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The Oregon State Marine Board reminds all boaters to be good neighbors on the water. If your boat’s wake swamps or capsizes another person’s boat and puts those people in danger, do the right thing and help them out. If you don’t, you may face a misdemeanor violation or worse.

“In the past few weeks we’ve had several reports of motorized boats capsizing or swamping dragon boats and small crew boats in the Portland area,” said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Manager for the Marine Board. “According to witness accounts, the boat operators made eye contact with the victims but continued on their way without stopping to assist.

"This can literally be a criminal offense.”

Failure to fulfill these duties could result in a Class A misdemeanor citation. In cases where the boat operator leaves the scene of a boat accident where there is personal injury or death, the boater may be charged with a Class C felony.

“If we get a good description of the operator, we will go after them. We have some congested waterways in Oregon now and boaters need to watch out for each other. Those who do, are heroes,” Henry said. “Those who don’t, create conflict and risk lives. This is no different than a hit-and-run in a motor vehicle – the consequences are worse if you drive away.”

The Marine Board contracts with 32 county Sheriff Offices and the Oregon State Police to enforce marine laws.

For more information about the Marine Board and the agency’s programs, visit oregon.gov/osmb/pages/index.

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