Lake Billy Chinook Saturation Patrol Yields BUII, Other Offenses

A few things to note in this image: drinking while operating a boat and a child not wearing a life jacket. It is against Oregon boating law for an operator to be impaired and for children under 13 to not be wearing a properly fitting, US Coast Guard approved life jacket.

A few things to note in this image: drinking while operating a boat and a child not wearing a life jacket. It is against Oregon boating law for an operator to be impaired and for children under 13 to not be wearing a properly fitting, US Coast Guard approved life jacket.

Staff from the Marine Board and marine patrols from Jackson, Jefferson, Klamath, Marion, Lane and Multnomah County combined their on-water patrol efforts on Lake Billy Chinook during the weekend of August 7-8, which resulted in improved safety and “education through enforcement.”

Lake Billy Chinook is a popular destination for Oregon natives and out-of-state boaters as well. The nearly-guaranteed perfect weather and boating conditions attract boaters, and with the added bonus of having a plethora of open operating space, many boaters forget the basic rules and responsibilities when operating with other recreationists.

The coordinated effort sought compliance for safety equipment, safe operation, and sober boating. The efforts paid off, and for many, the lesson was costly.

During the weekend, the following citations were issued:

  • Boating under the influence of intoxicants (BUII) – potential A misdemeanor violation
  • Unsafe operation (excessive speed, coming too close to other craft or floating objects)
  • Not having proper equipment for the length/type of boat (life jackets, sound producing devices, fire extinguishers
  • Non-compliance with personal watercraft operating rules (speed and proximity)
  • Lack of proper nighttime navigation lighting. Many boaters were at anchor with no lighting, and towing skiers/tubers after dusk.
  • Riding on bows, decks or gunwhales
  • Not having skier down flags or other waterskiing, surfboarding or similar activity’s safety rules
  • Not having a boater education card or aquatic invasive species permit
  • Improper display of numbers or not carrying a certificate of number (similar to a car registration).

Complying with existing laws is for everyone’s safety. Anyone operating a motorboat over 10 horse power is required to take a boating safety course and carry their boater education card when operating their boat. When renting, customers are required to complete a dockside safety checklist and all of the same operating rules apply. Rental facilities need to ensure that all customers understand what to do to be safe by going through the checklist carefully.

At the end of the weekend, 52 citations were issued, with the majority involving unsafe operation and improper lighting. It’s important that all boaters play by the rules, for safety’s sake. Fortunately, there were no reported accidents during this targeted operation.

To learn about boating regulations, visit

The Marine Board’s website also contains a flip book called,Experience Oregon Boating –Safety, Regulations and How-To’s for Fun Boating,” explaining each regulation and why it’s important. The flip-book is mobile friendly. The flip-book is also mobile friendly to easily access information at your fingertips. Other requirements, such as the boater education card and aquatic invasive species, both aim to educate boaters about safe boating behavior, which begins the minute a boat hits a parking lot in the boating facility to the time it leaves.

To view a list of fines for particular offenses, visit


Re-design Testers Wanted! Five Minute Card Sorting Exercise

website_redesignThe Marine Board is looking for participants to help “card sort” key topics for our complete website redesign.   This is a simple exercise you do on your computer or phone by grabbing and dragging “cards” and putting them into buckets that tells us where boaters look for information, if the wording makes sense and how the website should be organized.

This is your opportunity to make our website intuitive and easy to navigate!

If you can help, thank you!   We will close the card sort on August 26, 2015.
Click here to begin: OSMB’s Card Sorting Exercise

Mobile friendly version:

Learn more about card sorting:

How long does it take to build a boat ramp?

Flow chart timeline to building/repairing a boat ramp.

Flow chart timeline to building/repairing a boat ramp.

I bet you’ve even wondered why it seems to take “forever” to replace a boat ramp or if your concern went in one ear and out the other (which it doesn’t!).   But did you know that the average boat ramp project takes nearly three and a half years to complete?

Replacing a boat ramp takes lots of patience, planning, finances and dedication.  Before the agency can even begin talking about replacing or repairing a boat ramp, we need a facility owner who is willing to invest staff time, funding, and resources over several years.   Ideally, the facility owner needs to plan ahead for the boat ramp which generally takes five to six years before the need becomes critical or has potential of becoming a safety hazard.

The biggest hurtle in extending the timetable is the permitting process to replace a boat ramp.  There are, on average, 16 state, federal and local agencies that review and provide comments on the permit application.  With all of these eyes on an application, there are bound to be other delays.  The permit process doesn’t even include comments from other interested parties, such as the Audubon Society or Willamette Riverkeepers, who are also given an opportunity to weigh in on their opinions.

Another potential snag is getting the construction permits before the in-water work window closes.  This is a limited timeframe and is also weather-dependent.  If the in-water work window is missed, then the improvements are pushed back another year. With any luck, the permits won’t expire before the next opportunity.

In order to keep many projects moving forward while awaiting permits, upland improvements such as restroom or parking will often be completed while the boat ramp project is going through the three and a half year process. Installing restrooms doesn’t take a lot of time or resources, and this is why they are often completed before any ramp repair.  This also demonstrates to the boating public that there’s forward progress and momentum on the overall facility improvements.

Boaters can do a lot in cooperation with the Marine Board when you have a complaint or discover a boat ramp safety issue:

  • The Marine Board encourages you to contact the facility owner and let them know why repairing the boat ramp should be a priority. Remember, the first step is a willing facility owner to apply for a grant.
  • Contact the Marine Board’s Boating Facilities Program directly.  We can provide additional information and review if the facility has already been identified for improvements in the agency’s Boating Facilities 6-Year plan.
  • Send an email ( with photos, describe water conditions and your observations.  This is a tremendous help and opens the door for us to reach out to the facility owner.

We take safety seriously, whether it is improving access for you to launch, retrieve or moor your boats short-term, and even when you’re recreating on water.  From the time you enter a facility to the time you leave, it should be safe, clean, and easy.

M. James Gleason Boat Ramp on the Columbia River. This facility had four phases and took nearly 20 years to complete.

M. James Gleason Boat Ramp on the Columbia River. This facility had four phases and took nearly 20 years to complete.


Marine Board’s Clean Marina Program Expands, Facilities Re-Certify

Marine Board's Clean Marina Logo.

Marine Board’s Clean Marina Logo.

Oregon’s Clean Marina Program has grown to a flotilla of 63, but that’s just a scratch on the surface of the nearly 200 marinas that qualify for the Marine Board’s free program. The goal of the program is to incorporate as many floating homes, moorages, boat yards, yacht clubs and marinas as possible, and have them certified as “clean.” The Clean Marina designation ensures our waterways are clean for recreation and lets boaters know that facilities are doing their part to be stewards of our waters. No one wants to play in litter-filled, oil-sheened, debris-laden water, let alone store their property (boats) in it.

The program has been around for over a decade, so the Marine Board is taking the program to the next level where facilities can show how they go “above and beyond” the standard best management practices by demonstrating gold star “Leadership Activities,” that include enhancing upland areas by removing invasive plants and planting native species; mentoring a nearby facility toward Clean Marina Certification; participating in an Adopt-A-River event; or tracking an environmental aspect (such as electricity usage, safe electrical system monitoring, water usage, or solid waste generation/volume) and setting goals for facility improvement.

Three facilities were recently re-certified and expressed interest in achieving the gold star level in the future:

  • Big Eddy's fish cleaning station.

    Big Eddy’s fish cleaning station.

    Big Eddy Marina – First certified in August 2008, located on the Columbia River (19609 NE Marine Drive). The facility has 85 boat slips and 65 floating home slips. Big Eddy Marina scored a 94% on their re-certification. The facility is very clean and well-maintained. Some highlights of their practices: No fertilizer or pesticides used on their landscaping; a parking lot made of pervious material to allow water infiltration into the ground (which minimizes runoff from the parking lot directly into nearby water); use of bilge socks in the storm drain catch basins to remove any oily water from entering the ground or waterways; and a fish cleaning station and pet waste baggies provided to their customers. In addition to their standard program checklist items, the facility also does routine testing of their electrical wiring to ensure there are no leaks, corrosion, or other dangerous issues. Electrical safety is an area that may become part of future Clean Marina checklists to ensure facilities are safe, so the Big Eddy Marina is setting a new standard for all facilities.

  • Columbia Ridge Marina's flag pole displaying the Clean Marina flag.

    Columbia Ridge Marina’s flag pole displaying the Clean Marina flag.

    Columbia Ridge Marina – First certified in April 2007, located on the Columbia River (18525 NE Marine Drive). The facility has 50 floating home slips. Columbia Ridge Marina scored 100% on their re-certification visit. This facility and its tenants are great stewards of the environment, taking their status as a Clean Marina very seriously. In addition to adhering to the requirement of the Clean Marina program, Columbia Ridge encourages its residents to use non-toxic cleaners for house upkeep so nothing harmful enters the waterway. The upland areas are landscaped with native and edible plants and the parking lot design includes a bioswale drainage area that’s designed to remove silt and pollution from surface runoff water. In addition, all of the old creosote timber was removed from the facility and replaced with docks made from recycled plastic, and the lighting system in the parking lot, and around the docks, are being replaced with energy-efficient LED lighting.

  • Columbia Yacht Club's recycle center that also includes a composting and garbage area.

    Columbia Yacht Club’s recycle center that also includes a composting and garbage area.

    Oregon Yacht Club – First certified in May 2009, located on the Willamette River (6901 SE Oaks Park Way). The facility has 38 floating homes in its community. The residents of this community are also very dedicated to being good stewards of their river environment and have implemented many best practices to improve water quality beyond the Clean Marina Program requirements. Some highlights include: a well maintained upland area for garbage, recycling, and composting waste; routine monitoring and maintenance of the docks and floating homes to check for any issues, leaks, or litter; a “Going Green” guide suggesting environmentally-friendly products and actions that residents can use in their homes, gardens, and decks; oil spill response and emergency training for all residents twice a year; and installation of individual water meters for every floating home that has resulted in reducing their water usage -by half. The Oregon Yacht Club also conducted an extensive watershed re-vegetation effort, removing invasive plants from their upland areas and a habitat maintenance plan for the ecosystem in cooperation with the City of Portland who continues to monitor and preserve this area. This facility is a model that many other floating homes could benefit from.

When a facility earns the Clean Marina designation, they receive a special flag and logo to signify to boaters that the marina cares about water quality by doing their part to keep it clean. The voluntary program works to protect and improve local water quality by promoting the use of environmental practices on how to eliminate or reduce the input of polluting materials – such as oil, paint, cleaning chemicals, sewage, fish waste, and trash – into the environment. Clean Marina facilities receive free pollution prevention materials (such as a dockside oil spill response kit) and free training and technical assistance to improve their environmental performance. Each year, a Clean Marina does a self-evaluation to ensure best management practices are being implemented. Every three years the Marine Board re-certifies a Clean Marina to ensure the facility still meets the standards.

To learn more about the existing and pledged Clean Marina facilities’ profiles, visit


Paddle vs. Prop: Three Safety Tips for Stand Up Paddlers When Boats are Around

SUP enthusiasts must operate with "defensive" paddling, proper gear, and know your limits.

SUP enthusiasts must operate with “defensive” paddling, have the proper gear, and know  your physical limitations in given water conditions.

News from BoatUS…

ANNAPOLIS, Md. August 19, 2015 – When it comes to enjoying the outdoors, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) has led the nation in growth with a 38 percent increase in participation from 2013 to 2014, according to the Outdoor Foundation’s 2015 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report. But as these human-powered watercraft become more common in crowded harbors, busy waterfronts and other navigable waterways, sharing the water with both recreational boats and commercial vessels requires paddlers to up their safety game. With many of its half-million members owning both boats and paddlecraft, BoatUS offers its unique look at the issue with three easy to remember safety rules for stand up paddlers.

When is a paddleboard a boat? According to the US Coast Guard an SUP is considered a “vessel,” so it’s important to understand certain boating responsibilities. Follow all local navigation rules and use common sense when paddling around other vessels that may not be as maneuverable or are restricted by their draft or size. Generally, a paddleboard is more easily able to turn and stop whereas larger craft take time and distance to stop. Typically, it is safest to pass astern of other vessels and let them cross in front of you. Try to avoid heavy boat traffic and pick a route away from congestion.

Practice defensive paddling: Defensive paddling is preventing collisions and mishaps in spite of the actions of others around you. Remember boats may travel faster than you do and can carry a large wake. Some boats have awkward blind spots that prevent good visibility at certain trim angles so don’t assume a boater can always see you, especially at dawn or dusk. Wear bright colors and wear your life jacket with a whistle attached. Falling in, or swimming in heavily trafficked areas can lead to the start of a bad chain of events. In narrow channels stay as far right as possible and avoid crossing busy lanes. If you must, cross perpendicular to the lane so you get across quickly. If in a group, cross as a compact group – spreading out in a line like a bunch of baby ducks hinders traffic and increases the chance for a collision.

Don’t leave home without it: A life jacket is the minimum gear – but it only works if you wear it so don’t leave it strapped to the board. If you’re concerned about comfort, take a look at high-tech, low-maintenance belt-pack inflatables or the newest vest designs that offer complete freedom of movement. Add a whistle – it will always beat yelling at the top of your lungs. Avoid paddling at night, but if you must, you’ll have to show a white light in sufficient time to avoid a collision. A flashlight or headlamp meets this requirement; a glow stick does not. And finally, a safety leash is most helpful in preventing an awkward and potentially dangerous separation from your board.

If you’d like to learn more about boating safely, visit the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water at


About the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water:

The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the over half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the non-profit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America’s waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 34 free state courses – can be found at


Obstruction Near Bellinger Boat Ramp Poses Risk

Two root wads and strainers in close proximity in very shallow water with swift current near river left of the McKenzie River.

Two root wads and strainers in close proximity in very shallow water with swift current near river left of the McKenzie River.

Responding to public concern, Lane County marine patrol deputies confirmed a navigation obstruction to the Marine Board on August 10, warning boaters about two root wads with multiple strainers, located just downstream of the Bellinger Landing County Park on the McKenzie River. The obstructions are visible and located on river left from the main channel of the river.

Paddlers are advised to portage over the gravel bar on river right (heading downstream and shown in the image above), well in advance of the obstructions. The current is swift, leading less maneuverable craft directly into the root wads. For jet boat operators, the area should be avoided. The water is too shallow to safely pass the obstruction. The secondary channel north of the island (river right from Bellinger) is not passable at this time.

Due to the location and lack of surrounding land access, this obstruction cannot be mitigated at this time, but Lane County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol will continue to monitor the location and have posted warning signs at the boat ramp.

For information about reported navigation obstructions and options for boaters, visit

Google image of the proximity of the obstructions in relation to the Bellinger boat ramp on the McKenzie River.

Google image of the proximity of the obstructions in relation to the Bellinger boat ramp on the McKenzie River.


Four BUII Arrests on Lake Billy Chinook

Marine Law Enforcement patrolling Lake Billy Chinook.

Marine Law Enforcement patrolling Lake Billy Chinook.

Blame it on the hot weather, low water, who knows…but what we do know is that more people are under the influence of intoxicants this summer than the Marine Board has seen in quite a few years.  —

Culver, Ore. -The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is releasing stats from last weekend’s boating under the influence saturation patrol conducted on Lake Billy Chinook. Arrested were four persons for operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s office says it will continue actively enforcing all marine laws, including boating under the influence, in an overall effort to keep everyone safe on the water.

The Sheriff’s office also says, “This office would like to thank Multnomah, Lane, Jackson, Marion, & Klamath Counties for providing manpower for this operation as well as the Oregon State Marine Board for providing funds to allow the outside agencies to participate.”

Lake Billy Chinook is a very popular boating and vacation destination with its houseboats and other amenities nearby.  Alcohol consumption on many Oregon waterways are up, and so are accidents involving alcohol.  Other substances are also being documented, such as prescription drug use, that are involved in boating-related accidents.  So far this year, 12 people have lost their lives in recreational boating incidents, half of which involve intoxicating substances, all of the victims have been male, and 90% were not wearing a life jacket.

Expect water levels to continue to fall.  Banks are unstable, there may be steep drop off’s, and when it’s hot out, drink water for hydration, not alcoholic beverages.  Twelve fatalities are way too many.  Every life matters.

Power loading -NOT a good boating practice

Power loading is when a boater remains in their boat and keeps the motor trim low to “power” the boat onto the trailer, vs. using a bow line and the boarding dock to “walk and guide” the boat onto the trailer.  Power loading may be faster, but it’s costly and impacts everyone who uses the boat ramp.

Here’s what happens:

Power loading causes damage to the toe of the boat ramp that requires costly repairs and may damage your trailer.

Power loading causes damage to the toe of the boat ramp that requires costly repairs and may damage your trailer.

When the toe of a boat ramp is undermined, it compromises the integrity of the ramp itself, causing damage to the rebar and other material on the ramp.  This can cause boat ramps to be shut down, as is the case for Clackamette Park, in Clackamas County.  In many cases, the boat ramp requires a complete rebuild that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And these are boater dollars that come from registration and titling fees.  So it really behooves all boaters to protect “their” investment, and take the extra 5 minutes to properly load their boat onto the boat trailer.

Boat-Ed study guide about power loading -with short, 22 second video.

Photo showing the damage to the toe of the boat ramp in 2013 and the subsequent damage to the concrete framing., rendering the boat ramp to be closed for safety purposes.

Photo showing the damage to the toe of the boat ramp in 2013 and the subsequent damage to the concrete framing., rendering the boat ramp to be closed for safety purposes.

New PWC Water Rescue and Response Training in Oregon

Here’s a new video (courtesy of Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office) on some exciting new water-rescue training.

PWC Rescue Training, July 22, 2015, on the Willamette River. Training hosted by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, in partnership with OSMB.

PWC Rescue Training, July 22, 2015, on the Willamette River. Training hosted by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with OSMB.

On July 22, the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) to provide a day of training on the Willamette River. Local law enforcement agencies came to train on personal water crafts (PWCs) for patrol and rescue operations.

This training is new to the state, developed and organized by OSMB and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. It enhances marine patrol’s water-rescue and patrol response.

Participants focused on operating the PWC’s in various water conditions, including strong current and white water. They then advanced to riding with one or two passengers and performing rescues — picking up victims in the water while still maintaining control of their PWCs.

Some of the PWC’s are equipped with rescue boards, a floating platform attached to the back of the PWC. These were originally designed for use in the ocean but have been a great asset when performing rescues on our local waterways.

This is the second class so far this year, and included students from the Multnomah and Clark County Sheriff’s Offices.

The Willamette River in Clackamas County provides a great training location and variable water conditions, including strong current and deep white water.

Clackamas County and OSMB hope to continue hosting classes to train law enforcement from all around the region.

Next time you see a PWC on the water, it could be local law enforcement on patrol — ready to step into action for someone in need.

Fishing for Salmon on the Columbia?

Before you go for the Chinook, check out the Coast Guard’s newly revised Columbia River Bar Chartlette

This publication can be printed or referenced from your mobile device.

Also check the Coast Guard’s Bar Camera and bar restrictions.  Tune into 1610 AM (or channel 16 VHF marine radio) for NOAA weather broadcasts and other safety info so you can catch some fish AND have a boating experience to remember!

Page 2 with NOAA chart and areas to avoid, highlighted.

Page 2 with NOAA chart and areas to avoid, highlighted.