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Marine officials push for water safety

State marine officials want to require that life jackets and safety informationbe provided to customers who rent Jet Skis and other forms of personal watercraft(PWC).

The Oregon State Marine Board has proposed the new regulations as a meansto cut down on personal watercraft accidents on the state's lakes.

This is just an attempt to give people a basic knowledge for safeoperation of personal watercraft, Marine Board spokeswoman Jill Broggisaid.

The draft rules were written based on comments from marine patrol officersand businesses that rent PWC.

Personal watercraft are the fastest growing segment of Oregon boats,and they continue to have a disproportionately higher accident rate thanother boat types.

Everybody I've talked to about PWC operation seems to be in agreementthat there is some basic safety information operators need to know,Broggi said.

Under the proposal, people or businesses that rent, lease or charterpersonal watercraft must provide the following:

­ A Type I or III life jacket to be worn by each person on the PWC.

­ A decal explaining safe operation, affixed to every rental unitand displayed so it is clearly visible to the PWC driver during operation.At a minimum, the decal must have information on proper use of controls,speed and distance rules, rules of the road and the requirement to wearlife jackets.

­ A written copy of state PWC rules for each renter and anyone elsewho would operate the craft. The operator and rental customers would reviewand sign a copy of the rules, and the renter would carry a copy on boardas required equipment.

Comments on the proposal will be accepted through July. Mail commentsto Oregon State Marine Board, P.O. Box 14145, Salem, OR 97309-5065.

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An Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist from Silver Lakewill be the featured speaker at tonight's monthly meeting of the Rogue ValleyChapter of the Oregon Hunters Association.

The meeting will be held at J.J. North's Grand Buffet, 1016 N. RiversideAve., Medford. The meeting's social hour begins at 6 p.m., with a 6:30 dinner,and the business begins at 7.

In an effort to provide incentive for ridding the area of coyotes, theRogue Valley Chapter is now offering $10 for a pair of freshly killed coyoteears. Hunters are asked to bring the ears to the meeting, but leave themin their cars.

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The Oregon State Marine Board has helped pay close to half the cost ofrepairing flood damage to 15 boat ramps along the Rogue River in JosephineCounty.

The work will include fixing the ramps at Pierce Riffle, Lathrop, SchroederPark, Whitehorse, Ferry Hole, Griffin, Robertson Bridge, Hog Creek, Galice,Ennis Riffle, Indian Mary and Almeda.

The total cost is $20,298. The Marine Board will pay $9,922. The restcomes from local matches.

The repairs will be done with the help of five Oregon Youth ConservationCorps members, who will also receive 40 hours of training in water and boatsafety from the county sheriff's marine patrol.