It’s an easy rule to forget, especially if you have a good routine and boat in and out of
the same location frequently. But the reality is -boaters are responsible for their wake. With 1200 + boat ramps in Oregon, many haven’t seen repairs or makeovers in some time, and the pounding from wakes can end their life prematurely.
In 2015, the Marine Board met with an advisory committee and marine law enforcement to study wakes. The advisory committee recommended changing the definition of slow -no wake so the rule can be more enforceable. After receiving public comments, the Board approved a new definition.
The new definition for Slow -No Wake is:
250-010-0010(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 applies to the statewide basic proximity rule OAR 250-010-0025 and all of the local and special area rules in Division 20 that use the term “Slow -No Wake.” The 5-MPH speed reference was also removed, and regulatory buoys are on a replacement schedule statewide indicating, “Slow -No Wake.”
250-010-0025 Basic Proximity Rule for “Slow-No Wake” Also States:
(1) No person shall operate a boat on the waters of this state in excess of a “Slow-No Wake” 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.
Get an “eye” for judging distance :
200 feet in a 20 foot boat is roughly 10 boat lengths.
Remember…wakes carry energy and force. By law, boaters can be held liable for their wake. Wakes cause damage, can be unsafe for people on docks and make other boaters really upset, especially when their boat stability is thrown off by an unexpected wake. Just go slow and leave no wake.