Boating Access -Your Way to the Water
Fall and Winter Boating
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Boating is Year-Round in Oregon!
Things to know:
- Expect water level fluctuations on all of our waterbodies this year. The Corps of Engineers is in the delicate balancing act of providing adequate in-stream flows for migrating fish, holding reservoirs for the summer recreation and irrigation, and managing them for potential flood control needs.
- Oregon's waters are always cold. Because of the cold water, accumulation of debris and other hazards, always wear your life jacket. With low water, currents will be very fast and previously submerged objects will change the direction of the water into many obstructions. Always paddle in pairs and use oars to navigate narrow stretches. Motorboats need to start out slow and may need to operate at higher speeds to maintain steerage in stronger currents.
- If you plan to participate in 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, proper gear for the conditions, and know the waterway?
- 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 battery, motor 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.
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This interactive Google map 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 the water levels, fishing recreation report, ODOT Trip Check, and even more information!
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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
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.
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- Detroit Reservoir - Big Cliff Dam: The boat ramp is closed until further notice. The Corps of Engineers reports that they have opened the reservoir to walk-in or carry down recreation. Click here to view the latest water levels and marina and boat ramp usability data. For more inforamtion contact 541-942-5631.
- 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.
- Waterway managers report that the Owyhee Lake Dam Ramp is closed for public safety. For more information contact (541) 473-5187.
Sandy Beach/Schwitter Landing Transient Tie-Up, Columbia River, Multnomah County: Oregon Parks and Recreation has reported that a big chunk of debris has slammed into the transient tie-up and broke a 40 foot section of dock. Currently the rest of the short-term tie-up is still accessable. The inside docks still have access to the composting toilet and island. The outside docks are accessable but be aware there currently isn't any landside connection as a result of the broken section. For questions or additional information please contact 1-800-551-6949.
- Westlake Boat Ramp, Lane County: Lane County Parks Department has termporarily closed the ramp on Siltcoos Lake for repairs to the abutment that sustained structural damage in 2012. They anticipate the ramp will be closed until January 31, 2016. During this time annual pass holders can access the lake for free at Darlings Resort, 4879 Darlings Loop. If you have any quesitons about this site or other managed by Lane County, call 541-682-2000.
- Milwaukie Riverfront Park, Clackamas County: North portion of Riverfront Park is closed. Heavy rain caused damage to the footing of the bridge. It is now closed to through traffic. For questions or additional information call 503-786-7605.
- Rocky Point, Coos County: This facility on the Coquille River is currently closed until February 29, 2016 to repair the damaged boarding docks. For questions or additional information call 541-396-7759
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*Willamette Slough-Minto Island Pedestrian Bridge, Marion County
Construction will begin June 1, 2015 and last through October 15, 2016 for the new pedestrian/bike bridge over the Willamette Slough. The construction work will be Monday through Sunday 24 hours per day. Mariners can expect overhead cranes and pile driving while constructing temporary trestles with overhead hazards. The minimum clearance will be 10 feet. A temporary 40 foot wide channel will be marked with signs for passage under the bridge and through the construction zone. Regulatory orange and white buoys will be placed marking the construction area for slow no-wake and bridge construciton. For more construction information contact 503-749-1818.
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Waterbodies where motor boats are prohibited:
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Waterways where only electric motors are allowed to operate.
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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.
River Permits and Lotteries
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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
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
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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.
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Portland's Hawthorne Bridge
You can also get char information from:
-downloadable charts from NOAA, where you can obtain charts to the Columbia and Willamette Rivers (Chapter 10, volume 7).