Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Site Image

Boating Access -Your Way to the Water

Spring & Summer Boating in Oregon



Things to know:

  • Spring storms cause quick fluctuations in river and reservoir levels. The Corps of Engineers is in the delicate balancing act of providing adequate in-stream flows for migrating fish, filling reservoirs for the summer recreation and irrigation, and managing them for potential flood control needs. The Willamette, Rogue and other river systems can be highly variable this time of year.
  • Oregon's waters are always cold, but especially in the spring with snow melt. Because of the cold water, accumulation of debris and other hazards, always wear your life jacket.
  • If you plan to participate in spring chinook, sturgeon, shad or other big-river fishing, make sure your gear is in good shape and you know how to use it. A good anchor, plenty of rope and a float is necessary for in-river fishing like this. Check the Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife for fishing reports and information.
  • Before heading out, double check your boat, motor, equipment and safety gear. Make sure all life jackets are in good shape and fit the people in the boat. Also, do you have your Boater Education Card? 
  • Paddlers -do you have your Aquatic Invasive Species Permit?
  • Weather: As always, be aware of the weather and watch river conditions carefully.  Wind direction can change suddenly and morning fog can limit visibility.  
  • Hypothermia: Waters of the state are cold (40-50 degrees) through July and sometimes don't warm above 60 degrees in many waterbodies. This means hypothermia can set in within 10 - 20 minutes for an average person.  Cold water immersion is more of a threat...when the air temperature is hot and the water is frigid. Dress appropriately and wear layers.  Cold water quickly saps away your strength. Wearing a life jacket gives you the time you need to safely re-board your boat if you accidently fall overboard.  Also, ensure you have a means of getting quickly back aboard without assistance by using a ladder or even a dockline.  Over 2/3 of all boating fatalities involve people who drowned and were not wearing a life jacket. 


  • Equipment, motor, and boat: Double check your boat, motor, equipment and safety gear.

    • Check for reported navigation hazards.  ALWAYS scout ahead before you boat a river.  If you see a hazard -REPORT it.  We'll post the information to the website and have the obstruction assessed by law enforcement.  In some cases, the Marine Board may contract to mitigate a navigation obstruction.
    • Make sure all life jackets are in good shape and fit the people in boat.
    • Be sure to have a float plan that you share with a family member or trusted friend with information about where you plan to go and when you expect to return, so they can notify authorities if you are overdue.  
    • Make sure your OR numbers are current and that you have your certificate of number with you.
  • Ramp etiquette:
      • PRE-LAUNCHING: Use the staging area to get your gear and personal items organized ahead of time.  Ensure the trailer tongue is securely fastened to the ball hitch, remove all tie downs, and unplug trailer lights.  Check the condition of the batter, morot and angle of the drive unit.  Make sure the boat plugs are firmly in place.
      • LAUNCHING: Move to the ramp.  Once the vehicle and trailer are lined up, begin to back down the ramp.  Have someone act as a lookout, and have them holding a bow line to guide the boat off the trailer to the boarding float and use a kleet to tie-down the boat.  If other boats are attempting to launch, maneuver the boat to the back of the transient float to make room for others.  Once the boat is secure, take the vehicle and trailer to appropriate trailered parking space.  Once you've returned to the boat, run the blower, start the boat, have your passengers board and don their life jackets, then unhook the bow line.  Now...you're underway!  Go at a Slow-No Wake speed until safely 200 feet from the dock.      


Back to Top

Where to Launch in Oregon

  This interactive Google map is under construction and may change frequently.  
Fly into the map by double-clicking outside the round "clusters" to fly in.  Then, click on an individual icon for a fly-out window with specific information about that site.  From the fly-out, click on "Additional Local Information" to find out more...  

Having trouble in the map?  

Boating Access Amenity Symbols  

Where to Launch Your Boat in Oregon

Back to Top

Water Levels & Charts

Check on daily river gauge readings along most Oregon rivers for flow information by clicking on the River Level Forecast link above.
Nautical Charts and Dealers
 Rogue River near the old Gold Ray Dam site.
NOAA's new official BookletCharts- nautical charts that are easy to download and print from home computers, cover 95,000 miles of U.S. coastline and the Great Lakes.  The BookletCharts contain most of the information found on NOAA's full-scale nautical charts, but are presented as reduced-scale. 
Back to Top

Boating Facility Closures


  • Detroit Reservoir - Big Cliff Dam:  Big Cliff Dam's gates are being repaired this winter.  The boat ramp will be closed until further notice.  The Corps of Engineers reports that they have opened the reservoir to walk-in recreation.  Click here to view the latest water levels and marina and boat ramp usability data.
  • Buena Vista, Marion County:  The Buena Vista ramp on the Willamette River, Marion County side has been closed. There are no plans to re-open the ramp. Boating access is still available at the Buena Vista County Park on the Polk County side of the river. For more information, contact 503-588-7943.
  • Clackamette Park, Oregon City: The Clackamette Park boat ramp on the Clackamas River is closed until further notice. The ramp started shifting and due to instability is dangerous to boaters attempting to launch. For more information contact ​503-496-1565. Close by ramps for launching are SportsCraft Landing & Meldrum Bar. Also check out our online map for other potential launch areas.



Back to Top

Construction Updates

* Mack's Canyon-Lower Deschutes River, Sherman County

Construction of a new concrete ramp and expanded parking will begin spring/summer of 2014. The expanded parking portion of the construciton will take place in late spring early summer with the ramp being placed in late summer. Exact dates will be posted on the online Boating Facility Guide and social media. This boating facility will remain open during construction. for questions about this proejct, or about this facility contact Bureau of Land Management at 541-416-6700.

Morgan Park-Siletz River, Lincoln County

Construction of a new concrete ramp, installation of a new vault toilet and expanded parking will begin mid June of 2014. The anticipated completion of this project is end of August. The facility will be closed during construction. Updates will be posted on twitter and facebook as well as our Boating Facility Guide. For questions abou this proejct or about this boating facility contact Lincoln County at 541-574-1215 

New Aluminum Boarding Floats at 3 Boating Facilities-

    John Day Ramp-John Day River, Clatsop County  for questions call 503-325-6452

    Rogers Landing-Willamette River, Yamhill County for questions call 503-434-7513

    Port of Garibaldi-Tillamook Bay, Tillamook County  for questions call 503-322-3292

 - New boarding floats are expected to be installed by the end of 2014. The new aluminum floats will hold up better that untreated wood or treated wood which the regulatroy agencies no longer allow for in water use. Notice of the exact dates for installation will be posted on our online Boating Facility Guide and our social media sites. If you have quesitons about the specific sites please contact the associated number listed. 


Slow-No-Wake Zone Between Marquam and Ross Island Bridges in Portland

 Notice to Paddlers from TriMet  

UPDATED -October 7, 2013
A paddler witnessed a crane load of rebar failing into the water toward the main channel where the span construction is happening.  Some of the rebar disbanded.  It is not known if the rebar will be recovered immediately.  Boaters -be safe, and avoid the construction zone if at all possible.  
March, 2013:
Construction began on the deck of the new Trimet Bridge across the Willamette River, RM 13.8.  The selected construction methodology will employ the use of "form-travelers" to build the decking for the TriMet Willamette River Bridge.  The form travelers will be built starting at the bridge piers (towers) and be incrementally stepped to extend across and above the navigation channel. During this phase of construction, a navigation channel will be maintained for vessels to pass through the construction zone.  Boaters are advised to use caution while transiting the area as there will be construction equipment and personnel working above the navigation channel.  This phase of construction is expected to continue until approximately June 15, 2014.
 Construction on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge requires a slow-no-wake zone for safety, and went into effect on June 15.  Construction barges are being positioned on the Willamette River between the Marquam and Ross Island Bridges.  Construction began on July 1, 2011. 
The safety zones are:
  • Bank-to-bank, slow-no-wake 500 feet upstream and downstream from the bridge project and effective from June 15, 2011 through September 2014.
  • An exclusion zone under the work bridge trestles and under the swing radius of the cranes.
To follow construction activities and river impacts for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, please visit www.trimet.org/pm/construction/bridge.  Also view the new bridgecams!
For more information, contact DeeAnn Sandberg, sandberg@trimet.org.
TriMet Boater Notice 
Back to Top

Motorboat Restrictions

Waterbodies where motor boats are prohibited:
Back to Top

Electric Motors Only

Waterways where only electric motors are allowed to operate.
Back to Top

Lock Navigation

Fall lockage schedules for the Columbia and Snake Rivers as listed by the US Army Corps of Engineers:
When approaching a lock:
  • Be aware that commercial traffic always has priority over recreational boats. 
  • Wait at least 400 feet away from the lock for the signal to enter the lock.
  • Alert the lock attendant that you wish to go through the lock.  You can sound one prolonged blast followed by one short blast of your boat's whistle. You also may contact the lock attendant using your VHF marine radio on Channel 13, but never interrupt commercial communication.
  • Enter the lock only after you've been signaled to enter by the lock's traffic lights or by the lock attendant.  Otherwise, stay well clear of the lock.
When using locks, boaters should:
  • Have fenders and at least 100 feet of rope to use in securing your boat inside the lock.
  • Follow the lock attendant's instructions and proceed slowly.
  • Avoid passing another boat when inside the lock, unless directed to do so by the lock attendant.
  • Wait for lock attendant's signal to exit the lock.
Back to Top

River Permits and Lotteries

In Oregon, portions of the Rogue, Deschutes, John Day and Snake Rivers requires either state or federal permits outside of any state registration requirement and regardless of the type of boat used.  The Marine Board does not manage these programs.  These rivers often have equipment restrictions, and some may limit or prohibit power boat use during certain days or times of the year.
Deschutes River Motorboat Passes
Motorboat restrictions are from June 15 through September 30.  For information on permits, visit the Oregon Parks Boat Permit website.  Click here for a calendar through 2015. 
Snake River Permits
Private powerboat reservations for both the Wild and Scenic sections of the Snake River in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area are required from May 24 through September 10 each year.  To make reservations, call the Hells Canyon NRA Powerboat Reservations number at (509) 758-0270, M-F.
Rogue River Lottery
People interested in floating the Rogue River's Wild and Scenic section from Grave Creek to Watson Creek from May 15 through October 15 must apply through a lottery.  Lottery applications must be made during the first six weeks of each calendar year.  Check the BLM website for lottery details and river regulations.

John Day River
Available in April, there will be an unlimited number of permits to boat between May 20th and July 10th in Segments 1, 2 & 3.  Click here for information and reservations through the BLM website.
Back to Top
Rogue River Drift Boat  
Rogue River Drift Boat
Your Rights to Use the Surface, Bed, and Banks of Oregon's Rivers and Lakes
Before you use Oregon's waterways and the land underlying and adjacent to them, you should be aware of some important legal considerations.
Why is This Important to You?
Because what you can and cannot do on the submerged and submersible land underlying a waterway, and the upland adjacent to a waterway, depends on who owns it.  If you do not know who owns the submerged and submersible land underlying a waterway and what you are allowed to do on that land, you may risk possible citation by law enforcement officers for trespass.
Click here for find out what you need to know...
Download the Division of State Lands Navigability Brochure.  
Back to Top

Bridge Lifting Operations

Portland's Hawthorne Bridge  
Portland's Hawthorne Bridge
You can also get char information from:
Coastal Pilot -downloadable charts from NOAA, where you can obtain charts to the Columbia and Willamette Rivers (Chapter 10, volume 7).
Back to Top