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Willamette River Rules for Boat Operation

Special laws and rules were enacted on the Willamette River in 2019 - 2020 from river mile 30 to 50 in the Newberg Pool and from Willamette Falls to downtown Portland (Hawthorne Bridge) in 2021. These rules allow certain boating-related activities within certain proximities to structures.

 Hawthorne Bridge Upstream to Willamette Falls

 Willamette River Maps -Newberg Pool / Lower River


Newberg Pool / Willamette River Rulemaking History

Lower Willamette River Rulemaking History


Towed Watersports Endorsement & Education Requirement:

Per ORS 830.649, people engaged in wakeboarding and wake surfing in the Newberg Pool (Willamette River, RM 30-50, roughly between Roger's Landing and Bernert Landing) are required to carry a Towed Watersports Education Card. This is proof for law enforcement that the boat operator is knowledgeable in towed watersports safety, wave management techniques, and operator responsibilities for accident prevention. Boat operators can complete this requirement by studying our course material and taking an equivalency exam. In addition, boats used for wakeboarding and wake surfing must have decals certifying that the owner/operator completed the Towed Watersports Education Program and that their boat is in compliance with weight restrictions set by the board in administrative rule.

Wakeboarder on the Willamette River

Locations with Rules/Education Signage

Signs will vary by location and are translated into several languages.

  • Cathedral Park
  • Swan Island Boat Ramp
  • Willamette Park
  • Sellwood Temporary Tie-up Dock
  • Milwaukie Bay Park
  • Tryon Cove Temporary Tie-up Dock
  • Foothills Temporary Tie-up Dock
  • Roehr City Park
  • George Rogers Park
  • Cedaroak Boat Ramp
  • Meldrum Bar Boat Ramp
  • Clackamette Park
  • Jon Storm Temporary Tie-up Dock
  • Sportcraft Landing Boat Ramp

The pass-through zone is seasonal, from May 1 - September 30 each year, while the other rules for boat operations in Multnomah and Clackamas Counties are year-round.

Failure to adhere to the rules is a Class B Violation with a $265 fine. 

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