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Yes, I’m a lawyer, but in a former life I was a YMCA boating instructor, camp counselor and life guard. In that context safety was front and center. Sadly, I have seen safety take a back to recreation as children become young adults… until tragedy strikes.

Memorial Day weekend will be here in a few days so NOW is a great time to remind all my friends and clients that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Keep in mind that most safety rules were enacted in response to serious injury. Here I focus on Oregon boating safety rules, precautions and insurance.

1. Oregon Boating Safety Certificate
All persons operating a boat of 10 horsepower or more must take an Oregon approved boating safety course and carry a boating safety card. It only costs $10! The course is $25.50. Here is the link to get a boating safety card which does not expire. (Note a boating safety card is not a boating license). See ORS 830.086.
https://www.oregon.gov/OSMB/boater-info/Pages/Motorized-Mandatory-Education.aspx

2. Drinking and Boating
Operating a boat while under the influence of any intoxicant is illegal. ORS 30.325. Also the owner of a boat is responsible for negligent operation of a boat just as an owner of an auto would be. ORS 30.330. Reckless operation of a boat is aslo prohibited in Oregon waters. ORS 30.315.

3. Boating Accidents
Oregon law requires boaters to promptly respond and report boating accidents. ORS 830.475. Also promptly report any boating accident to your boat insurer. If an accident happens, you must provide your NAME, ADDRESS, and BOAT ID # to all occupants of THE OTHER BOAT. In Oregon you must AID THOSE HURT by towing their boat to shore if needed and helping the injured get medical help. ORS 830.475. You must file a boat accident report for all boating accidents involving injury or property damage over $2k.

4. Boating Insurance
Your auto insurance probably only covers you when you are tailoring your boat. Purchase boating insurance to cover damage to your own boat as well as damage caused by your liability to others. Different types of boats (Ex. Wave runner v. sailboat v. motor boat). It’s best to purchase boating insurance from an agent who is knowledgeable about your boat and your exposures. Boating insurance, unlike Oregon auto insurance, does not require no fault medical insurance. Discuss the need for medical insurance for boat injury accidents with your insurance company as many health insurance policies exclude coverage for injuries caused by someone else’s fault.
Contact Richard Rizk at (503) 245-5677 or rich@rizklaw.com