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Time to Prep the Boat
For Immediate Release -March 29, 2011
The sun is starting to shine a little more and the days are getting longer, which means it’s time to de-winterize your boat and plan for your spring and summer water adventures.  The Oregon State Marine Board offers some reminders and suggestions for getting your boat ready for the first excursion this season.
First, make sure you have your boater education card.  “All boaters who operate a motorboat over 10 horse power need to carry their boater education card with them out on the water,” says Ashley Massey, Public Affairs Specialist for the Marine Board.  “Youth ranging from 12 to 15 years of age will need a card to operate a boat on their own, if the motor is under 10 horse power.  If the boat is over 10 horse power, youth must be supervised directly by a card-holding adult (16 or older).  When operating a personal watercraft (PWC), youth 12 to 15 will need a card and be directly supervised by a card-holding adult over 18.”  Visit www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/BoatEd/questions.shtml to learn more about the mandatory education program.
Second, make sure your boat registration is current.  “A second renewal reminder will be mailed to boaters toward the end of April.  The renewal notification has a special identification number on it allowing boaters to renew their registration online.  It’s simple and there’s no online processing fee.  The best part is you can print a temporary permit after ordering online, so you can go boating right away,”   Massey says.  “For folks new to boating or who didn’t renew for a few years, you can contact the Marine Board and speak with a registration specialist who can help you or simply send in your payment to us,” Massey adds.  The cost for registering your boat is a flat, $3 per foot fee, rounded up.
Third, make sure your boat is good shape before you get to the water.  “Prepare ahead of time to ensure a stress-free excursion.  We have links on our website to do-it-yourself instructions online, including engine maintenance and information on blended fuels,” says Massey.  For the not-so-mechanically inclined, many marine centers and boat dealers can de-winterize your boat for you.  The U.S. Coast Guard created a pre-underway checklist to help boaters prepare for their first outing at www.uscgauxnh.org/forms/PreUnderwayChecklist.pdf.
Fourth, be sure to carry an aquatic invasive species prevention permit if you’re operating a paddle craft.  Permits are required for operators of boats 10 feet long and longer when the boat is in use.  Annual paper permits cost $7 through ODFW license agents, field offices and online at www.dfw.state.or.us.  One year and two year Tyvek tags are also available from the Marine Board office in Salem for $5 and $10.  These tags can also be ordered online at http://www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/Clean/docs/Boating_public_order_form_2011.pdf.
For operators of state-registered boats, the permit fee is already rolled into the cost of registering your motor boat.  For more information about this program, visit www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/Clean/AISPPmain.shtml.
Finally, be sure to check your equipment.  “Safety is paramount,” Massey says.  “Make sure your life jackets are in good condition (no mold, broken buckles, tears, etc.) and that there are enough to properly fit everyone on board.  It’s strongly recommended to wear a life jacket because even though the air temperature may be warm, the water is cold.  Also be sure to have fire extinguishers, a sound producing device, and visual distress signals.  If you are going out to fish, be sure to have a good anchor with plenty of line and a buoy.  Another reminder is to ALWAYS anchor from the bow, not the stern, which can easily cause a boat to swamp and capsize.
The Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons conduct free vessel safety checks around the state and alert the boater if any safety equipment is needed.
“One last reminder is to watch the weather and be ready to head in if the wind picks up.  There’s also a lot of debris in the water, so keep a sharp lookout for any hazards.”
Boaters can get all this information and more by visiting www.boatoregon.com or calling
503-378-8587.  Registration payments can be mailed to OSMB, P.O. Box 14145, Salem, OR 97309.