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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.


In 2022, the Oregon State Legislature passed SB 1589, banning wake surfing and significantly limiting towed watersports such as tubing, waterskiing and wakeboarding in the Newberg Pool. The impacts of this law have been devastating to the Newberg Pool boating community and the businesses that depend on their support.

Recreation Stunted

Upon passage, the majority of families certified to participate in towed watersports were banned from using the Newberg Pool because of the law's egregiously low 5,500-pound weight limit. Without the ability to even take their kids tubing, it is estimated that hundreds of families stopped or significantly reduced recreating in the Newberg Pool.

Economic Decline

The absence has been felt up and down the river. Foot traffic is significantly down at popular stores and accessories shops serving boaters, leading to sales declines as high as 50%. With such steep restrictions to their favorite activities’ some families have abandoned boat ownership all together. Sadly, others have even moved out of the area due to the law.

Small Business Impact

SB 1589 created significant challenges for local businesses and their ability to provide livable wage jobs. The opportunity to purchase a qualified new boat is virtually impossible - just 7% of all models from popular manufacturers are under the new weight limit. This led millions of dollars in negative economic impact due to boat order cancelations and future sales losses.


SB 1071 was a step in the right direction towards supporting reasonable public access to the
Newberg Pool and local businesses in the area. Brining this lesislation back in 2024 would accomplishes three meaningful changes:
Common Sense Weight Defenition

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.

Fair 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.

Align the Zone to its Purpose

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 brings significant social and economic value to our state.







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Will wakesurfing be allowed back in the Newberg Pool congested zone?

No. Wakesurfing will remain off limits in the Newberg Pool.

What is ballast?

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.

Where was wakesurfing allowed prior to SB 1589?

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.