SALEM, OR (KPTV) – The Oregon Legislature passed a bill Thursday that will require a new, slightly more expensive permit for certain boats on waterways around the state.
Now the bill is heading to Governor Kate Brown for her to sign in Salem.
Currently, if you own or rent any non-motorized watercraft 10 feet or longer, you pay an Aquatic Invasive Species Permit fee in Oregon.
Right now you pay $5 for a year permit and it’s $10 for a two-year permit.
Under the new permit you’d pay $17 for a year permit or $30 for a two-year permit.
Kids 14 and under don’t need one, and only one permit is needed per boat.
The money from the new permit would go toward both the Aquatic Invasive Species fund and a new fund dedicated to waterway access.
FOX 12 caught up with a group of paddle boarders who frequent the Willamette River. They’re an example of a growing trend the Oregon State Marine Board says it’s seen in non-motorized boating.
Ted Schatz says he’s been paddle boarding for years.
“When you're standing on the water it kind of gives you a unique view of everything around you,” Schatz said.
He’s from Vancouver and says getting that permit when he comes into Oregon is definitely top of mind.
“Everybody has to pay their bills in order to be out on the water, nobody wants to get the ticket for it,” he said.
He’s supportive of the idea to combat invasive species and give more waterway access.
“I do okay with access personally but I can see like at Willamette Park. For an example, the docks are relatively high they're designed for the sides of boats, so if you walk out the dock to put your board in the water and stuff like that it's a long reach to get down there,” Schatz said. “Having a nice dock that's more kayak/paddle board friendly that's a little bit lower would probably be a great thing.”
Bob Rueter, the founder of Gorge Performance already has to remind customers about these permits.
He says this could create a platform for a conversation on how to develop access to the river.
“I think they're probably just going to need some voices to help them along to find out what is needed, where options are - there's a lot of little hidden access points that no one would ever find and there's not parking available at those places,” Rueter said.
The Oregon State Marine Board says this would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.
There would be an education period to bring everyone up to speed before enforcement.
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