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Waterway Access Permit FAQs

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

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, the a Waterway Access Permit is required for boats 10' long and longer
Permits can be purchased through ODFW's eLicensing system and one and two-year permits through the Marine Board's Boat Oregon Store. 
The permit purchase options are: 1 week for $5 (valid for 7-days from the date of purchase through ODFW), 1 calendar year for $17, and 2 calendar years for $30. Tyvek tags will no longer be sold.
Enforcement for compliance with the permit requirements begins August 1, 2020. Failure to show the permit is a Class D violation with a $115 fine.
Fees will help fund the aquatic invasive species prevention program and waterway access grants for non-motorized boating facility grant projects.


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