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Guides & Charters

Outfitter guides in Oregon


​The Oregon State Marine Board registers those individuals who provide outdoor recreational activities for compensation on land or water they do not own or control.  These individuals, called Outfitter Guides, are required to provide the state with proof they are adequately insured, bonded (if required), have basic First Aid/CPR skills, carry the required minimum safety equipment, and if using a motorized boat, carry either a US Coast Guard license or OSMB Motorized Passenger Boat Operator’s Certification depending upon the waterbody. Outfitter Guides also agree to conduct themselves according to a set of Ethical and Professional Standards, and are held responsible to them as well.​

Charter Vessels in Oregon are defined as vessels inspected by the US Coast Guard that carry 7 or more passengers-for-hire in addition to its crew​.  The vessels may operate in the ocean or inland waters. The vessels are required to be operated by a USCG licensed captain. They are required to carry the minimum safety equipment and be adequately insured and bonded (if accepting money in advance of more than $100/person.

​If the vessel is a "6-pack" boat or "Uninspected Passenger Vessel", then it would be registered under an Oregon Outfitter Guide as a Guide vessel.

Use our “Online Lookup" feature or "Guides & Charters Lists" on our online store to see who's registered to conduct guiding business in Oregon. Ask to see their Charter or Outfitter Guide registration certificate or card, or look for the decal on the boat or vehicle. If the Outfitter Guide is an employee, they should be carrying a copy of the owner’s guide registration. When planning your adventure, use the resources at Travel Oregon to find ideas and registered Outfitter Guides to maximize your experience. You can verify Charter and  Outfitter Guide registrations by calling us at (503) 378-8587, option 4. ​​

If you’re thinking of becoming a guide, and you’d like to accept some sort of payment or benefit for assisting or instructing people on fishing, hunting, rafting, biking, hiking, rock climbing, bird watching, photographing or other similar outdoor activities on land or water you do not own or control, you first must be registered through the Marine Board. An Oregon Outfitter Guide registration allows you to guide in Oregon. It does not take the place of local, state or federal use permits, and is required to be issued a permit from federal agencies such as the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management or National Parks.  Make sure to check with other agencies to determine if any additional local, state or federal permits are required to provide guided activities on those lands/water. Links to our applications and forms are to the right, or you can apply online at our Boat Oregon Store. Please call the Outfitter Guide desk for additional assistance or e-mail us at 

  • ​A completed application
  • Certificate of liability insurance stating coverage for the activity you will provide
  • First Aid / CPR Red Cross or equivalent card (no online CPR certifications) for Outfitter Guides
  • $5000 Surety Bond (if taking payments in advance of over $100/person)
  • United States Coast Guard Operator License (if operating a Charter Veseel or Outfitter Guides operating in navigable or non-navigable waters) or Motorized Passenger Boat Operator's Certification (only for Outfitter Guides if operating only on non-navigable water)
  • Annual non-refundable fee (for Outfitter Guides: Oregon Residents, $150/yr, non-residents - see schedule; for Charter Vessels: $50/yr for OR registered boats, $100/yr for Documented Vessels, non-residents - see schedule on Charter application)
Outfitter Guide Requirements are based on Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 704​ and Oregon Administrative Rules, OAR Chapter 250 Division 16.​ Charter Vessel Requirements are based on Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter 830 and Oregon Administrative Rules, OAR Chapter 250, Division 15​

A Certificate of Liability Insurance not less than $500,000 combined single limit per occurrence which result in bodily injury or property damage​ covering the Outfitter Guide or Charter Vessel and their employees, must be current and on file at the Marine Board. The certificate must match the name and business name on the application, list the Marine Board as the certificate holder, list the operations (activities) covered, and if applicable, the types and number of boats used.

A current certificate issued to the Outfitter Guide and each employee or party of interest that meets the minimum standards set by the American Red Cross (Internet courses with no hands-on testing of CPR skills are not acceptable). Contact our office if you are unsure. A copy of the certificate for the Outfitter Guide must be submitted. The Outfitter Guide is responsible to make sure all employees carry valid First Aid /CPR certification.

The Charter Vessel owner or operator, and all Outfitter Guides must provide the names, addresses, and dates of birth of all employees, agents, and parties of interest who physically provide or who directly assist in physically providing outfitting and guiding services. Employees of fishing guides who conduct, lead or assist in angling activities, or operate or assist in the operation of a watercraft used for angling activities MUST be individually registered as Outfitter Guides. Prior to providing services, the Outfitter Guide must notify the Marine Board by submitting the information by mail, email, or "Account Update" link in the sidebar, noting any additions or deletions of employees.

A valid USCG Merchant Mariner Credential (MMC) must be carried by all Charter Vessel Captains. It must also be carried by Outfitter Guides or employees who operate a motorized boat in federally navigable waters of the United States. If an Outfitter Guide operates a motorized boat ONLY on non-federally navigable waters, the operator must have either a MMC or an OSMB Motorized Passenger Boat Operator's Certification (MPBOC). Copies of these certifications must be submitted or already on file.  See our "Guide Oregon" manual for the information regarding applying for the MPBOC.

​A $5000 Surety Bond naming the Oregon State Marine Board must be submitted for any Outfitter Guide, Charter Vessel or their agent who accepts deposits of more than $100 per person. An agent may be a broker, representative or booking company or website that may accept money on your behalf. A deposit is any money accepted before the anticipated or contracted date of service. ​

Check this chart for a quick reference to the safety equipment required for the type of guided activity or charter/guide decal issued.

Equipment Requirements

For the complete list, please refer to Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR) 250-016-0075 - 0077 (for whitewater, inland, and non-boating guides) and OAR 250-015-0010 (for charters and guides.)

Rules and statutes implemented in 2020 state that an Outfitter Guide must OFFER a helmet if the trip will go through Class III whitewater.  They may offer for rent or sale, and it may be verbal or in writing.  It is NOT a requirement to wear them.

ORS 704.070:
(1) A person who acts or offers to act as an outfitter and guide using boats to carry passengers on the waters of this state shall:

(e) On any section of waters rated as class III or higher on a commonly accepted scale of river difficulty, rent, sell or otherwise make available to all passengers helmets that meet the standards established by the board by rule. 

250-016-0075  Safety and Equipment Requirements for Whitewater River Outfitter and Guides

(4) To meet requirements of ORS 704.070(1)(e), helmets made available to passengers must meet the CE EN (European Committee for Standardization) 1385 standard. Helmets are considered to be available when the Outfitter and Guide:

(a) Sells or rents helmets, or otherwise causes the availability of helmets, at or near the watercraft rental location; or

(b) Provides notification to potential customers that Class III or higher waters will be encountered and allows the customer to decline the offer of a helmet verbally or in writing, or to otherwise obtain a helmet for use during the activity.​

If the Charter or Outfitter Guide conducts their service under a business name, all business corporations and Assumed Business Names MUST be registered with the Oregon Secretary of State's Business Registry. For more information or to register, go to:

  • Arizona: $​​300, Hunting and Fishing
  • California: $618 Hunting & Fishing; $150 other services
  • Nevada: $250, Hunting, Fishing,  $150 other services
  • Washington: Fishing: Below Longview Bridge: $2575, Above Longview Bridge: $1490, Sole State Waters: $760; All Other Services: $150​
  • Other states not listed: $150 any service​

All Charters and Outfitter Guides are required to report incidents that occur while providing their services​ to the Marine Board within 48 hours of the incident.  Notwithstanding the requirements for reporting boating incidents, these incidents are defined as an act which results in:

  • death or disappearance of any person;
  • injury or illness of any person requiring medical attention beyond minor first aid; 
  • damage exceeding $500 to public, private or guide property, excluding personal use items, or
  • emergency response from a local, state or federal agency.
Use the Incident Reporting Form on the right side of this page to submit an online report to the Marine Board.  

In Oregon, a Waterway Access Permit (WAP) is required for each non-motorized watercraft in use over 10' in length. Oregon registered motorized boats with current registration do not need an additional permit. The WAP Permit fee must be purchased separately from the Outfitter Guide Registration. Out-of-state motorized boats are required to purchase a $20 AIS Permit fee per boat. 

Waterway Access Permits can be ordered through our Boat Oregon Store​.

For questions about the permit purchasing options, visit the WAP FAQ page or email​.

Are you acting as an Illegal Guide? 
Accepting money or other forms of compensation for a ride in your boat could land you in trouble with the law. You are acting as a guide if your guests give you more than the cost of the consumable items used during the trip (e.g. ice, bait, boat fuel, lunch).

704.015 (3) Applicability of chapter
(a)     (A) “Costs or expenses for a trip” means the costs or expenses for food, fuel, bait or other consumable items used during a trip.
         (B) “Costs or expenses for a trip” does not include any costs or expenses related to equipment maintenance, insurance, moorage, leases or fees for the use of an area.
(b) “Trip” means the duration of an outdoor recreational activity beginning:
         (A) For water-based activities, at the point of departure from a dock, pier, float, moorage or shore-based landing where a person enters a watercraft; or
         (B) For land-based activities, at the trailhead or other entry point to the area where the outdoor recreational activity begins.

Providing false information when applying for registration is a Class A Misdemeanor. Guiding without a current Outfitter Guide registration is a Class A Misdemeanor. Conviction may result in a fine, imprisonment, and denial or revocation of an Outfitter Guide registration for up to 60 months.