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.
“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 www.boatoregon.com.
“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