Pull the plug

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New Oregon statutes require boaters to “Pull the Plug” and “Clean-Drain-Dry” their boating equipment to stop the spread of invasive aquatic species. 

• Non-motorized boats must be overturned to drain and be wiped dry, to eliminate carrying any plant or animal invasive species  to new locations. Failure to do so carries a $30 fine for non-motorized boaters. 

• Motorized boaters are required to “pull the plug” when leaving a waterbody and during transport, to drain any water-holding compartments. This includes live bait wells, bilges, the boat hull, and other places where mussels or snails or other invasive species could hide. For motorized boaters who do not comply, the fine would be $50 and is a Class D violation. 

• Law enforcement officers can order a person back to an aquatic species boat inspection station, like the one in Brookings, if the boater bypasses the station and is within five miles when stopped. Failure to return to the inspection station for decontamination and an inspection can result in a Class C misdemeanor ($1,250 fine and/or 30 days in jail). 

• In addition, there’s a new “Waterway Access Permit” that replaces the “Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit” for non-motorized boats 10 feet or more in length. Paddlecraft (SUPs, rafts, drift boats, kayaks, canoes, etc.) 10 feet long and longer will need to carry one permit per boat when in use. Permits are transferrable to other manually-powered craft. Surfboards, sailboards and kiteboards are exempt.

Permits can be obtained through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s “eLicensing” system or through the Oregon Marine Board’s Boat Oregon Store. A one-year permit is $17,  two years for $30. A one-week permit (seven days) is $5 (through ODFW). Proceeds support invasive species prevention programs, and facility grants for improvements or development of access for non-motorized boating use.

• Visit currypilot.com for other articles about Oregon’s boat inspection program and the Brookings Boat Inspection Station. 

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