Wakeboarders and wakesurfers need to get educated
With the passage of legislation in the last session of the Legislature, boat operators engaged in wakeboarding and wake surfing in a section of the Willamette River are now required to undergo training under a new program administered by a state agency.
The Towed Watersports Education Program, administered by the Oregon State Marine Board, came about after passage of House Bill 2352 and applies to what is commonly known as the Newberg Pool, a roughly 20-mile stretch of water that extends from Newberg to Oregon City.
Those boaters towing wakeboarders and wakesurfers must now successfully complete a towed watersports education course, after which they will receive an endorsement similar to a boat safety education card.
The law also requires the owner/operator to report their boat's make, model, year of manufacture and loading weight (dry weight plus factory ballast capacity as reported by the manufacturer).
In order to receive the decal that authorizes a watercraft to tow a wakeboarder or wakesurfer, a boat's loading weight must be less than 10,000 pounds.
Boats exceeding the weight limit are not allowed to engage in watersports activities, although they still can cruise through the area or engage in other activities such as fishing, swimming or picnicking.
The education course is offered as a home study and proctored exams can be scheduled at a number of locations, including through the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office (503-434-7506) and Oregon State Marine Board (503-378-8587 option 2).
The cost of the course is $60 and successful graduates will receive a decal for their boat through the mail; additional or replacement decals are $15.
The decals are good for two calendar years and must be renewed, although future testing is not required.
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