Boating -There’s Something for Everyone, Places to Go

Motorboats, kayaks, canoes, rafts, stand up paddleboards, sailboats, personal watercraft -there’s a boat out there for anyone that can connect you to the water.

The Oregon State Marine Board invites boaters to experience some of the improved boating facilities around the state, such as the John Day boat ramp in Clatsop County, the Port of Garibaldi, or Roger’s Landing on the Willamette River. Looking for more secluded locations? With the click of a mouse, you can find a boat ramp and a waterbody near you, from the Marine Board’s interactive boating access map.

Earthen dam, coastal fork willamette river, waterway obstructions, hazards, marine board, lane county sheriff's office, Bald Knob Land and Timber

Earthen dam on the Coastal Fork Willamette River that’s normally submerged during regular flows.

“Boat ramps and boarding floats are designed and built to rise and fall with varying water levels,” says Ashley Massey, Public Information Officer for the Marine Board. “Low water conditions don’t necessarily mean that boating will be limited, but it does mean that boaters need to do their homework and plan ahead. Be sure to check the Marine Board’s Boating Access page for links to river gauges, reservoir levels, weather and locations for low water ramps.” Massey adds, “Also be prepared for cozy conditions, because less water will mean tighter quarters for all recreationists. Remember to be courteous, dust off your knowledge about the rules-of-the-road, and start out slow. There may be submerged objects that weren’t visible before, so keep a sharp lookout.”

The U.S. Coast Guard’s 2014 Recreational Boating Statistics, reveal that national boating fatalities that year totaled 610 — the second lowest number of boating fatalities on record.

Boating safety advocates, including the Marine Board, attribute this decline to increased boater education in many states, life jacket wear and abstaining from consuming intoxicating substances while boating.

“The take-home message is to wear a properly fitting life jacket, designed for the activity you’re doing,” Massey adds. “The waterways will still be cold and combining cold water with hot air temperature and strong currents makes wearing a life jacket the best decision you can make.”

The Marine Board recommends boaters play it safe by:

  • Leaving alcohol at home or on the shore. Instead, take along a variety of non-alcoholic beverages and plenty of water.  Marijuana and other intoxicating substances can lead to a BUII arrest.
  • Know the waterway and plan ahead. Visit the Marine Board’s boating access page to learn about reservoir levels, river volumes, and the locations of known navigation obstructions.
  • If you are feeling fatigued, take a break on land and return to the water when you are re-energized and alert. Wind, glare, and wave motion contribute to fatigue.
  • Operators and passengers should wear properly fitting life jackets. Learn more about life jacket types, styles and legal requirements. Anyone rafting on Class III Whitewater Rivers is required to wear a life jacket, and all children 12 and under when a boat is underway.
  • In Oregon, all boaters must now take a boating safety course and carry a boater education card when operating a powerboat greater than 10 horsepower. The Marine Board also offers a free, online Paddling course for boaters new to the activity.
  • Never boat alone –especially when paddling.

For more information about safe boating in Oregon, visit

“Boat safe, Boat Oregon!”

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Picture above: New boarding floats being installed at the John Day

Oregon campgrounds open for Memorial weekend, but some reservoir levels very low  -Oregonian, Terry Richard

Newly Reported Obstructions -Siltcoos and Willamette Rivers

Google map indicating the area where the Siltcoos River is obstructed.

Google map indicating the area where the Siltcoos River is obstructed.

Siltcoos River Below Tyee Campground Boat Ramp

A fir tree has fallen and blocks the river bank-to-bank with limbs obstructing navigation.  The Lane County Marine Patrol are seeking a contractor to help mitigate this obstruction so boaters can safely pass through.  The obstruction is just below the Tyee Campground Boat Ramp.  Click on the image to enlarge the map.  You can make out the boat ramp where “Tyee” is written on the road of the image.




Be careful launching at the Wallace Marine Boat Ramp -a large line intersects the end of the ramp.

Be careful launching at the Wallace Marine Boat Ramp -a large line intersects the end of the ramp.

A line from is attached to the existing obstruction underwater (that’s been there since last fall) and leads to the bank, up the hillside.  Currently, the line is intersecting the boat ramp and is near the surface of the water, so boaters need to have their trim tab high (motor up) far enough to not become entangled.  Use caution when launching.

The obstruction is scheduled to be removed on Wednesday, May 13, prior to the Willamette Queen being returned to the water.

Have a great weekend out on the water!

Slow-No Wake, Waterway Markers, & New VDS Rules

Marine Board Approves Grant, Other Rules

Picture of a wave with white water.

5 MPH and “Maximum” references to Slow-No Wake in the Basic Proximity Rule and other rules, have been removed out of OAR 250.

The Oregon State Marine Board approved a grant to help fund projects for the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps (OYCC) and adopted rules for slow –no wake and waterway markers during their April 21-22 Board meetings, held in Salem.

The Board approved a grant to OYCC to train, hire, and assign 22 youths to enhance 23 boating facilities in four counties. Additionally, the crews will be involved in Adopt-A-River cleanup projects and receive training on boating safety-related projects. The Board approved $40,000 in state boater funds, combined with $28,692 in applicant matching funds for a project total of $70,692.

After more than a year of consultation with law enforcement partners, a Rules Review Committee and comments from boaters, the Board adopted the proposed definition of “slow-no wake,” which removes the 5 MPH and “maximum” reference where it appears in conjunction with “slow-no wake” in the Basic Proximity Rule, Local and Special Rules and the Scenic Waterways.

The universal slow-no-wake buoy and regulatory waterway marker

Slow-No Wake means operating a boat at the slowest speed necessary to maintain steerage and reduces or eliminates waves that appear as white water behind the boat.

The Board also initiated the rulemaking process to consider rules in OAR 250, Division 021, Personal Watercraft Rules, that removes the reference to 5 MPH as it occurs with “slow-no wake,” and improve the general rule language for readability of the rules.

The Board adopted rules in OAR 250, Division 10, to formalize a Waterway Marker Permit Program, which will inventory existing markers on Oregon’s waterways. Additionally, the rules define how the agency, its partners, and private individuals can apply and place their own regulatory and informational markers for boat operation.

The Board adopted OAR 250-010-0164, Visual Distress Signals to create consistency between state and federal law, requiring visual distress signals in the ocean or coastal waters, and on the Columbia River, west of the Astoria-Megler Bridge.

Additionally, the Board initiated the rulemaking process to consider rules in OAR 250, Division 011, 012 and 013, relating to Inland Navigation Rules, and Lights and Shapes, to be consistent with recent changes in federal law.

The Marine Board is funded by registration fees and marine fuel taxes paid by boaters. No general fund tax dollars are used to support the agency or its programs. Boater-paid fees go back to boaters in the form of law enforcement services (on-the-water enforcement, training and equipment), education/outreach materials and boating access facilities.

To view the staff report, visit

Marine Board Approves Grant for Oregon Youth Conservation Corps

Picture of a 4-person OYCC crew restriping a boating facility's parking lot.

An OYCC crew restriping a boating facility’s parking lot.

The Oregon State Marine Board approved a grant to help fund the Oregon Youth Conservation Corps summer projects during their April 22nd Board meeting, held in Salem.The grant will fund boating facilities projects in Clatsop, Columbia, Josephine, and Lane Counties at the following locations:

  • Clatsop County
    • Hammond Marina -dock repairs, painting fence and railings, install new signage.
    • Warrenton Marina –dock repairs, restripe parking area, install new signage.
    • John Day County Park –restripe parking area and clean landscaping by the restroom.
  • Columbia County
    • North and South Sand Island Marine Park –repair short term tie-up docks, replace walers and rub strip, refurbish existing benches, install new benches, rehabilitate existing camping sites and install signage.
  • Josephine County
    • Chinook Park, Schroeder Park, Hog Creek, Griffin, Almeda, Indian Mary, Ennis Riffle, Pierce Riffle –paint restrooms, stripe parking lots and clear vegetation around ramps and restrooms.
    • Whitehorse Park –repair potholes, paint speedbumps on the access road and clear vegetation.
    • Robertson Bridge –paint restroom and stripe parking lot.
  • Lane County
    • Baker Bay, Orchard Point, Perkins Peninsula, Richarson Park –repair docks.
    • Rodakowski, Richardson Park, Hendricks Wayside and Linslaw –paint restrooms and curbing.
    • Farnham, Triangle Lake and Tidewater –restore picnic tables.

Since 1996, the Marine Board has partnered with OYCC to provide funding for youth to perform meaningful work at boating facilities and learn valuable job skills/work ethics that benefit boaters.

For more information about the Marine Board’s Boating Facilities Program and the current boating facilities projects, visit

A picture of one of OYCC's youth, installing friction shingles to wooden boarding floats to prevent slippage.

One of OYCC’s youth, installing friction shingles to wooden boarding floats to prevent slippage.

Irrigon Park District to Hold Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony for New Ramp April 25

The Irrigon Park and Recreation District is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 25 beginning at 9 am, for the facelift Irrigon Marina received during the Marine Board’s Round One grant cycle in 2013.

The Irrigon Park and Recreation District replaced the boat ramp and boarding floats, replaced old piles with new ones, and repaired the maneuvering area.  The new ramp is concrete, with two lanes, new steel pilings, and aluminum boarding floats.

New, two-lane concrete ramp with aluminum boarding floats in Irrigon, OR on the Columbia River.

New, two-lane concrete ramp with aluminum boarding floats in Irrigon, OR on the Columbia River.

The Park and Recreation District provided $16,059 of in-kind contributions and $25,000 cash for the project.  The Marine Board provided $300,000 in state boater funds, combined with $75,000 in Sport Fish Restoration funds (administered by ODFW) for a project total of $416,059.  The facility also has a new pumpout and dump station for boaters to use.

The Marine Board staff appreciates all of the hard work and cooperation provided by the Park District staff, particularly Tammy Reid and Burrell Cooley.

OSMB also thanks the US Army Corps of Engineers for supporting the project and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife and the US Fish & Wildlife Service who provided a substantial portion of the funds needed to build these boating facilities.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service provided federal Sport Fish Restoration funds that ODFW contributed. These funds come from federal taxes on motorboat fuel, boat motors, and fishing equipment, which are paid by boaters and anglers. The state funds contributed by the Marine Board come from state taxes on motorboat fuel and boat registrations paid by recreational boaters. So this facility is funded largely by the people who will continue to enjoy using it for years to come.

It’s time to go play on the Columbia River in Eastern Oregon!

Irrigon Park District's New Boarding Floats

Irrigon Park District’s New Boarding Floats



Marine Board Seeks Public Comment on Statewide Rules for Slow–No Wake, Waterway Markers


Written public comments will be accepted until the end of a public hearing on April 21, at 6 pm. Oral testimony will be accepted during the hearing. Weigh in on whether a speed limit should be attached to Slow -No Wake definition, and how OSMB should handle waterway markers. The Marine Board is expected to convene a Board meeting and make a decision on the proposed rules.

Originally posted on Boat Oregon!:

Universal Slow-No Wake Sign Universal Slow-No Wake Sign

The Oregon State Marine Board is accepting written public comment beginning April 1, through April 21, on proposed rulemaking for Slow–No Wake and Waterway Markers. Staff will host a public hearing on April 21, 2015, at 6:00 pm, at the Marine Board Office, 435 Commercial Street NE, in Salem. Following the close of the hearing, the Marine Board will convene a Board meeting to discuss the proposed rules. The Board may make a motion to adopt, amend, not adopt, or take some other action with regard to the proposed rules.

The proposed rulemaking to OAR Chapter 250 will add a definition of “slow–no wake,”  amend the basic rule to comply with the definition, and amend the local and special area rules to standardize the rule language and remove the reference to “maximum” and “5 mph” in relation to slow-no wake speed.

The proposed rulemaking for waterway…

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Early Boating Safety Reminders for Open Water

On 4-12-15, paddlers Mandy Walkley and Jacob Austin lost their lives on Dungeness Bay (WA) when the weather quickly turned and their canoes capsized.

On 4-12-15, paddlers Mandy Walkley and Jacob Austin lost their lives on Dungeness Bay (WA) when the weather quickly turned and their canoes capsized.

WA Canoe Fatalities -ACA Interview on being prepared -Chris Spec

The Oregon State Marine Board, American Canoe Association, and Washington State Parks reminds boaters to do three important things this time of year if you plan to head out onto open waters:

1.  Wear a properly fitting life jacket for your activity.  Paddling-specific life jackets are available and provide enough buoyancy to keep your head and chest above the water.  There are many designs and styles that do not restrict movement.  The old “Mae West” horse collar style are long gone.

2. Expect to get wet.  Planning for the weather and being prepared makes a difference.  Prepare for the water temperature, NOT the air temperature.  When boating in open water or a large waterbody, the wind and conditions can change instantly, so wear a wet suit or dry suit in addition to your life jacket.  Cold water immersion is the number one cause for boating-related fatalities in the Pacific Northwest.

3.  Always paddle in pairs or in a group.  Also, have a whistle attached to your life jacket so you can signal members in your party where you are, in case you get separated.

We want you to have a wonderful experience out on the water.  It’s an amazing way to connect with nature, with your spirit, and get exercise.  Investing in proper gear is worth every penny…for the comfort and a more enjoyable time on the water.  Boat Safe.  Be prepared.  Plan ahead. 



Presumed Japanese Tsunami Boat Apprehended At-Sea -Story from Lincoln Co. News

Partially submerged derelict boat located 2 miles off Seal Rock in Lincoln County, reported on April 9, 2015

Partially submerged derelict boat located 2 miles off Seal Rock in Lincoln County, reported on April 9, 2015

A derelict fishing boat was spotted earlier today about two miles off Seal Rock. Thinking it is a tsunami damaged boat, agents from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State Police and Hatfield Marine Science Center motored out to inspect it.

When they arrived they realized the boat, which was covered with seaweed and algae, was broken in two. Only the bow area of the 50-footer was intact. And inside were fish tanks with yellow-tails in it – believed to have grown from larvae – which means they were in there for quite a while.

As for identifying the boat, investigators say they’re pretty sure it’s Japanese – possibly from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. They say there are no definitive markings visible on the boat.

After a preliminary inspection of the boat remnants, HMSC Invasive Species researcher Dr. John Chapman determined that compared to earlier Japanese earthquake debris, this piece of debris was notably free of exotic species. As a result Port of Newport officials have volunteered to temporarily store the debris so that Chapman and his team can meticulously inspect the rest of it for any invasive species. Once that’s complete, what is left of the boat will be transported to a landfill and buried. The surviving Yellowtail fish are being donated to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Dr. Chapman says there is still an awful lot of 2011 Japanese Tsunami debris still spinning around in the gyres of the north Pacific. He said when strong southwesterly winds blow, the winds push debris circulating in those gyres toward the northeast and onto the shores of the western U.S.

In 2011, the Marine Board’s director, Scott Brewen, was appointed to lead an “At-Sea” subcommittee as part of the 2011 Governor’s Task Force on Tsunami Debris.  The agency was contacted early on and activated the At-Sea plan to prevent the boat from coming ashore.  Details are still being worked out on the best methods of containing any invasive species and removing the boat without causing any contamination to our waters.  More news to come as this story develops…

Article from Oregon Herald 4/9/15

Article from China Topix

Article from

Article from KPTV

The Japanese boat was removed from the water, pumped out, and dismantled on Monday, April 13, 2015.  The fish are in quarantine for a month and will later be added to the main tank at the Newport Aquarium.



Close Call Near Tou Velle State Park on the Rogue

A drift boat on the banks of the Rogue River in Jackson County

A drift boat on the banks of the Rogue River in Jackson County

Rogue River Guardians -Video Courtesy of the Medford Mail Tribune

Deputy Jason Denton takes the Medford Mail Tribune on a ride to show where three drift boaters had a close call on the Rogue River near Bear Creek.  Thankfully, all are SAFE, thanks to the Marine Patrol being at the right place at the right time, homeowner Vic Olsen aiding in the search for one of the boaters, and the observant patron who made the initial call into the Sheriff’s office when he saw debris floating in the river.

If your boat capsizes, remember to float on your back with your legs pointing downstream and don’t fight the current.  Use your arms as oars, and slowly maneuver to the bank.  Another tip is to carry your cell phone in a water-tight container like a DryPak.  Also, wear your life jacket.  It will help keep your head and chest out of the water, and give you the ability to gather your senses after the initial cold water shock.

Accidents can, and do happen.  Experience Oregon’s Waterways, and Play it Safe!