Oregon State Marine Board
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News Releases
Obstructions on the Siletz River, several downed trees at a river bend
Obstructions on the Siletz River, several downed trees at a river bend
Scout Ahead and Keep a Sharp Lookout for Obstructions (Photo) - 04/18/24

Heavy wind and rain from winter storms cause trees to plunge into Oregon rivers. Trees become obstructions, a risk for all boaters, including paddlers, rafters, and drift boats. Some of these obstructions will become more dangerous as river levels drop, requiring boats to portage around the obstructions for safe navigation.

“We urge every boater to plan ahead. River conditions can change daily which is why checking river levels is critical. Always look downstream as you navigate allowing time to react and maneuver to the safest course,” says Brian Paulsen, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Marine Board.

The Marine Board urges the following precautions:

  • Visit the Marine Board’s Boating Obstructions Dashboard to view reported obstructions.
  • Learn about and how to report obstructions you encounter while boating.
  • Scout ahead and look for the safest route for each section of the river before committing. When in doubt, portage out.
  • Stay clear of partially submerged trees and limbs. Strong currents can quickly carry you in, potentially leading to capsizing and entrapment.
  • Wear a life jacket. Oregon’s waterways are cold year-round. Boaters are encouraged to wear a properly fitting life jacket and to dress for the water temperature, not the air temperature.
  • If you’re using a Stand Up Paddleboard, be sure to wear a quick-release leash on moving water, especially in rivers where obstructions are present so you can disconnect from the board if you are drawn into one.
  • Boat with others and stay within sight of one another. Do not separate far from one another so you can respond quickly to help.
  • Know your limits and how to self-rescue. Be sure your skills and experience are equal to the river difficulty and the conditions.
  • Fill out a float plan and let others know where you are boating and when to expect your return.

Visit Boat.Oregon.gov for everything you need to know about recreational boating in Oregon.

MLEA2023.png
MLEA2023.png
Annual Marine Law Enforcement Academy Training on Lake Billy Chinook (Photo) - 04/16/24

The Oregon State Marine Board will conduct its annual marine law enforcement training on Lake Billy Chinook in Jefferson County between April 22 and May 3. This intensive training is designed for new or seasonal marine law enforcement officers to train them in boating laws, boat handling and water safety fundamentals. 

“Oregon has huge a diversity in waterways for boaters, making it imperative that Oregon’s Marine Law Enforcement Officers are well trained and “at the ready” to help in their time of need,” said Edward Persichetti, Marine Law Enforcement Training Coordinator for the Marine Board. 

Throughout this intense, nine-day marine academy, a broad range of skills are developed that help officers save lives and promote safe boating. Persichetti added, “We’ve been returning to Jefferson County for several years and are grateful for the community’s hospitality. The Madras Aquatic Center and the amenities on Lake Billy Chinook are first rate, and the environment allows us to cover a variety of scenarios the officers may encounter around the state on their patrols.” 

The training includes accident investigation, boating under the influence (BUII) detection and apprehension, as well as other types of boater compliance with equipment, boating safety education cards, or waterway access permits. Students will develop their basic boat-handling skills and participate in real-world scenarios emphasizing safety, courtesy, enforcement tactics, and accident prevention.

The marine academy is hosted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office along with highly skilled deputies from around the state, taking an active role as instructors. 

Learn more about the Marine Board’s law enforcement partnerships with 31 county Sheriff’s Offices and the Oregon State Police. 

 

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Marine Board Meeting April 23, 24 in Astoria - 04/15/24

The Oregon State Marine Board will convene its quarterly meeting in Astoria on April 24, 2024. The meeting will be held at the Astoria Public Library Flag Room, 450 10th Street, beginning at 8:30 am. Preceding the board meeting, agency staff and board members will take a boating facility tour of nearby access, first visiting the recently completed Westport Park mixed-use boating facility and ending with the Columbia River Maritime Museum. 

The Board agenda includes the following items:

  • Director’s Report
  • Key Performance Measures (KPMs) Update for the Legislature
  • Agency Budget Overview
  • Legislative Concepts
  • Facility Grants for Board Approval

Grant No.

Applicant

Project Scope

1729 

 Bend Park & Recreation District 

 Miller's Landing nonmotorized launch & ADA access 

1730 

 City of Tigard 

 Cook Park boarding dock replacement 

1731 

 Port of Bandon 

 Port restroom and shower 

1732 

 Port of Columbia County 

 Scappoose Bay ADA paddlecraft launching dock 

1733 

 Oregon State Parks 

 Mongold boarding dock replacement 

1734 

 Jackson County 

 Emigrant Lake West boarding dock replacement 

1735 

 City of St. Helens 

 Courthouse Dock short-term tie-up dock repairs 

Public comments for this meeting will be accepted in writing or by attending the public comment portion at the beginning of the hybrid meeting. To provide oral testimony, register with Jennifer Cooper no later than 5 pm on April 21, 2024. Public comments will also be accepted in writing until the end of the day on April 21, 2024. Register to speak or send written comments to jennifer.cooper@boat.oregon.gov or by U.S. Mail to Oregon State Marine Board, Attn: Jennifer Cooper, 435 Commercial St NE Ste 400 Salem, OR 97301. 

To view the agenda and board materials and for a link to the meeting live stream, visit the agency’s Public Meetings page. Meetings are conducted using Microsoft Teams and viewing may require the installation of a free Teams app for mobile devices.

 

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Graphic of a waterway access permit on a phone with a QR code to the Marine Board's online store
Graphic of a waterway access permit on a phone with a QR code to the Marine Board's online store
Got Your Waterway Access Permit? (Photo) - 04/02/24

The Oregon State Marine Board’s Waterway Access Permit Program has entered the fifth year of implementation; however, compliance is still low compared to other boating requirements.

In 2019, the Oregon Legislature approved the waterway access permit program with the intent of having the Marine Board use the funding for improving nonmotorized access and increase paddling education opportunities in underserved communities. Since the program’s implementation in 2020, the agency has approved more than $2.7 million in Waterway Access Grants (WAG). Boaters can see detailed information about grant funded projects on the Marine Board’s Grant History Dashboard

Anyone who recreates on Oregon’s waterways with a nonmotorized stand-up paddleboard, canoe, kayak, inflatable watercraft, drift boat, or any hybrid combination with a length 10 feet and longer, needs to purchase a Waterway Access Permit and be able to provide the permit (printed copy or digital display) when approached by marine law enforcement. The permit is transferable to other nonmotorized boats and youths 14 and younger are exempt. The Marine Board also provides the option for paddling event organizers to purchase bulk 7-day permit certificates to be compliant with the law for their events.

Waterway Access Permit purchasing options through the Marine Board’s Boat Oregon Online Store include a 7-day permit for $5, an annual permit for $17, and a 2-year permit for $30. There is a $1.50 portal provider fee with each transaction. Boat rental businesses can purchase permits in bulk at a discounted rate. To use the store, simply click on Online Services, and select the permit option you’d like, then follow the prompts.

Safety is another important facet in all forms of boating and having required equipment onboard. Paddlers need to carry a properly fitting US Coast Guard-approved and readily accessible life jacket and a whistle (sound producing device). Children 12 and under must wear a life jacket while the boat is underway. It is best to always wear a life jacket while paddling. Paddlers are near the water level and capsizing risk increases. People often drown when they capsize if they are not wearing a life jacket. If paddling at night or during periods of reduced visibility, paddlers also need to display a white light source, like a flashlight. 

The Marine Board also stresses the importance of taking the time to plan ahead, learn the skills you’ll need for the waterway you plan to boat, and always communicate or write down a float plan with family and friends. Education, planning and preparation go a long way to you having a safe and enjoyable experience. 

The Marine Board also offers many resources including FREE online paddling courses to help beginners learn the basic skills and techniques to boat safe. Want to learn how to get started? Visit Boat.Oregon.gov and let your water recreation adventures begin!

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