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For a high desert environment, there are numerous lakes and rivers within Deschutes County. Each year, from mid-April through October, thousands of motorized and non-motorized boaters recreate on these waters. Activities include fishing, camping, water skiing, waterfowl hunting, sailing, swimming and wakeboarding.
The Deschutes County Marine Patrol unit responds to and deals with law enforcement issues such as Boating under the Influence (BUI), speeding complaints, careless operation and water-related accidents. The unit conducts monthly Mandatory Boater Education classes, assisting the public in obtaining their mandatory Boater Education card. They also conduct public education classes in boating and water safety in area schools.
Because most of the high lakes are frozen over or snowbound during the winter, Deschutes County’s Marine unit is classified as a “seasonal” program. Four seasonal marine deputies, all of whom are retired law enforcement professionals, and four marine volunteers work from April through October providing a wide variety of services. They work closely with the Search and Rescue unit on drownings and other water-related accidents. They also conduct safety examinations on boats, ensuring that boaters and recreators are carrying the necessary equipment for their particular craft.
Support is provided through an annual contract with the Oregon State Marine Board. Among other things, the contract supplies funding for personnel, and the patrol boats that are used in the local program.
Links: Oregon State Marine Board
2014 Mandatory Boater Education Class Schedule
The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Oregon State Marine Board, has established the following dates in 2014 to assist boaters in obtaining their Mandatory Boater Education card. Those seeking their card need only attend one three-hour session, not all of them.
The Mandatory Boater Education law, passed by the 1999 Oregon Legislature, requires ALL Oregon resident boat operators of powerboats greater than 10 horsepower (including personal watercraft) and youths 12-15 operating ANY size powerboat, to take a course on basic boating skills and pass a written test to demonstrate basic boating knowledge. Upon passing a written test or approved course of instruction, the boater can apply for a boater education card which must be carried when operating a powerboat on Oregon waters.
This class is not intended for first-time boaters; those taking this class should have some previous boating experience, and should study the “Boat Oregon” study guide. Those guides are available free at the main Sheriff’s Office in Bend, any of the Sheriff’s Office substations in Terrebonne, Sisters or La Pine, and at All Seasons RV & Marine and Central Lake Marine in Bend. A more comprehensive 8-10 hour course for first-time boaters MAY be scheduled later in the summer if there is enough interest.
There is no charge for this class; students watch a video, have a short Q & A session and then take a 70 question multiple-choice answer test. Students who receive a 70% or better score on the test will be provided with the necessary paperwork to get their card, which costs $10 from the Marine Board. This is a one-time fee…the card is not a license, does not need to be renewed and is good for life. Many insurance companies offer a slight discount on boat insurance rates (when insurance may be required, as when financing a boat), for those who successfully obtain their cards.
April 11, 2014
May 9, 2014
July 11, 2014
September 12, 2014
To register for one of these sessions, please contact Sgt. Mike Biondi at 541-388-6503. Additional information can be found by clicking on the Oregon State Marine Board link above.