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, 2015 Board meeting, 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


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