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Waterway Access Permit FAQs

See the table below for answers to the most common questions:



Paddlecraft (SUPs, rafts, drift boats, kayaks, canoes, etc.) 10 feet long and longer will need to carry one permit per boat when in use. 

Waterway Access Permits can be purchased online through the Marine Board's Boat Oregon Store for the one calendar year permit  for $17 and two calendar year permits for $30, or ODFW's electronic licensing system (ELS) for all three permit options. The 7-day, one week permit is only available through the ODFW Electronic Licensing System or MyODFW app for $7.

​​Online - Visit our Boat Oregon Store to purchase a one or two-year permit.  Be sure to download the PDF and print the permit or have it ready to display on your mobile device for marine law enforcement​. ​​

OR  

*Note: ODFW charges an additional $2 transaction fee 


​Yes, but they're very limited and specific.

  • Non-motorized boats and float toys under 10 feet in length;
  • Federal, state, county and municipality-owned watercraft used for official business;
  • A ship's lifeboat used solely for lifesaving purposes;
  • Seaplanes;
  • Eleemosynary groups; (Eleemosynary organizations are those which are operated primarily as a part of organized activities for the purpose of teaching youths scout craft, camping, seamanship, self-reliance, patriotism, courage and kindred virtues). Defined in ORS 830.790.​
  • ​Surfboards, sailboards and kiteboards.​
  • A person/outfitter guides​ operating a boat on a federally designated wild and scenic river for which a separate fee system is in place.​
Waterway Access Permits will not be required on ODFW-designated Free Fishing Weekends/Days. The 2020 Free Fishing dates are:
  • ​February 15-16 (Saturday & Sunday), President's Day Weekend
  • June 6-7 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • August 15-16 (Saturday & Sunday)
  • November 27-28 (Friday & Saturday), Thanksgiving Weekend
  • Youth 13 or younger are not required to carry a permit. When a youth turns 14, then a permit is required.

  • ​Be sure to print out a copy of your permit AND save it to your computer or mobile device.
  • Remember where you purchased your permit. Permits are also sold through ODFW license agents, the MyODFW app, and ODFW's electronic licensing system (ELS). More information can be found here: https://myodfw.com/ELS
  • Tyvek tags are no longer sold so a new permit would need to be purchased.
  • ​If a sailboat is between 10 and 11.9 feet, the boater will need a purchase a Waterway Access Permit.
  • Sailboats 11.9' and under are not required to register with the Marine Board unless their sailboat has an auxiliary motor.
  • Sailboats 12' and over are required to register, and do not need to purchase a Waterway Access Permit. Fees are included in motorboat registrations.

  • Easy! Go to the Boat Oregon Store, click "Online Services" from the top, right-hand portion of the screen, and select "Boat Rental Business Registration." You can also register via mail or in person at the Marine Board with this form.
  • ​​Non-motorized liveries (rental businesses) will receive a quantity discount on permits​ which must be purchased directly from the Oregon State Marine Board. ​

  • ​​YES. The USCG determined that stand-up paddle boards are considered boats for the purpose of life jacket and sound producing device requirements. Based on this determination, and if the stand-up paddle board is 10 feet or longer, the operator would need to have a permit.

  • Boats from Idaho that have an Idaho Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention sticker do not need an Oregon permit if boating within the mainstem of the Snake River.
  • Boats from Washington do not need an Oregon permit if boating within the mainstem of the Columbia River.
  • Boats from Washington or Idaho may launch in Oregon tributaries within ONE RIVER MILE of the Columbia or Snake rivers (common interstate boundary waters) without a permit, only for the purposes of accessing the Columbia and Snake rivers.
  • Other out-of-state motorboats are required to purchase an aquatic invasive species prevention permit ($20). This permit is valid for one calendar year.​

  • ​​No.  Non-motorized boats are NOT required to be titled or registered.
  • Waterway Access Permits are transferrable to other non-motorized boats. One permit per boat when operating on the water.

  • ​​No. Operators of surfboards, sailboards, and kiteboards are exempt from carrying a Waterway Access Permit (OAR 250-010-0760)(2c).

  • Waterway Access Permits are not required for motorized boats since fees are already paid through registration. However, permits are still required when operating non-motorized boats, even if the operator also owns a registered motorboat. ​ ​

All drift boats with auxiliary motors are required to be titled and registered. Motorized boats such as these are not required to purchase a Waterway Access Permit because their 2-year registration already makes them compliant with state law​. 

  • Motorboats registered in Washington or Idaho do not need an Oregon-issued Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit to operate or launch from Oregon into the Columbia River (Washington boaters ) or Snake River (Idaho boaters), or tributaries within ONE RIVER MILE of the Columbia and Snake Rivers for the purposes of accessing them.
  • Washington and Idaho motorized boaters need a non-resident Aquatic Invasive Species permit when boating in Oregon's state waters including reservoirs, the Multnomah Channel, the Willamette, Deschutes, John Day and other rivers.
  • Washington boaters pay a surcharge for aquatic invasive species prevention when they register their motorboats in Washington.
  • ​Idaho has a similar Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit program.  Registered motorboaters from Idaho have a permit affixed to their boats. 


  • ​No.  Non-motorized permits are like a fishing license that the paddler needs to have with them when using the boat on the water. 

  • ​​No.  Motorized boats have a registration decal that adheres to the bow of the motor boat -and are not transferrable to other watercraft.  A separate permit needs to be purchased for paddlecraft 10 feet long and longer.

  • Out-of-state motor boaters who bring a motorized boat into the state and launch in Oregon's waters are required to purchase an out-of-state AIS Permit. The permit costs $20 through the Marine Board's Boat Oregon Store.
  • ​Permits can also be purchased through ODFW for $22 ($20 permit plus $2 transaction fee):

ODFW license agents​, and;

ODFW offices.​


  • The out-of-state motorized AIS permit is NOT transferrable to paddlecraft.
  • If the paddlecraft is in use, then the operator will need to purchase and carry a Waterway Access Permit, (which is transferrable to other paddlecraft).


  • ​​Yes. Oregon waters are defined as from the coastal shoreline to three miles out to sea.  


​Go to myodfw.com​

  1. Select the “Buy a License" button.
  2. Click on Buy a license in top right corner​ 
  3. The user can either Login or use the Guest Checkout (the guest checkout is the grey box at the bottom). 
  4. Then scroll to the bottom to "Guest Checkout" where you can see the Waterway Access permits.​
  5.  Make your selection.  Click "add" if purchasing more than one permit. 
  6. Click on the “cart" icon and follow the transaction prompts.
  7. Print your permits and carry them in a water-secure container or compartment.  BE SURE TO PRINT BEFORE CLOSING THE BROWSER WINDOW. There is no way to recover the permit.
  8. ​​Remember which agency you purchased the permit from. ODFW and OSMB will have different and unique identifying numbers for law enforcement checking for compliance.​.


​Revenue will be used to support boating facility grants for state, local governments, park organizations and tribal governments for the acquisition of property, leases, or easements in order for the public to access waterways and construction and maintenance of boating access facilities.  Funds will also be available for public bodies and non-profit entities to develop safety education courses and to purchase boating equipment to reduce barriers for underserved communities who wish to offer recreational boating through other local programs.  

View the story map with examples of boating access projects

Review the non-motorized facility and education grant applications and comment!​ The Board will award grants during a special Board meeting scheduled for August 27, 2020.

  • ​YES. AIS Tyvek tags that expire December 31, 2020 will be honored and a Waterway Access Permit will not be required for tag holders in 2020. 
  • Tyvek tags are no longer being sold.​



Pull the Plug Law -Effective January 1, 2020

  • Boaters will be required to “pull the plug" when leaving a waterbody and during transport to allow any water-holding compartments to drain.
  • The fine for failure to pull the plug is $30 for non-motorized and $50 for motorized and is a Class D violation.

If a person bypasses a mandatory boat inspection station, they can be ordered back by law enforcement if the station is within 5 miles. If a person fails to go back to the station for an inspection/decontamination, they can be charged with a Class C misdemeanor ($1,250 and or 30 days in jail).


Enforcement and Fines 


Beginning August 1, 2020, boaters who operate a non-motorized boat 10 feet or more in length without Waterway Access Permit permit can be fined $115 and out-of-state motorboats who do not possess a $20 out-of-state AIS permit can be fined $50.  Oregon motorized boats must have a valid registration displayed on the motorboat. 

ORS 830.990: 1. Violation of ORS 830.565 by a person operating a sailboat that is at least 12 feet in length or a motorboat is punishable by a fine of $50. 2. Violation of the requirement to carry a Waterway Access Permit is punishable by a fine of $115.
Mandatory Boat Inspections
All Boaters are REQUIRED to Stop if Inspection Station is Open
Inspection teams are made up of specially trained personnel employed with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.  ALL boaters are required to stop at designated roadside inspection stations. 

Inspection teams will look inside and outside boats (including kayaks and canoes mounted on vehicle racks) for invasive species.
Any area that is capable of storing water for extended periods of time will be inspected. 

If a motorized boat is deemed "clean," a member of the inspection team will affix a special zip tie around the bow of the boat and the trailer winch. This is proof the boat passed inspection and is clean for launching.  Once the boat is launched, the zip tie will break away from the winch.  Boaters are asked to pick up the remnants and properly discard them in the trash or plastic recycle container at the launch ramp. 

Inspections take approximately 10 minutes.  If a boat is contaminated with invasive species, the inspection team will decontaminate the craft on-site.  This could take anywhere between 20 minutes to 1 hour. 

Inspectors will also spend time educating the boater about properly cleaning, draining and drying their craft before launching into Oregon waterways.

Inspection stations are set up for the current recreational boating season at the points of entry into Oregon and will also be set up at random locations. Failure to stop at an inspection station could result in a fine of $115 fine.

SECTION 1. ORS 570.855 is amended to read:
570.855 (1) The State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Marine Board and the State Department of Agriculture may require a person operating or transporting a recreational or commercial watercraft to stop at a check station for the purpose of inspecting the watercraft for the presence of aquatic invasive species:

[(b)] (2) The Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Marine Board and the State Department of Agriculture may decontaminate, or recommend decontamination of. any recreational or commercial watercraft that is inspected at a check station operated under the authority of this section.

[(2)] (3) All check stations operated under authority of this section must be plainly marked by signs that comply with all state and federal laws and must be staffed by at least one uniformed employee of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Marine Board or the State Department of Agriculture trained in inspection and decontamination of recreational or commercial watercraft.


Effective January 1, 2020, Waterway Access Permits are required for boats 10 feet long and longer (based on he maximum length of the boat when measured along its longest axis).
Permits can be purchased through the MyODFW app (electronic licensing system) and one and two-year permits through the Marine Board's Boat Oregon Store
Purchasing options are: One week for $7 (valid for 7-days from the date of purchase available only through ODFW), one calendar year for $17, and two calendar years for $30. Tyvek tags are no longer sold.
Failure to show the permit is a Class D violation with a $115 fine.
Fees will fund the aquatic invasive species prevention program and waterway access grants for non-motorized boating facility grant projects.

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