April 15, 2022 – Today, despite overwhelming opposition and expert testimony refuting Senate Bill 1589’s scientific merit, it has gone into law. We would like to thank the boating community for your unwavering commitment to speak out against this unnecessary legislation. Thousands of Oregonians urged Governor Brown to veto the bill because of the lack of data available to support its claims and the impact it would have on local families and small business. Unfortunately, the bill was not vetoed or signed, which means it automatically goes into law today.
This legislation will significantly impact boaters who recreate in the Newberg Pool and the small businesses that depend on their support. According to legislative analysts almost 90% of tow boats currently offered by major manufacturers are over the 5,500 pound combined weight limit. Senate Bill 1589 also sets a dangerous precedent for future restrictions. Starting today:
·● The Newberg Pool will be extended from Willamette Falls all the way to the mouth of the Yamhill River
··● Wake surfing is banned in the area outright
··● All other users engaged in towed water sports such as tubing, water skiing and wakeboarding will be required to obtain a special safety certification
··● Only boats under 5,500 pounds (dry weight + full ballast capacity) will be eligible for the special safety certification
This bill was pushed under the guide of environmental protection, yet local experts including fisheries scientist at Mount Hood Environmental and ecosystem restoration engineer David Gorman have testified that these assertions lack merit. The Oregon State Marine Board also confirmed with the Legislative Policy and Research Office that they are “not aware of where the 5,000-lb weight-limited proposed in Senate Bill 1589 is derived from.
Oregon is quickly becoming one of the least friendly places for recreational boating in the entire nation. Over the last two years bans or significant towed water sports restrictions have been enacted across an unprecedented 41 miles of the Upper and Lower Willamette River.
Oregon Families for Boating is committed to ensuring boating opportunities are accessible to all Oregonians. We are urging the Oregon State Marine Board to conduct the study proposed in the bill to increase the boat weight limit and will explore all avenues to come up with a more sensible solution for all users to safely share the Newberg Pool. Keeping our waterways safe and healthy is a top priority and we will continue to advocate for education and enforcement, rather than overregulation.
Current Newberg Pool Towed Watersports Certificate holders were sent instructions about renewals or reimbursements depending on if their boat qualified under the new rules. More details are available on the Oregon State Marine Board website.
Now is the Time for Action
Oregon is quickly becoming one of the least friendly places for recreational boating in the entire nation. Over the last two years bans or significant towed water sports restrictions have been enacted across an unprecedented 41 miles of the Willamette River. Oregon Families for Boating is committed to ensuring boating opportunities are accessible to all Oregonians and we need your help to change the tide. Here are three actions all boaters should take:
#1 Donate to Pro-boating Candidates
With increasing overregulation of Oregon’s waterways, the boating community’s engagement in the political process is more important than ever. That’s why, Oregon Families for Boating has created its own Political Action Committee (PAC) to ensure our voices are heard in the state Capitol. Help us support the campaigns of pro-boating candidates in the upcoming elections. Donate now: https://secure.c-esystems.com/oregonfamiliesforboating/donation.aspx
#2 Vote for Pro-boating Candidates
Another way Oregonians can advocate for fair access to our waterways is to support elected officials who voted against Senate Bill 1589. Many are coming up for reelection soon. Click here for a complete list of how our elected officials cast their vote. In addition, stay tuned for the Oregon Families for Boating election guide by following us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We’ll be recommending pro-boating candidates to vote for throughout the election season.
#3 Wake Responsibly
Last, but certainly not least, always practice courteous boating behavior to ensure every moment on Oregon’s lakes and rivers is safe and enjoyable for all. Be sure to minimize repetitive passes, stay at least 200 feet away from docks and shorelines and keep music at reasonable levels. And don’t be afraid to kindly explain our code of conduct to anyone you see who is acting out of line so that wake sports can be accessible for generations to come. Take the pledge to Wake Responsibly today at: www.wakeresponsibly.com