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OSMB Law Enforcement Program
What Marine Patrols Do
If you see a patrol boat with its blue light flashing, slow and steer clear so your wake will not hamper boating operations.
Enforcement of Laws and Rules
Boating regulations are designed to protect boaters and others sharing the water. Laws are only effective if they're enforced.
Of the 36 counties in the state, the Marine Board contracts with 31 of them and Oregon State Police for marine law enforcement services.  The Marine Board also trains and equips county sheriff's offices for marine patrol duties.  These services are paid for with boater registration fees. Approximately 43% for the 2011-2013 biennium of Marine Board boater funds are allocated for law enforcement.
Marine officers have the authority to stop and board boats operating on state waters. Boaters committing such violations as excessive speed and wake, boating under the influence of intoxicants (BUII) and unsafe/reckless operation will draw the attention of law enforcement and are likely to receive citations. Some situations may require arrest and police custody.
To report unlawful operation, call the local sheriff’s marine patrol. Be sure to provide the boat number and a description of the boat, operator and passengers.

Boater Assistance
An important role the marine patrol plays is to help boaters in distress. Marine officers aid boaters who have been involved in an accident, run aground or have mechanical problems. (Commercial assistance may be contacted for non emergencies) They also help settle conflicts on the water or at the dock.
Marine officers are trained to respond to emergencies. They perform water rescues and give first aid until paramedics arrive. If you witness an emergency, call 9-1-1, and the operator will contact the county sheriff’s office. If you don’t have access to a phone, try contacting law enforcement on marine radio (VHF) channel 16 or CB channel 9. Indicate that the emergency is water-related, and be prepared to give your location and details of the situation.

Boat Examinations
Marine patrols conduct boat examinations to make sure boaters have on board the proper equipment to operate safely and legally. Officers check for such items as a valid Certificate of Number, sound signaling devices and wearable life jackets for each person on board. Proper numbering and documentation protects you from theft and helps marine officers do their job effectively. Having the right equipment on board could save your life in an emergency.
Vessel examination stickers are given to operators whose boats pass an inspection. This lets other marine patrol deputies and the coast guard know that the vessel was checked and was in compliance with equipment requirements.
A boat examination is also a good opportunity for you to ask officers questions or to receive printed safety literature. If you know the legal requirements and have a properly equipped boat, a boat examination is a short simple and helpful process.

Required Equipment
Officers check for such items as a valid Certificate of Number, sound signaling devices and wearable life jackets for each person on board.
Boat examinations improve boating safety. Be safe and avoid citations by carrying the required equipment on board at all times. For a complete list of requirements for your vessel type and length, check the Oregon Boater’s Handbook. Items marine officers check for during an exam may include:

All Boats
  • Properly fitting personal flotation devices (life jackets) to fit each person on board;
  • Sound signaling device (ex. whistle, air horn or bell);
  • Navigation lights (for night operation);
  • Throwable Type IV flotation device (for boats 16 ft or over).

Motorized Boats and Sailboats 12 ft. in length and Over (in addition to above)
  • Proper "OR number" displayed at teh bow of the boat and;
  • Validation decal;
  • Certificate of Number on board;
  • Boater Education Card for operator of a powerboat over 10hp.

Motorized Boats (in addition to above)
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Flame arrestor
  • Ventilation
  • Muffling system

Equipment Requirements and Safe Boating Information

Water Safety Education
Officers teach basic boating and water safety principles such as the importance of wearing a life jacket and always swimming with a friend.
Oregon Boating and Water Safety School Program
Marine Deputies are working to make sure Oregon’s youth are safe in and around the water. Each year, officers throughout the state give presentations to more than 60,000 students in schools using teaching materials provided by the Marine Board.
Instruction begins at an early age and is reinforced as children grow older to ensure that what they learn stays with them for life. Officers teach basic boating and water safety principles such as the importance of wearing a life jacket and always swimming with a friend. Children are provided with the information they need to make smart choices on the water.

Public Appearances
Marine Deputies regularly attend county fairs, marine trade shows and community safety events to raise awareness about local boating safety efforts. These events give you a chance to meet Deputies from your area, ask them questions and pick up boating resource materials.
Contact your county sheriff’s office if you would like a marine deputy to attend a local event or give a water safety presentation.

Take a Course
You can learn about boating safety and Oregon boating regulations by taking a course from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or Power Squadron. Check our class listings for additional information, and check the Mandatory Boater Education Program page for details on this new law.

Navigation & Waterway Markers
Buoys and signs on Oregon’s waterways alert boaters to safety hazards, local regulations and boating-related information. Marine Deputies in each county are responsible for the placement of local waterway markers. If a marker is damaged or missing, or you have other information that would be of benefit to boater safety, contact the local marine patrol.