HB 2652 –“The Helmet Law," requires outfitter guides to offer helmets (whether for purchase or rent) to customers when recreating on waterways with Class III or higher whitewater rapids. The Marine Board approved rules for implementation during their October Board meeting, held on October 24, 2019.
HB 3168 –Grants authority to the Marine Board to regulate non-motorized lakes in statute, to allow electric motors with a not-to-exceed slow-no wake speed. A petition was received and accepted by the Board to allow electric motors on Gold Lake in Lane County. Public comments are being accepted through December 20, 2019, and a public hearing is scheduled.
HB 2351 –“Willamette Greenway" requires the Marine Board to consider Landu Use Planning Goal 15 when considering rules or special regulations relating to the operation of boats within the Willamette River Greenway from Cottage Grove to the confluence at the Columbia River. The Board considered the Goal 15 during their October 24 Board meeting and opened rulemaking for the Newberg Pool and Lower Willamette River from below the falls to the confluence of the Columbia River. Rule Advisory Committees will be convened and will consider rules to bring to the Board in the future.
HB 2352 –Creates a towed watersports education endorsement for boaters who wakeboard and wake surf on the Willamette River between RM 30 – 50 in the Newberg Pool. This education requirement applies to the boat operator who must pass an approved towed watersports education course (with a minimum passing score of 70%) and affix a special decal on their boat. To keep the costs as low as possible, the education course will be in the form of a home study manual (downloadable PDF) and a proctored exam held in various locations near the Newberg Pool, local sheriff's office and the Marine Board office in Salem. The cost of the course is $60 and the boat operator will receive a towed watersports education card and decal for their boat. The decal is specific to the boat. The boat operator must also report to the Marine Board on the endorsement application, the factory loading weight, and other manufacturer data as part of the law requirements. The cost of replacing an endorsement card or decal is $15. The Board approved rules to implement this endorsement during their October 24 Board meeting.
With all of these program updates and fee changes, the agency is working closely with marine law enforcement and other agency partners, rental businesses, and facility managers to implement these new laws as smoothly as possible and to allow time to coordinate education and outreach. The ultimate goal is not to cite people, but to educate -for improved safety for all users, to protect our waterways from aquatic invasive species, and understand the impacts of boat operations on shorelines, sensitive habitats, and property. The Marine Board's mission is to "serve Oregon's recreational boating public through education, enforcement, access, and environmental stewardship for a safe and enjoyable experience." These new laws touch on each area of our mission, but ultimately, it's up to each and every boater to display courteous and considerate behavior for other users, pulling the plug and other boat maintenance practices and taking responsibility for your own safety -that matters most.
HB 2835 -The bill requires state agencies to post notice before restricting or closing a site on state public lands where the public may access floatable natural waterways. The bill also requires the Oregon Department of Transportation to notify certain agencies of recommendations to fund bridge projects under the draft Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and consider public access sites near proposed bridge projects. The Marine Board will be notified by state agency partners of any construction closures and will post this information on the agency's interactive Boat Oregon Map, which currently shows all of the developed public access sites in the state. Boating access facilities are owned and operated by city, county, state and federal agencies.