An official website of the State of Oregon
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A "wake" refers to the path of moving waves a boat generates and is a product of the boat size, weight, hull shape, boat speed, boat trim, and water depth. A boat propelled by the force of the engine transfers this energy into the wake. All boats create a wake, and all boaters are responsible for their wake. Changing how you operate your boat speed will also change the wake features. You can lower your impact on those around you. Paddlers also need to gain the skill of maneuvering into a wake to prevent swamping or capsizing.
Watch your Speed:
As the boat operator, it can be easy to control your wake. Understanding the speeds under which your boat operates is the first step. Oregon has a specific definition for what it means to operate at "Slow -No Wake" speed: Violation of the snow -no wake rule is a Class B violation and can result in fines.
In Oregon, there are also “statewide proximity rules" for slow-no wake operation that apply on all waterways (OAR 250-010-0025): Operators of boats must operate at slow -no wake:
The operator may be liable for damage caused by the wake. Often the boat operator can cause a large wake unintentionally. If you drop to the transition speed instead of down to the displacement speed, the wake size will increase. It's easy to avoid this pitfall by making a habit of checking your wake as it hits the shore.
The US Coast Guard has authority over the boat operations of commercial vessels. Slow down far enough in advance of sensitive areas to give yourself time to drop to displacement speed. This will lessen your wake's impact. Wake boat operators should pick up surfers/wakeboarders by powering down and coming off-plane before entering a turn vs. a power turn. The time it takes to complete each type of turn is almost the same. But the power turn creates roller wakes that can stack with other waves. This situation can cause negative impacts on others. A slow turn helps evenly disperse wakes.Limiting Your Wake
What to do if you get “waked"
Chances are you will face a large wake created by someone else at some point. Here are some tips to safely navigate through a wake:
Interactive Boat Oregon Map with data layer for local area rules
Towed Watersports Education Program
Lower Willamette River Rules for Boat Operations
Newberg Pool Congestion Zone Rules (RM 55 at the confluence of the Yamhill River to RM 26.6 at Willamette Falls)
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