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Getting Ready for Spring Boating -Finally
For Immediate Release -4/13/12
The time is (finally) right to take off the boat cover and start getting ready to plan your spring and summer fun outdoors.  The fishing and water level forecasts are looking good.  The Oregon State Marine Board wants to remind boaters about what they’ll need to be safe and in compliance for the first outing this season.
First, be sure to check your equipment.  “Safety is paramount,” says Ashley Massey, Public Information Officer for the Marine Board.  “It’s important to 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 that adults wear a life jacket because even though the air temperature may be warming up, the water is always cold.  In Oregon, 85-90 percent of boating fatality victims weren’t wearing a life jacket and they wound up in the water due to capsizing or falling overboard.  Water takes away body heat 25 times faster than air, so cold water immersion is a real threat to survival.”  Massey adds.  “Also, be sure to have a fire extinguisher, 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.  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, U.S. Power Squadrons and many law enforcement agencies conduct free vessel safety checks around the state and alert the boater if any safety equipment is needed.  After an inspection, the boater is given a Vessel Safety Check sticker to affix to the boat. This sticker signifies that the boater is in compliance with all equipment requirements.  Vessel safety check information is shared through the Marine Board’s Facebook and Twitter pages (www.facebook.com/boatoregon and www.twitter.com/marineboard).    
Second, make sure your boat is in 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.
Third, make sure your boat registration is current.  “A second renewal reminder card was mailed to boaters at the end of March.  For boaters who want to renew online, the renewal cards have a special identification number (PIN) that they can enter to access their registration information.  Registering online is fast, simple and there’s no online processing fee.  Boaters can print a temporary permit after completing their transaction, so they can go boating right away,” says Massey.  “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, plus the $5 AIS fee.  The fee for registering a motorboat has not changed in over nine years.
Fourth, be sure to carry an aquatic invasive species prevention permit (AISP) if you’re operating a paddlecraft 10 feet long and longer.  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 by downloading an online application and mailing/emailing it back to the Marine Board at www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/Clean/docs/2012AISPTyvekOrderForm.pdf.  Tyvek tags can also be purchased through Marine Board AIS permit dealers.  An interactive map with a list of dealers can be found at www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/Clean/AISPPFAQsPage.shtml#Where_to_Purchase_Permits.
For registered motorboats, the permit fee is rolled into the registration cost.  For more information about this program, visit www.boatoregon.com/OSMB/Clean/AISPPmain.shtml.
Finally, 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 Massey.  “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.
“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.