The Oregon State Marine Board met virtually on October 27 and were provided with several information topics by subject matter experts, in addition to discussing 2023 legislative concepts and potential rulemaking around mini-jet boat operations.
The agency, with Board direction, will develop legislative concepts around life jacket wear and improvements to the Outfitter Guide and Charter Program. The agency will continue working with stakeholders and the Guide Advisory Committee to develop concept language. The agency will plan on conducting statewide listening sessions to gather public input on the concepts in 2022.
Additionally, a presentation was given from agency Boating Safety Program staff about a newer form of boat, commonly referred to as mini-jets. These lightweight crafts have jet propulsion, are fast, powerful and can operate in extremely shallow water conditions. The Board initiated the rulemaking process and asked agency staff to gather input and propose rules that would regulate this type of watercraft similarly to personal watercraft. The agency will be soliciting public comments after developing the proposed rule language.
In the last information item, a presentation from regional staff summarized observations and survey results on the impact of new rules on the Lower Willamette River, from Willamette Falls to the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown Portland. Over 1500 boaters, homeowners, and other river users participated in the online survey. The general sentiment is the rules are improving safety, but more work is recommended to inform the recreational public around the new rules of operation to ensure all river users are knowledgeable and understand the need for such rules with the goal of ensuring maximum participation, minimizing conflict, and improve recreational experiences for everyone.
Presentation materials and a recording of the meeting are available online.