Certificate of Number
(ORS 830.770) To operate
a sailboat 12’ or more in length or any motorboat, an operator must carry a
valid signed Certificate of Number on the boat.
number must be visible.
(ORS 830.780) A boat
must have the identifying number; e.g., “OR 123 AB”; displayed on each side of
the boat’s forward half, plus current registration decal.
Mooring requirement (OAR
830-700, OAR 250-010-0050) Sailboats 12’ or more in length, or any motorboat,
when moored in waters of the state, must be currently registered.
Responsibilities of a
boat operator at an accident scene: (ORS 830.475, 830.480, OAR
• Anyone involved in a
boat accident must give name, address, other required information and aid to
injured person(s), including transportation to a hospital if treatment appears
necessary or is requested by injured person(s).
• Leaving a boat
accident scene before performing operator’s duties is a Class C felony punishable
by five years in jail and/or a $100,000 fine.
• Boat operators
involved in an accident resulting in death, injury or property damage exceeding
$2000 must report the accident to the State Marine Board on a
Marine Board Accident Report Form:
–within 48 hours of
accident resulting in death or injury;
–within 10 days of
accident causing property/equipment damage only.
Occupants are responsible
for making accident report when operator is physically incapable of doing so.
A boat approaching or
being approached by a law enforcement vessel with a flashing blue light or
siren must immediately slow and alter its course so as not to interfere with
the operation of the law enforcement vessel. (OAR 250-011-0005(6)) A peace
officer may ask to stop any boat and direct it to a suitable pier or anchorage
for boarding. No person shall knowingly flee or attempt to elude any law
enforcement officer after having received a signal from a law enforcement officer
to bring the boat to a stop. (ORS 830.035)
Operators must know the
following rules governing boat operation:
Unsafe operation. (ORS
Operation that endangers
or would likely endanger a person or property. Example of violation:
Your boat wake causes a canoe to nearly capsize.
Reckless operation. (ORS
It is a crime to operate
a boat carelessly in willful disregard of others. Example of violation:
Pulling a skier through an area where swimmers are present in spite of the boat
operation-speed. (ORS 830.315(2))
A violation occurs if,
due to a boat’s speed, it cannot be stopped by reasonable means in the clear
distance ahead. Example of violation: Your boat runs over, or
into, an object because you are traveling too fast to stop in time.
Maintaining a proper
lookout. (ORS 830.335) The operator of a boat shall keep a proper lookout
at all times while underway. Example of violation: Pulling and watching the
skier, not the water ahead.
Overloading a boat
beyond safe carrying capacity is prohibited. (ORS
250-010-0085). If your
boat has a capacity plate, follow that recommendation for capacity; otherwise,
use the formula on page 9. State law conforms to federal law requiring capacity
plates on vessels.
Basic proximity rule for
Slow –No Wake. (OAR 250-010-0025)
Operators of boats must
observe Slow -No Wake, within 200’ of a boat ramp, marina or moorage with a
capacity for six or more vessels; a floating home moorage with six or more structures;
or people working at water level. The operator may be liable for damage caused
by wake. This rule does not apply to commercial vessels or river navigation
when more speed is needed to ensure safe passage.
Checklist for Renters.
All persons operating a
rented watercraft greater than 10 hp must carry a signed copy of the “Watercraft
Rental Safety Checklist” unless they are carrying a boater education card. All
other provisions of the Mandatory Boater Education Program apply, including
minimum operator ages and supervision of youth.
Riding on bows, decks,
gunwales or transoms of a motorboat. (ORS
830.360, OAR 830.362)
• Riding on bow, transom
or gunwale railings while underway is prohibited. No person operating a motorboat shall allow any person to ride or sit on the deck over the bow of the boat while underway unless the motorboat is provided with adequate guards or railing. No person operating a motorboat shall allow a person to ride or sit on the starboard or port gunwales or on the transom of the boat while underway at a speed in excess of 5 MPH unless the motorboat is provided with adequate guards or railings.
• Standing on decking over
the bow is allowed for mooring or casting off. This also applies to a boat rigged and equipped as a sailboat when operating under sail power. [Formerly 488.140].
Prohibited actions when
water skiing or using other towed devices. (ORS
• Reckless, negligent
riding of towed devices endangering persons or property.Boatingegulations
• Water skiing or towing
devices from sunset to sunrise.
• Operation of towing
boat or other devices that may lead to potential collision of water skier with
a person or object.
• Water skiing while
under the influence of intoxicants.
• Towing skier
(including on a PWC) without continuous observation of skier by an observer.
• Operating without a
“skier down” flag.
Operation of a boat,
including non-motorized boats, while under the influence of intoxicants is
prohibited on all waterways. (ORS 830.325)
Boaters should be aware
• by operating a boat,
you have consented to submit to field sobriety tests;
• a blood alcohol level
of .08 or more is considered “under the influence”;
• bail schedules for the
alleged offense range from $3,500 to $6,250;
• operating under the
influence is a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, a boater faces a maximum penalty
of $6,250 and/or 1 year in jail;
• a conviction for
Boating Under the
Influence is equivalent
and counts toward any of first three arrests for Driving Under the Influence of
• upon conviction,
offending operators have all boat registrations in their name suspended for up
to 3 years, are not allowed to operate a boat for 1 year, and are required to
complete a boating safety course;
• a person who knowingly
operates a boat in violation of a court order for conviction
of ORS 830.325 commits a
Class A misdemeanor.
(ORS 830.380, 830.383)
Peace officers observing
a boat being operated on Oregon waters in an especially hazardous
condition may order the operator to move to the nearest safe moorage and remain
there until the condition is remedied.
hazardous condition is:
• Improper or insufficient
personal flotation devices, fire extinguishers, backfire arresting devices on
carburetors, or navigation lights between sunset and sunrise.
• Leakage of fuel from
the boat engine, fuel system or fuel in the bilge.
The following table lists which rivers and river sections ARE OPEN to personal watercraft use. All other rivers NOT listed are closed to PWC (OAR 250-021-0040).
personal watercraft must: (OAR
• wear, and have
passengers wear, U.S. Coast Guard-approved,
inherently buoyant Type I, II or III personal flotation device (PFD).
• attach lanyard-type
cutoff switch, if equipped by manufacturer, to person, clothing or PFD.
• effectively muffle
• equip craft with
required lights to operate between sunset and sunrise.
• operate craft in
reasonable, prudent manner. Unsafe or reckless maneuvers endangering
people/property include weaving through congested boat traffic, jumping wake
unreasonably close to another boat or when its operator’s vision is obstructed,
swerving to avoid collision at the last moment. Allowances made for participants
in professional exhibitions and officially sanctioned events.
• operate craft no
closer than 200’ behind water skier or other towed devices.
• not tow a water skier
or any floating device with PWC unless another person on the
observes person being towed, and PWC is large enough to carry operator,
observer, and person being towed.
• observe Slow-no wake:
-within 200’ of a
swimmer, surfer, diving flag, bank or wading angler; dock, swim float, ramp, pier,
marina, floating home, or boathouse;
-within 100’ of any
anchored or non-motorized vessel;
-within 200’ of
shoreline on all lakes, reservoirs, and bays, “safe” take-off excepted.
• not operate in excess
of 10 MPH when approaching within 100’ of a motorized or sail vessel underway.
• not chase, harass, or
disturb wildlife with PWC. This is strictly prohibited.
Operation of craft by
persons under age of 16 unless accompanied by
a boater education card-holding person 18 or over on board, or rental to persons
under 18 is prohibited. Inflatable PFD’s are not approved for PWC operator use.
liveries must: not rent to persons under 18; provide only either Type I or III inherently
buoyant U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets; provide safe operation information,
giving each renter a written copy of state PWC rules and placing a safe
operation decal on each craft; sign and have renter sign the copy of the rules,
with renter carrying copy.
Other statewide and local rules exist for recreational boaters:
Statewide Regulations: ORS 830, Division 10 and Division 11 Steering and Sailing Rules
Local Rules: OAR 250, Division 20, Division 21 Personal Watercraft, and Division 30 Scenic Waterways.