Donate to the Oregon Familes for Boating PAC
The 2022 legislation that banned most boaters from doing their favorite towed water sports in the Newberg Pool (Willamette River) is a stark reminder that boaters need a stronger voice in Salem and more pro-boating legislators in office.
This year 15 pro-boating legislators, of which many were endorsed by Oregon Families for Boating in the 2022 election, introduced commonsense legislation to increase public access to towed water sports in the Newberg Pool. While we didn’t see the passage of this bill, we’ve started the important discussion of reversing the devastating effects of the Newberg Pool rules and have built significant support to bring this bill back in 2024.
Furthermore, it’s crucial we support pro-boating legislators across Oregon to ensure boater’s priorities are represented in Salem and more excessive restrictions are not introduced on our other favorite lakes and rivers. Your donations will help us advocate for pro-boating legislation and support pro-boating legislators.
NEWBERG POOL IMPACT
Ballast is not allowed in the Newberg Pool, yet the current law counts the unusable, ballast weight against the limit. Aligning to the allowable recreational boating use in the zone is just common sense. For example, a Scout 281 XSS weighs 5,457 pounds and a Mastercraft NXT-20 weighs 3,965 pounds. The Scout is legal to tow a tuber in the Newberg Pool even thought it is heavier in this context, yet the Mastercraft is not because its unusable factory installed ballast system put it over the 5,500 pound combined weight limit.
Simply put a 5,500-pound weight limit is too restrictive, just 7% of the 70+ recreational boat models available from popular manufacturers fall under it. Not to mention there is no peer-reviewed scientific information that illustrates any positive benefits of a 5,500-pound weight limit. A 7,500-pound weight limit gives the community the greater ability to purchase qualifying recreational boats.
The primary purpose of the Newberg Pool Congested Zone was to balance the positive benefits of boating fun and prevent negative impacts in populated areas, especially where homes and docks were present. The expansion of the zone to river mile 27 was a significant overreach as that section is largely uninhabited with virtually no homes or docks and is plenty wide enough for wake dissipation.
RECREATIONAL BOATING IMPACT
No. Wakesurfing will remain off limits in the Newberg Pool.
Ballast bags are compartments within a boat that holds water in an effort to stabilize the boat. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to fit different boats. The additional weight in the boat from the ballast creates a bigger wake for wakesurfers. Most recreational boats now come with a factory ballast system that will allow you to pump and fill with water to use as weight and drain when it is no longer needed.
The Newberg Pool was already one of the most regulated bodies of water in Oregon. Wake surfers are subject to a weight limit, required to obtain a special safety certification and only allowed in two small zones with no adjacent homes or docks.