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News Releases
Marine Law Enforcement Recognized for Life Saving Efforts, Outstanding Program Service - 11/14/18

The Oregon State Marine Board recognized marine law enforcement from around the state for seven water-related rescues during their post-season Marine Law Enforcement Conference, held in Redmond on October 16.  The Marine Board also recognized individuals for outstanding service that went above and beyond in helping improve boating safety on Oregon’s waterways.

Life-Saving Recognition

The agency’s annual lifesaving awards recognize personnel who have exhibited heroism, going above and beyond the call of duty, by directly attempting to rescue one or more persons involved in a water-related incident.  These awards are open to all law enforcement, boating safety volunteers, and other marine partners.  Seven rescue events occurred during the boating season with nine lives saved.    

On January 22, OSP Trooper Aaron Miller was conducting a boat patrol with the Oregon State Police on Tillamook Bay.  Trooper Miller was actively monitoring the dive cockle fishery in the bay due to reports of violations.  On this day, Trooper Miller was invited to conduct a boat patrol with Deputy Paul Fournier who is assigned with the Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol.  The officers located a dive boat in an area commonly known as Crab Harbor and they noticed visible violations.  The officers tied up to the dive boat and were talking with the captain when one of the divers showed signs of distress and fell unconscious underwater.  Due to quick thinking by another diver to drop the gear, the diver in distress was able to surface.  The officers recovered the unconscious diver, blue in color, and not breathing.  As Deputy Fournier operated the boat in an effort to get the diver to medical personnel, Trooper Miller started chest compressions.  While on-route to the docks, the diver regained consciousness and started breathing on his own.  The diver was transferred to medical personnel immediately upon arriving at the docks. 

On March 27, shortly after midnight, Deputy Ron Osborn and Deputy Scott McLellan received a call of a car stopped and blocking one of the eastbound lanes of the Steel Bridge in Portland.  The Portland Police Bureau asked the Multnomah County River Patrol to do an area check in case there was a jumper.  No one had been seen attempting to jump from the bridge.  From the marine patrol boathouse, it took nearly 30 minutes for the deputies to arrive on-scene.  Once the deputies arrived, they were able to spot a face and hands sticking out of the water.  The person was located next to an ocean-going grain ship at the grain terminal downriver from the Steel Bridge. 

They pulled next to the person and were able to get him on the boat, then transported him to the Fire Bureau dock where they met AMR medics.  The person was unresponsive by that time and was transported to OHSU where he regained consciousness and survived his injuries.  Rescues of this type are very difficult in the dark under quickly changing wind and weather conditions.  Deputy Osborn and McLellan’s keen vision and expertise helped locate the person just in time.

At noon on May 27, Deputy Jerry Williams and Deputy Dave Young from the Benton County Sheriff’s Office were patrolling the North Santiam River, just upstream from the confluence where the North and South Fork of the Santiam River meet, near Jefferson.  While patrolling the river, Williams and Young spotted two young men in inner tubes.  Neither of the floaters was wearing a life jacket and they were approaching a sizable tree snag that was above the waterline and extended below the waterline like a chain link fence of wood, maple vines, and debris.  One of the floaters was able to make it to the other side of the river to safety without incident, but the other person in the inner tube was entangled in the snag and the tube overturned.  The man was pinned underwater and was pulled by the current under the snag.  Deputy Williams drove the boat as Deputy Young grabbed the wrist of the man, held on as hard as he could, and pulled the man up to keep his head out of the water so he could breathe.  Deputy Williams and Deputy Young instructed the man to climb the snag until they could pull him into the jet boat safely.  They transported the man to Jefferson Fire Department medics. 

In August, Lane County received a call of a water rescue on Fern Ridge Reservoir.  There were six family members that were boating and enjoying their afternoon when tragedy hit.  A nine-year-old child called to report that their mother and father were both in the water and that they were in critical need of help.  The child also reported that the father was underwater.  Deputy Guy Pease and Deputy Jon Bock were on Fern Ridge at the time of the call but on the other side of the reservoir.  The conditions were very rough, with three-foot swells and high wind conditions.  Another call came in that an eight-year-old and 11-year-old were also in the water.  Deputies Pease and Bock responded from across the lake and began the search.  They quickly spotted two boys who were hysterical and struggling to keep their heads above the large waves.  One of the boys was screaming that his dad was dead.  Both of the boys were pulled from the water and brought to safety.  Deputy Pease saw the mother in the water, holding the father.  The mother had one arm through a life jacket and was struggling to hold onto the father.  The mother was hysterical and kept sinking below the surface.  Deputies brought the father onto the boat and Deputy Bock began chest compressions.  Deputy Pease grabbed a CPR mask and took over compressions as Deputy Bock pulled the mother into the boat.  All of the individuals involved were taken to the boat launch at Orchard Point.  Regrettably, the father was unable to be revived, but the heroic actions of Deputies Pease and Bock, the other three people were rescued. 

On September 10, Deputy Mike Cahill from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office dove into the Columbia River to rescue a suicidal woman.  Deputy Cahill responded to a call at 3:23 pm after launching his patrol boat roughly ½ mile downstream from Channel Marker 40 near Boardman.  Deputy Cahill spotted a woman in the water about 50-75 yards out.  There were three to four-foot swells with visible whitecaps, as she struggled to keep her head above the water, moving further out into the river.  There wasn’t time to deploy a boat, so Deputy Cahill immediately dove into the water in an attempt to rescue the woman.  The woman went underwater several times and didn’t resurface, but not before Deputy Cahill was able to get a visual on her and get close enough to grab her by one of her elbows.  He identified himself and told her he wanted to take her back to shore.  She tried to break loose, but the deputy was able to maintain good contact with her.  As Deputy Cahill was attempting to get the woman back to shore, she begged him to let her go.  Deputy Cahill spoke calmly and reassured her as he swam them both back to shore.  The woman repeated she wanted to be let go and tried to escape, but Deputy Cahill didn’t give up.  He was working against the water, the wind, the strong current and the woman he was attempting to rescue.  Deputy Cahill was able to swim her to shallow water where Boardman Police entered the water to assist.

On July 18, a man attempted to take his own life by jumping from the Fremont Bridge into the Willamette River, more than 380 feet below.  On any other day, this would be a short and sad story, but just a half a mile away was River Deputy Kevin McAfee from the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office River Patrol.  As soon as the call was broadcast, McAfee immediately motored to the location –by himself.  There’s a brief moment after a person enters the water where the body’s survival instinct and body chemistry take over.  If a person is conscious and had the ability to move at all, they will automatically try to breathe.  Those moments are fleeting as a person’s body is instantly impacted by cold water shock, in addition to any severe injuries that can lead to drowning.  After 20 years with the sheriff’s office marine patrol and several years of service on the Dive Team, and Search and Rescue, McAfee knew this reality all too well.  Portland Police, Portland Fire, and the Coast Guard were all notified and responding to the call.  The patrol boat, “Munson” is equipped with cameras and recorded the event as McAfee approached the Fremont Bridge in search of the man.  The camera was not immediately able to detect the man in the river.  Portland Police located the man’s vehicle on the bride, giving McAfee a better idea of where to begin looking, just past the center of the bridge.  The traffic unit was able to spot the man, struggling in the water toward the middle of the river.  The man had very little capacity to hold on to life.  McAfee spotted the man and using extreme skill and care, adjusted the boat speed, dropped the front gate on the boat and pulled the man on board –with perfect timing.  This is exceptionally difficult to do, let alone solo.  The Portland Fire Bureau boat 6 Rescue Craft personnel arrived moments later, boarded the boat and started rescue medical attention.  They took the man to a waiting ambulance and on to the hospital.  The medical lifesaving procedures performed by fire, ambulance medics, nurses and doctors were equally as miraculous and deserving or recognition.  But if not for Deputy McAfee’s dedication to protect and serve the public, this man may not be alive today.  

On a chilly October afternoon, Deputy Scott McDowell and Sergeant Steve Dangler from the Multnomah County River Patrol were dispatched to assist Vancouver Police Department with a female suspect who had fled into the Columbia River.  The woman was in the river ranging from knee-high to the center of her chest.  As she continued to move around, she stumbled and eventually fell into the river. As the officers got closer, Sergeant Dangler dropped the front door of the boat.  This gave Deputy McDowell a clear view of the woman and would allow them to pull her aboard.  While in the river, she kept talking to herself and yelling out.  The goal was to corral her to the shore so she did not go under water.  This part of the river drops off substantially and given the mental state of the woman currently fighting to evade them in the river, the deputies were certain she would not be able to swim. The high winds made it challenging to maintain the boat position or move with her. Underwater pilings and high wind and waves put the woman, the officers, and the patrol boat at risk.  Sergeant Dangler decided that they had to act immediately or risk damaging the boat or losing the subject in the river.  He stripped some of his gear and told Deputy McDowell to position the boat on the next approach for him to hop off and securely grab her.  Sergeant Dangler jumped in the water, grabbing the subject under her right arm and tightly holding her against him so she could not turn out and away.  Once Sergeant Dangler got his footing, he positioned her to the left to pull her off balance.  Sergeant Dangler carried the woman to shore where two more Vancouver Police Officers were waiting. Vancouver took the woman into custody without further incident.  Due to the quick actions by all, the woman was able to get awaiting medical attention despite her resistance.

Marine law enforcement officers from 32 county sheriff’s offices, tribal representatives and the Oregon State Police train for swift water rescue, boat maneuvering, and a myriad of other life-saving scenarios each year during the Marine Board’s Law Enforcement Academy.  Academy training, in addition to the Marine Board’s drift and jet boat training schools, has proven to be well worth the time and effort in the number of lives saved each year.  

The Marine Board is sincerely grateful for every marine officer who puts their own lives at risk every time they patrol Oregon’s waterways and the thousands of people they impact through their presence.   


Program Awards

Malheur County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Wade Holom –Boat Maintenance Award

Marine law enforcement boats and equipment are purchased for marine programs using recreational motorboat dollars from the Marine Board, in addition to funding for boating safety education and patrol hours.  Boats and equipment require maintenance, and depending on the areas of patrol, some boats can experience extreme wear and tear from season to season.  In the first award of its kind, the Marine Board recognized Deputy Wade Holom of Malheur County with a Boat Maintenance Award.  Deputy Holom takes exceedingly good care of the county boat by conducting and verifying all of the required maintenance, communicating regularly with the agency’s Waterway Program Coordinator, Brian Paulsen about needed repairs, and finding creative solutions to get the maximum value and life out of the watercraft.  Deputy Holom’s dedication and efforts to ensure the boat is well maintained to prolong the life of the boat, deserves commendation.

Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Rayce Belmont -Rookie of the Year

This award recognizes a top performing marine officer who completed the current year’s marine academy and dives in as an active and effective new recruit.  Deputy Belmont’s excellent attitude, stellar boat operation skills, positive energy and easy-going demeanor helped garner him 639 boater contacts, where he issued 136 warnings and citations, along with some boating education. 

Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Charles Douglass –Most Valuable Contribution

The Most Valuable Contribution Award is one that is selected by unanimous consent of the Oregon State Marine Board’s Boating Safety Program staff.  A combination of action and attitude, Douglass has both character attributes.

Deputy Douglas was hired in 1999 by Lane County Sheriff’s Office and was assigned to the Marine Patrol on September 20, 2008.  Douglass is a top performer in boater contacts year to year, is a top jet boat operator, one of our foundational instructors, and finds time every year to teach at the Marine Law Enforcement Academy, Drift and Jet Boat Schools. He also serves on the state’s Boating Accident Investigation Team and holds many advanced certifications that make him one of the top, if not the top, boat accident investigators in the state.  For the Marine Board’s “Operation Ship Shape” during the 2018 boating season, Douglass contacted 68 boaters addressing 80 violations in a single weekend and claimed over 200 documented boating violations between Memorial Day and Labor Day.  The Marine Board is incredibly grateful to have a deputy of Douglass’ caliber, setting the standard for others. 

Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Daren Krag –Officer of the Year

The annual Officer of the Year Award is the Marine Board’s top award, selected by the Law Enforcement Advisory Group, recognizing someone with outstanding skill, attitude, and exceptional service to Oregon’s boaters over the last 12 months. 

Dep. Daren Krag, of the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office, is a renowned Boating Under the Influence (BUII) detection expert.  Krag is also an educator, an excellent instructor and boat operator, and is beyond dedicated to the cause of boating safety. 

As a corporal of the Marine Unit, Krag is responsible for all the administrative tasks as well as the job of Marine Deputy. His interactions with the public are charismatic.  Most citizens he contacts – even those he arrests – will tell you he is a great guy, fair, honest and caring.

Daren’s program consistently ranks at the top for boater contacts.  Most noteworthy, Krag averages well over half of all BUII arrests in the state, and during the 2018 season was nationally recognized for his specific contributions to the region to ensure the waterways are safe for everyone.  Krag is also an instructor at the Marine Law Enforcement Academy, Drift and Jet Boat Schools, and teaches boating safety in the local schools and to community groups. The Small Boat Rescue Team, under his leadership, is an effective, efficient resource that benefits all of Klamath County.  Krag’s willingness to aid other counties with tools and equipment such as side-scan-sonar has helped families of victims find closure.  The Marine Board is indebted to the service of Deputy Krag, the example he sets for others, and the kindness he shows to everyone he encounters. 

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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 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.

Renewal Options
Renewal Options
Boat Registration Renewal Notices Coming Soon (Photo) - 11/07/18

The Oregon State Marine Board mailed approximately 75,000 boat registration renewal notices to boaters whose boat registration expires on December 31, 2018.  Each renewal notice is unique to the owner and their boat.      

Boaters have three options to renew.  The fastest option is online using the Marine Board’s online store.  After completing the transaction, boaters can print a temporary permit and go boating right away.  There is no transaction fee when using a credit or debit card online.  Other options include mailing the payment and coupon to the Marine Board or visiting a local registration agent, who will issue a temporary permit for an additional fee.

Other online services include:

  • Apply for a Boater Education Card or Replacement Card
  • Purchase Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Permits for nonmotorized boats
  • Apply for the boat’s Certificate of Title or a Replacement Title
  • Register a new boat
  • Register or renew as an Outfitter or Guide
  • Apply for a Charter Boat license

The cost to register a motorboat or sailboat 12 feet or longer is $4.50 per foot, rounded to the highest foot, plus a $5 aquatic invasive species fee.  The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention fund pays for inspection stations, decontamination equipment, inspectors, signage, and education materials.  The average boat length in Oregon is 16 feet, so the two-year registration costs $77 (including AIS fee).   

The Marine Board is funded entirely by motorized boat and sailboat registrations, motorboat fuel tax and receives federal funding to support services to boaters.  Nearly eighty-six cents of every dollar are returned to boaters in the form of law enforcement services, boat ramps, restrooms (floating and land-based), parking, boarding floats, facilities engineering/design services, and boating education outreach.

Access the online store directly at www.boatoregon.com/store.

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Attached Media Files: Renewal Options
The new boat launch at Rainbow Plaza on the Umpqua River in Reedsport, OR.
The new boat launch at Rainbow Plaza on the Umpqua River in Reedsport, OR.
Marine Board's Cycle One Boating Facility Grant Applications Being Accepted (Photo) - 10/31/18

Grant applications are being accepted beginning November 1, through March 1, 2019, for the 2019-2021 Cycle One Boating Facilities funding from the Marine Board.  Grants are available to public bodies such as cities, counties, and state and federal agencies that own and operate boating access facilities, used by recreational boaters, who are seeking financial assistance to improve access to Oregon’s waterways. 

The Marine Board awards more than $5 million biennially for boating facility improvements.  Since 2001, the agency has awarded $44 million in facility grants throughout Oregon.  These grants are funded from motorboat title and registration fees and marine fuel tax revenue. 

Boating facility grant applications are awarded three times during a two-year biennium based on available funding.  The Cycle One funding allocates 70% of the available boating facilities resources and focuses on projects that can be completed within the biennium.  This includes property acquisition, construction within the in-water windows, and permitting for replacing boat ramps, boarding docks, repaving or redesigning parking lots or sanitation renovations.  The Marine Board’s Boating Facility staff help grant recipients through every step of the project concept, design/engineering, permitting, surveying, and inspections of any given project, often times saving time and money for the facility provider. Cycle One grants are intended for multi-faceted boating facility improvements with a medium to high level of complexity.  Applications are being accepted November 1, through March 1, 2019, and regardless of the scope of the project, this is the best time to apply. 

Cycle Two allocates 20% of the available boating facilities budget and is designated for smaller facility improvements that can be completed within a year or less.  Cycle Three allocates 10% of the available funding to factor in previously-awarded grants with unexpected cost increases, or emergency situations.  This funding cycle is dependent upon successful completion of other projects and available revenue. 

Prospective applicants are encouraged to download an application and review resources online, including the Boating Facilities Grant Procedure Guide.  Visit http://bit.ly/2SlJURJ for more information.

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New Marine Board Member, Craig Withee
New Marine Board Member, Craig Withee
Bend Boater Joins the Marine Board (Photo) - 10/26/18

The Oregon State Marine Board welcomes new member, Craig Withee, who represents recreational boaters in central Oregon. 

Withee is a retired Civil Engineer who relocated to Bend in 2013 after spending over 30 years of his professional career in Alaska.  After becoming a paraplegic from a car accident in 1969, Withee completed his college education with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering in 1973 and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering in 1975 from the University of Colorado.  His 38-year professional career was spent in Facilities Engineering, operations, and management for the Department of Army and the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Throughout his life, Withee has maintained a love for the outdoors, especially for boating, cruising, fishing, and hunting.  He’s owned and operated many motorized and non-motorized boats in lakes, rivers and the ocean, including Alaska bush country, busy ocean harbors, and large river drainages.  Withee’s outdoor enthusiasm has continued into retirement with boating on the high lakes and rivers in Central Oregon and the coastal communities in Reedsport, Florence, and Newport.  Most of his outdoor experiences have included his wheelchair, which has not hampered his pursuit for life and adventure.

Withee says, “Whether it was floating remote waters, jet boating whitewater rapids, or cruising in a bay, boating has always provided me with challenges, serenity, camaraderie, and fulfillment over the years.  Life for me would have been incomplete if those opportunities were not available.”

Member Withee’s term begins in October and ends on June 30, 2021. 

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Marine Board Opens Rulemaking, Takes New Approach on Wakes - 10/25/18

On October 22, the Marine Board met in Coos Bay, OR and held a work session to discuss boat wakes. The Board heard invited testimony and from staff in an effort to better understand concerns from industry, recreational boaters, and homeowners pertaining to safety and impacts from wave-generating boating activities.

The Board held their quarterly Board meeting on October 23, and approved opening rulemaking on several agenda items, took no action on other items, approved the repeal of rules for Insurance and Duplication Fees (OAR 250-010-0315), and approved adopting rules for Outfitter Guides (OAR 250, Division 016).  

The Board approved opening rulemaking for the following items and will seek written public comment upon filing with the Secretary of State’s Office:

  • Boat Operations on Turner Lake in Marion County (OAR 250-020-0259);
  • Marine Sanitation Devices (OAR 250-010-0750) and related marine sanitation device rules of  OAR 250-010-0010; 250-020-0031; 250-020-0091; 250-020-0161 and 250-020-0014;
  • Boat Operations on the Willamette River in Clackamas County (OAR 250-020-0032;
  • Boat Operations on the Willamette River in Yamhill and Marion Counties – Local Rules Newberg Pool (OAR 250-020-0385);
  • Boat Operations Marion and Yamhill Counties (Champoeg Pageant) (OAR 250-020-0263).

The Board took no action on the proposed statewide rules for Wake Sport Operations (OAR 250-010-0026) and Definitions (OAR 250-010-0010) which defined wake sport terms and established operational distance prohibitions.  The Board did not amend or repeal any associated stand-alone local waterway rules.

Instead, the Board directed staff to convene a collaborative rules advisory committee to evaluate wakes and wave energy in relation to the proximity of other boats, property, and the shoreline.  The Board also opened rulemaking for the Willamette River in the Newberg Pool area and instructed staff to use the compromised plan developed jointly by homeowners and industry as a starting point.  Concurrently, the Board asked staff to expand their outreach and collaborative advisory committees to address issues specific to the Portland Metro area and Multnomah Channel in order to balance safety for all waterway users. 

 To view the materials presented at the Board meeting, visit https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/info/Pages/Board-and-Public-Meetings.aspx.

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