Now that Memorial Day has come it is unofficially summer. Time to get out on the water. While fishermen and women have been out of the water for steelhead this spring the summer really brings people out onto the lakes and rivers. My office is near Willamette Falls and I see kayaks, paddle boards, and I am starting to see ski and wakeboard boats near the mouth of the Tualatin River. With so many different types of watercraft out there it can get busy. Unfortunately busy can lead to accidents. It is important to review safety guidelines and have your boat prepared for the season. Oregon State Marine Board Safety Information. In Oregon everyone age 12 and over who operates a boat with a motor of 10 horsepower or more must have a Boating Safety Certificate. ORS 830.086. You can get the certificate by taking a class, taking the online course, or taking the challenge test if you are an experienced boater. Boater Education Information. Of course when boating it is important to remember that law enforcement is always watching for boaters who have had too much to drink. Boating under the influence penalties are significant. ORS 830.325.
In the unfortunate circumstance where you are involved in an accident as a boater it is vital that you handle the incident properly. A boater who fails to properly respond and report an accident can be prosecuted. ORS 830.475. If you are involved in an accident that causes property damage you must provide your name, address, and boat identification number to the owner of the property. If the accident causes injury or death you must also stop your boat as close to the site of the accident and provide your information to all occupants of the other boat, or all individuals injured by the accident. You must also render assistance to those involved in the accident. This may require you to tow the other boat to shore, take on as passengers those injured and take them to shore and make arrangements for them to receive medical treatment. ORS 830.475. If you are involved in an accident in which there is an injury or more than $2,000 of damage you must also complete an accident report form and submit it to the State Marine Board. ORS 830.480. Oregon State Marine Board Recreational Boating Accident Report form. You can also be prosecuted for unsafe or reckless boat operation. ORS 830.305, ORS 830.315. Oregon also makes it clear that the operator of a boat is responsible for negligent behavior to the safe extent as if they were operating a car. ORS 830.330. Continue reading