Marine Board to Hold Special Board Meeting March 12 in Salem


The Oregon State Marine Board will hold a special meeting at the Marine Board Office, 435 Commercial St. NE, in Salem at 1 pm on March 12. The meeting is being called to review and discuss draft language for cautionary buoy placement procedures, waterway markers and slow-no wake rules. These items were originally going to be discussed during the January 7, 2015, Board work session but were postponed.

In addition, the Board will initiate a discussion on its need to engage and solicit information from agency partners on dredging projects and funding options.

The meeting is accessible for persons with disabilities. For a communication aid request or agenda questions, please contact June LeTarte, Executive Assistant, at 503-378-2617 by Monday, March 9.

To view the agenda and staff report, visit

Marine Board Seeks Public Comment on Visual Distress Signals

Boat Oregon visual distress signals.

Boat Oregon visual distress signals.

The Oregon State Marine Board has opened rulemaking to require boats operating in coastal waters to carry U.S. Coast Guard –approved visual distress signals, including those waters directly connected to the ocean, up to a point where the waterway is less than two nautical miles wide (mouth of the Columbia River).

Adoption of this rule, OAR 250-010-0164, would establish the state requirement for visual distress signals in coast waters consistent with Federal equipment requirements, and is required through the U. S. Coast Guard grant agreement with Oregon.

Written comments may be submitted by March 31, 2015 by 5 pm and can be submitted via email to  or by U.S. mail to: June LeTarte, Administrative Rules Coordinator, 435 Commercial Street NE, Suite 400, P.O. Box 14145, Salem, OR 97309-5056.  Comments via telephone will not be accepted.

To view the proposed language, visit

Marine Board to Hold Non-Motorized External Advisory Committee Meeting in Salem

The Oregon State Marine Board’s external non-motorized boating advisory committee will be meeting on March 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Marine Board office, 435 Commercial St. NE, in Salem.

An Oregon paddler...

An Oregon paddler…

The advisory committee is comprised of a wide variety of stakeholders, from organized clubs to private citizens from around the state. The non-motorized boating external advisory committee will be discussing recommendations to the Marine Board on how to best engage and incorporate non-motorized boaters into the future mission of the agency and meet the ever-evolving needs of all boating user groups.

The public is invited to attend, however, comments will not be accepted at this meeting. The meeting is accessible for persons with disabilities. Persons needing some form of assistance to participate in this meeting due to a disability should contact Ashley Massey at 503-378-2623 by Friday, March 6, 2015.

Boaters and Ethanol: BoatUS Says New Law Would Fix Renewable Fuel Standard

BoatUS Urges Boaters to Speak Up Now


Trailered boats most often fuel at regular gas stations where E-10 blended gasoline is the new fuel standard to reduce carbon emissions.

 Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is urging recreational boaters to contact their Representatives to support the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015.

WASHINGTON, DC, February 4, 2015 – New bipartisan legislation introduced today would help ensure recreational boaters don’t put unsafe fuel in their boats, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), with 30 co-sponsors introduced the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015. BoatUS is urging all boaters to contact their US Representative to support the bill. “The new bill would recognize the failure of the current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its out of date ethanol-mandate, and make the necessary changes so there is a safe fuel for all gasoline powered engines,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Program Manager Nicole Palya Wood.
According to Wood, BoatUS supports the bill because, “The RFS Reform Act acknowledges the reality of America’s declining fuel consumption, allows for the investment in other more compatible biofuels, and erases the twisted math that forces more ethanol onto a marketplace that neither demands it, nor can physically absorb it at safe levels.”
Currently, there are no marine engines in the US warrantied to run on any gasoline blend greater than 10% ethanol (E10). According to AAA, only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today are approved to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey conducted by AAA of auto manufacturers. Any damage from the use of higher ethanol fuels (E15 or greater) in cars and trucks will void many manufacturers’ warranties.
When the RFS was written in 2005, it assumed that Americans’ gasoline use would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels to be blended with our fuel. However, since 2005, gasoline usage has actually dropped steadily. The unintended affect is now the law that forces more ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply, and to maintain adherence with the RFS rules, in 2010 the EPA permitted fuel containing up to 15% ethanol (E15) into the marketplace – a fuel many gasoline engines cannot use.
It is illegal to use E15 in boat engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, small engines such as lawnmowers and leaf blowers as well as any vehicle made before 2001. However, this fuel can now be found at over 100 gas stations in 16 states at the same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline.
The potential for mis-fueling is significant. In the US, nine out of every ten boaters own a trailerable boat that is most often filled up at a roadside gas station. Additionally, these higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuels at the pump.
The new bill would cap the ethanol requirements at E10 (10 percent ethanol), would effectively prohibit the use of corn-based ethanol in the RFS, require more advanced biofuels and take into account actual, real-world production of biofuels when setting requirements.
Boaters can ask their Congressman to support and co-sponsor the bill by going to:
And the latest development…
Senators Toomey, Feinstein Introduce Bill to Eliminate Ethanol Mandate – See more at:


Cable Parks -Is Oregon Ready?

Wakes Still Driving Towed Water Sports…Cable parks continue to grow

Once seen as a direct competitor to boating, cable parks are proliferating across the country as U.S. dealers find new synergies with the parks.

“If there’s a trend that we’re really excited about it’s the development of the cable parks,” said Meddock. “The boat companies are now embracing the cable parks , the board companies are, of course, embracing the cable parks with on-site pro shops. It’s opened up a whole new revenue stream for everybody.”

Pete Surrette at O’Brien Water Sports said the shift in gears has translated into an entire new market for their cable park-focused goods.

IMG_4756AAa“Cable parks have had a huge impact in Europe for a number of years. We have a lot of product that is specific for cable parks that up until the last couple years have only been sold in Europe,” said Surrette. “We’re still very much in infancy here compared to Europe, but we do see it growing.”

Nautique was one of the first boat manufacturers to recognize the power of cable parks as a feeder pool into the boating market, though they’re the first to admit it’s not going to sell more boats overnight.

“The cable watersports market is growing fast and we have entered it with two parks in Florida and many more to come,” said Bill Yeargin, president and CEO at Nautique. “It is a great way to introduce people to watersports and develop them into boat buyers. However, it is a long-term view.”

He said cable parks are breathing new life into the watersports market.

“Wakeboarding and wakeskating are a lot of fun and revitalized the watersports market over 15 years ago,” said Yeargin. “It is what cable is doing today.”

Kevin Michael with Malibu Boats said cable parks have been instrumental in introducing people to wakesports.

“Absolutely cable parks have helped. We work with a park in Texas called TSR (Texas Ski Ranch) and they are also a Malibu dealer,” said Michael. “What happens is people get introduced to wakeboarding for the first time, people that maybe don’t have access to lakes.”

He said their approach makes it easy for cable park enthusiasts to get out on the open water behind a boat.

“They see the boats at the dealership and want to try it. There’s a boat lake right there too, so they try it and they realize the boating experience is better for family and friends than anything else,” said Michael. “That’s why it’s not competitive with what we do, because we do see a lot of people embracing the boating lifestyle who started out as cable riders.”

Tigé boats is also championing the more than 40 U.S. cable parks – up from just 25 in 2013.

“We believe that the cable parks gives access to watersports that you wouldn’t otherwise would have had access to in neighborhoods or cities – we back that entirely,” said Gutierrez.

Grabbing young people’s attention in the cable parks will also push wakeboarding and wakeskating forward by simply giving kids a place to practice without the liability of a boat. Keeping the sport healthy holds attention and draws in more and more action sport enthusiasts.

“If you look at the pro wakeboard tour, the junior pro division is very healthy – kids 14 to 18,” said Michael. “Whenever you see a sport with growth at younger ages, you know that that’s a sign of vitality.”

Giving that “wow” factor in wakeskating is a massive marketing win for watersports as a whole, even if it might not sell many boats.

“Wakeskating is so hard for your average consumer, I don’t think it sways a boat sale. But from a credibility standpoint, from respect from other industries and just acknowledging something else happening behind a boat,” said Gutierrez. “It keeps things interesting. We’ve had more wakeskate videos in our industry go viral than other video.”

Though the majority of wake sport pros have come from boating community, some have already come from the cable parks.

“The best evidence we have is Adam Errington, one of our pro riders, whose very first boat he ever owned was a sponsored Tige,” said Gutierrez.  “He started off on the cable, that’s where he learned, that’s where he got better.”

Watch for a lot more cable parks popping up in the U.S. in the coming years.

“I expect other boat makers to buy cable parks in the future,” said Meddock. “To have 100 cable parks in the United States within the next three to five years is not out of the question. I think there’s more cable park under development than anybody realizes because they’re being drafted and developed in secret.”


What are your thoughts about a private entity creating a cable park where people can learn and practice towed activities in a semi-controlled environment?

“Slow -No Wake…” What does that mean?

SNWSignTo make our “slow no wake” zones more enforceable, we are interested in getting your thoughts on writing a definition of “slow-no wake” in law.  This is NOT open for formal testimony , we’re simply interested in your ideas.  Please comment in the field below! 

The current draft definition is:

250-010-0010 Definitions

(8)”Slow–No Wake” means 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.

The definition would then be applied to the existing basic rule 250-010-0025, and in all the local and special area rules in Division 20 that use the term slow-no wake.

250-010-0025 Basic Rule for “Slow-No Wake”

(1) No person shall operate a boat on the waters of this state in excess of a “Slow-No Wake”, maximum 5 MPH speed within 200 feet of a boat launch ramp, marina with a capacity for six or more moored vessels, floating home/boathouse moorage with six or more contiguous structures, and locations where persons are working at water level on floats, logs or waterway construction.

(2) Section (1) of this rule does not apply to commercial vessels or vessels engaged in navigation on rivers where a speed in excess of 5 MPH is needed to ensure safe passage.


Would you like to keep the reference to Wake“maximum 5 mph” within the basic rule, or would you be in favor of eliminating the reference to 5 mph?  An argument for keeping the “maximum 5 mph” is that it gives boaters a point of reference; an argument for eliminating the 5 mph reference is that it implies to some boaters that they can go 5 mph even if that speed causes their boat to plow and create a large wake. If the 5 mph reference was eliminated the basic rule might look like this:

250-010-0025 Basic Rule for “Slow-No Wake”

(1) No person shall operate a boat on the waters of this state in excess of a “Slow-No Wake” speed within 200 feet of a boat launch ramp, marina with a capacity for six or more moored vessels, floating home/boathouse moorage with six or more contiguous structures, and locations where persons are working at water level on floats, logs or waterway construction.

(2) Section (1) of this rule does not apply to commercial vessels or vessels engaged in navigation on rivers where a speed in excess of “slow-no wake” is needed to ensure safe passage.


Cruising BOAT Blog Post


  • At risk vessels include large vessels (too large to trailer) that often stay in the water at a marina year round. (In addition to boats, this could also include floating homes and boathouses.)
  • Near the end of the useful life for these vessels, repair costs or disposal costs are more than the vessels are worth.
  • The financial incentive is to sell the vessel (or give the boat away at no cost) rather than repair or dispose of the vessel.
  • Sometimes, this means the vessel is transferred to a person who does not have the financial means to care for the vessel and/or to moor the vessel in a marina, and the vessel becomes a derelict/ abandoned boat that must be removed at the State’s expense.


What would you recommend we do to make vessel owners take responsibility and properly dispose of their vessels (which will cost them $) vs. of selling their vessels to new owners that do not have the means to care for or legally moor the vessel and cannot pay for the removal of the vessel should it become derelict or abandoned?

What Ideas Do Boaters Have about Registration Fees?

In preparation for the 2015 Legislative Session, the agency held public meetings in May and June of 2014 to share the agency’s current budget with boaters and hear what ideas boaters have about the agency’s existing services.  A significant shortfall is on the horizon and the agency has taken measures over the last several years to leverage funding, streamline operations, and eliminate advertising/marketing and producing print publications.  But more steps are needed.  It’s been 12 years since the agency raised fees.  The costs for contracting for law enforcement services, materials for boat ramps, restrooms and other facility improvements is increasing.  Along with inflation and other economic factors, the Marine Board is looking at reducing programs, eliminating positions and raising fees to registered boat owners.

Here’s what’s being presented to boaters during the statewide public meetings, that better describe our existing budget, boating trends, existing services, and a discussion-started for fees.  Director Brewen explains what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and how YOU get to help determine what get’s presented to the Marine Board…and onward to the Legislature.  No decisions have been made…

Marine Board’s Budget Presentation 

Here are some of the comments (summarized) from boaters who’ve attended the Marine Board’s budget discussions:


Members from the Columbia River Yachting Association (CRYA) in Portland:

  • No concerns expressed about a variable fee option;
  • Interested in seeing a non-motorized fee included


  • This is a two-year fee.  When thinking in terms of a boating season, the cost per year, even with a fee increase is still minimal.


  • The Marine Board needs to include non-motorized boaters for fees since they use the boat ramps and restrooms too.
  • Launch fees -there should be a single card or system put in place so you don’t have to pay a different fee to launch from site to site.
  • Suggested a reduced registration option that allows for boaters to purchase a decal for multiple biennia as an incentive to keeping the registration current.
  • Include propulsion as a fee option.  The horse power should be considered.  Higher HP, higher fee.
  • Consider a boat value comparison -excise tax similar to WA.
  • Flat fee…increase the flat fee by a small amount this time around, then include the non-motorized boaters for the next biennium.

Would you like to share your thoughts/ideas with Marine Board via email vs. the blog?  Try the form below and we’ll make sure your comments are added.