Central Oregonians planning to boat on the lakes and rivers in 2020 will need to consider several new laws passed in the spring by the Legislature and taking effect Wednesday.
The most significant change requires boat owners operating a motorboat over 10 horsepower to take a boat safety course and carry a boating safety education card. Although the law was in place before, the 60-day grace period has been eliminated. You must have the card when you get behind the wheel.
The course and card are similar to getting a driver’s license from the DMV. You cannot legally operate the boat without one. Out-of-state boating safety education cards are accepted in Oregon. Boat operators from states without the safety cards, will need an Oregon boater safety card.
Another new rule requires boaters to drain the water from water-holding compartments immediately after leaving a lake or river. Releasing water back into the waterbody minimizes the spread of aquatic invasive species. The fine for failing to “pull the plug” is $30 for non-motorized boats and $50 for motorized boats.
New rules also require boat rental businesses to register with the Oregon State Marine Board. There’s no charge associated with registration but failure to register carries a $265 fine.
The definition of reckless boating was updated to reflect motor vehicle codes.
The Marine Board and courts can now suspend a boating safety education card if the boat operator is convicted of reckless boating, or boating under the influence of intoxicants. Suspensions allow for one year if convicted of reckless boating or 1-3 years for a BUII.
The fine for not carrying a properly fitting life jacket was lowered from $265 to $115.
Fees for boat titles and registration have also changed. Boating safety and education cards cost $20 and boat title fees are $75. Replacing a lost boating safety and education card is $16.
Non-motorized boats 10 feet or longer now require a Waterway Access Permit, which replaces the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit. You can acquire a permit through ODFW’s eLicensing System. These are also available through the Marine Board’s online Boat Oregon store. Three permit options are available: seven-day permits for $5, one-year permits for $17 and two-year permits for $30.