The Marine Board and Clackamas County Marine Patrol seek the public's help on an incident that occurred on Wednesday, August 28, near Elk Island and the Cedaroak Park on the Willamette River.
A four-person rowing scull was positioned to begin practice while waiting for another crew boat and the safety chase boat, when a wakeboard boat accelerated in close proximity, creating a large wake. Based on the information provided by the rowing team, the rowing scull did not have enough time to maneuver their boat in a position to take the wake, and the boat's stern submerged and uplifted with enough force that the boat cracked in half, ejecting the rowers into the water. The team was not able to identify the boat's registration numbers because they immediately tended to each other's safety. Fortunately, no one was seriously injured, but the rowing scull was "totaled."
The wakeboard boat operator did not stop. There have been multiple incidents this summer where other watercraft have been swamped or capsized by wakeboard boats. Anytime boaters are involved in any form of accident, they have a duty to stop and render aid. "As boaters, we have a time-honored duty of rendering assistance anytime a fellow boater is in need," says Larry Warren, Director for the Marine Board. "This includes aiding in rescue as your safely able, staying on-scene until everyone is safe and reporting information that aids in any subsequent investigation."
If anyone witnessed this incident, they are asked to contact the Clackamas County Marine Patrol Unit at 503-655-8218. The Marine Board urges boaters that if they "see something, say something," if they witness any form of unsafe operation or behavior. "We need to share the waterways and it starts with courtesy, paying close attention to your surroundings and your own operation, so it doesn't negatively impact others' enjoyment of the waterways," Warren adds.
Reckless operation is when a boat is operated in a manner that endangers the safety of persons or property (ORS 830.315). "This is a serious offense and the offender must be held accountable," emphasizes Warren. "If someone saw this happen, please contact the Clackamas County Marine Patrol."