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Marine Board Leveraging Technology to Reduce Costs
For Immediate Release -May 31, 2011
The Marine Board is facing the fiscal realities impacting all of state government and is striving to improve services by finding efficiencies without increasing registration fees for Oregon’s boaters.  The silver lining in this economy is the ever-evolving use of the internet, which is opening more doors to rapidly communicate information, for little cost.  As part of the Marine Board’s effort to return more boating dollars back to boaters in the form of services, the agency is experimenting with moving away from traditional printing, beginning with the annual Underway Newsletter, and offering the publication digitally. 
“Underway” is generally produced once a year and mailed directly to currently registered motorboat owners.  The Marine Board produces this publication in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard, sharing costs.  The Marine Board creates the layout and pays for printing, and the Coast Guard pays for mailing.  “The cost of paper, ink, print services and mailing continue to rise, so the decision to go digital makes fiscal sense,” says Scott Brewen, Director of the Marine Board.  “This is a chance to save money while trying something new.  We will see what kind of feedback we receive from the boaters.”  The digital Underway Newsletter also contains hyperlinks to specific program information and drafts of the Marine Board’s Strategic Plan, Boating Facilities Six-Year Plan.  
The Marine Board is also transitioning over the next two years away from print publications for boating safety, posting much of the same content online.  “Boaters can download the specific information they need, and not waste paper and ink,” Brewen adds.   
Looking toward the future, the Marine Board is also building a more robust, interactive database where boaters will be able to find boat launches, learn about boating hazards, where to find clear gasoline, the closest pumpout/dump station, and other important information.  “The end goal is to develop this interactive online system in to a mobile app so boaters will have all the information they need to stay safe out on the water, at their fingertips,” says Brewen.  Brewen hopes the new system will be online within the next year.
Marine Board brochures and larger boating guides can be viewed and downloaded from http://www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/library/library.shtml
To download a copy of the annual “Underway” newsletter, go to http://www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/library/docs/Underway2011Web.pdf.