaust problems, as well as unattended cooking, careless smoking, heating devices, and other appliances, are also among the causes.  In all of these cases, early detection of smoke can be the key to preventing a fire or stopping it in the early stages. 

Many people have smoke alarms in their homes and RV’s, so why not a boat?  This simple device can save lives, protect neighboring boats, docks or structures if the boat is kept at a moorage.  A smoke alarm is the cheapest insurance you can buy for your on-the-water home or pleasure craft. 

For more information about the Marine Board and other required equipment, visit http://www.oregon.gov/osmb/boater-info/Pages/Equipment-and-Regulations.aspx  

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Boats launching and retrieving at Detroit Lake
Boats launching and retrieving at Detroit Lake
Labor Day Weekend -Sun, Fun and Safe Boating Tips (Photo) - 08/30/18

Labor Day Weekend is one of the top three boating weekends of the year on many Oregon lakes and rivers, attracting thousands to the alluring banks and warmest water of the season.  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:

  • Boat Sober. Boating is a great social activity, but the Marine Board encourages boaters and persons floating on the waterways, to leave the alcohol on shore.  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.
  • 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 can appear out of nowhere with water depth changes.  Start out slow and get your bearings.  Water levels around the state are low this time of year which means stumps and gravel bars abound.”
  • 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.”  Remember, any boat with a motor even temporarily mounted, must be titled and registered. 
  • 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.  U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that over half of all boating fatalities occur with small boats on calm waterways, in shallow water and sunny conditions.
  • 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 a sharp lookout.  Know the boating regulations for your area of operation.  Always obey the “slow-no wake” buoys or signs.  Boaters, including PWCs, are responsible for 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 close to shore, crossing busy channels at right angles only when it is safe.

Marine officers will be enforcing slow-no wake zones and other marine laws.  The top violations so far this summer involve life jacket violations, 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 15 recreational boating fatalities involving six motorized boats, eight nonmotorized and one sailboat.  Only four of the victims were wearing life jackets and those accidents occurred on rivers where other factors contributed to the fatalities. 

For more information about equipment requirements, regulations and ideas on where to go boating, visit www.boatoregon.com.

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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” are required to carry specific equipment 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.

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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, construction, and maintenance).  The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit program is 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 Seeks Written Public Comment on Amending Rules, Defining Towed Water Sports - 08/22/18

The Oregon State Marine Board seeks written public comments on a proposed definition for “towed water sports.”  The proposed definition will be used in local Boat Operation rules in Chapter 250.

Where applicable, the agency is proposing to amend 10 MPH restrictions in local Boat Operation rules to include towed water sports.  Many local Boat Operation rules were adopted between 1960 and the 1980’s and since that timeframe, towed water sports have evolved.  Activities such as wake surfing and tubing are capable of being conducted below 10 MPH.  A towed water sports restriction is needed to support the current regulations, enhance safety and reduce boater conflict in light of changing boating use and technology.

Additionally, the agency is proposing to repeal stand-alone Boat Operation waterway rules and re-adopt and alphabetize the rules within the County in which they are located.  The goal of this proposed rule action is an attempt to increase the ease of finding the appropriate regulation for a waterbody by local marine enforcement and the public. 

The proposed rule amendments are separate and independent from the open rulemaking for statewide wake sports operation and are not related to legislative work on the Willamette River in the Newberg Pool. 

Written comments will be accepted until September 30, 2018, by 5 pm and can be submitted via email to .rulemaking@oregon.gov">osmb.rulemaking@oregon.gov  or by U.S. mail to: June LeTarte, Administrative Rules Coordinator, Oregon State Marine Board, 435 Commercial Street NE, Suite 400, Salem, OR 97301.  Comments via telephone will not be accepted. 

To view the proposed rule language, visit http://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Pages/Rulemaking-and-Public-Notices.aspx.

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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, construction, and maintenance).  The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit program is 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.