For the past five years the Oregon State Marine Board has engaged with the non-motorized boating
community to learn how the Marine Board can better meet the needs of the community. The
initiative came out of the Marine Board's 2011-2016 Strategic Plan
was released in 2010. Through this initiative, the Marine Board convened the Non-Motorized
Boating Advisory Committee.
1) Actively integrate non-motorized boater needs and participation into agency operations
2) Increase outreach to, and communication with, all boater user groups
3) Explore equitable and appropriate fees for non-motorized boaters
4) Balance the needs of motorized and non-motorized boaters
5) Address facility issues to accommodate the needs of all boaters.
The Strategic Plan notes the explosive growth of non-motorized boating. Activities that once had
negligible impact on waterways and boating services have now surpassed motorized boating for
person-days on the water, and the growth continues to be exponential. The Marine Board has been
working to better serve these boaters, and to determine how to fund current Marine Board work and
future work that supports these activities. Outreach through a series of public meetings across
the state, an online survey, and meetings of the Non-Motorized Boating Advisory Committee
resulted in a unanimous recommendation of the Committee to recommend to the Board a Non-Motorized
Boating Program that includes elements to address access, safety, education and funding. As an
outcome of this process the Marine Board is proposing legislation for the 2017 legislative
session that includes a new fee for paddlesports.
In the past, American Whitewater has actively opposed efforts by the Marine Board to charge user
fees for paddlesports. This new proposal however was developed with input from the paddlesports
community including some of our members who have served on the committee. The legislative
proposal responds to several of the past criticisms we have raised by establishing a dedicated
fund for non-motorized boating, clearly identifying the agency responsible for implementing the
program with dedicated staff to serve non-motorized boating, up-front development of a strategic
plan with robust public input, and a significant investment in developing a realistic budget
American Whitewater has not taken a formal position on the legislation and we encourage feedback
in two ways. We are conducting a survey of our members and are particularly interested in
perspectives from those who live in Oregon and those who visit the state for paddlesports.
Additionally, if you are an Oregon resident you can reach out directly to your state legislative
representatives. You can do this now or wait until legislation is introduced.
Background and Key Provisions of Draft Legislation
The Non-Motorized Boating Advisory Committee has released draft legislation that we expect will
be introduced in the 2017 legislative session. We are seeking input from our members on this
legislation which includes the following key elements:
1) A non-motorized boat would be defined as a boat that is not propelled by machinery, but would
not include single inner tubes, pool toys, surfboards, or body boards (Section 1.8 and 1.9).
2) A voluntary non-motorized boating education program would be established that includes a
course of instruction and examination for non-motorized boat operators (Section 4.2). The Marine
Board may issue grants to non-profit organizations in providing education about non-motorized
boat use (Section 4.3.a) or approve the use of commercially provided safety courses that meet
standards established by the Marine Board (Section 4.3.b).
3) A new grant program would be established to support public access to waterways for
non-motorized boating for the purchase of land, leases, or easements; construction, renovation,
expansion, or development of public boating facilities for non-motorized boating use;
construction, renovation, expansion, or development of public play parks for non-motorized
boating use; and modifying or upgrading existing public boating facilities to accommodate or
incorporate non-motorized boat use (Section 6.2.a). The grant program would also support
technical services to support these activities as well as operations and maintenance (Section
6.2.b and 6.2.c). This program would be initially funded at $1.1 million per biennium (two-year
budget cycle) with anticipated growth to $1.6 million and be distributed between construction,
facility maintenance, and law enforcement with more investment in construction in the early
4) A new non-motorized boating permit would be required to boat on Oregon waterways for any
individual 14 or older operating a non-motorized boat (section 7). A key exception would be for a
designated wild and scenic river for which a separate fee system is in place—e.g. Rogue,
Deschutes, John Day (Section 7.2.c). The fee would be $4 for a one-week permit, $12 for an annual
permit, or $20 for a biennial permit and a separate fee structure for boat livery operators
(Section 9). Agents selling the permits would be authorized to charge an additional $2 service
fee (Section 8.4). The Marine Board would also authorized to combine the boating permit with the
aquatic invasive species permit (Section 8.7) that is currently $5 per boat for non-motorized
boats 10 feet and longer.
5) Fees from the boating permit would be placed in a new dedicated account known as the
Non-Motorized Boating Program Fund (Section 9.2). Advertising proceeds could also be deposited in
this account (Section 12), along with direction appropriations from the legislature (Section
13.2.a.C), or gifts, grants, or contributions from public or private sources (Section 13.2.b).
Total anticipated budget for the program would be $1.67 million in the first biennium and growing
to $2.30 million within the third biennium from enactment. In addition to the grant program
described above, $269,094 with anticipated increase to $400,979 would fund 2.5 full time
equivalent staff to include a full-time coordinator to work on education, partnerships, grants,
etc.; 1/2 time assistant to answer phones, help with permits, etc.; and a full time person in
facilities to work on mitigating access with partners (attend meetings, help with design, etc.)
Of the remaining budget, $205,479 with anticipated increase to $230,529 would go to educational
materials, signs, educational grants and outreach; and $37,500 with anticipated increase to
$$52,250 would go to capital expenditures.
6) All individuals operating a non-motorized craft (an object, other than a boat, that is capable
of supporting a person on the water such as an inner tube, air mattress, pool toy, surfboard, or
body board) in a river or stream would be required to wear a personal floatation device of a type
prescribed by the Marine Board (Section 11).