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Marine deputies, Coast Guard to hold weekend dry-dock inspections

Jackson County Sheriff's marine deputies will hold their first of two weekend dry-dock inspections Saturday in White City to check boaters for safety and registration equipment before it really matters.

The inspections will be done from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the next two Saturdays and Sundays at the Jackson County Marine and Search and Rescue Headquarters, 620 Antelope Road, White City.

The inspections are a chance for fishing guides and other boaters to get their crafts' safety features verified with the boat on the trailer instead of during an impromptu inspection by police on a river or lake this summer.

Boats should be taken to the inspections with all the required safety and registration materials, as if they were about to be launched for a day on the water, deputies say.

"It forces people to look at their gear early to make sure it's safe," marine patrol Sgt. Tom Turk says. "And it's better to do it now before the season starts."

Boat owners can then get their needed inspection sticker without risking a citation for not having the necessary personal flotation devices, whistles or other requirements for being on the water.

Boats that pass will get a blue '09 inspection sticker, Turk says. That means marine deputies likely won't stop the boat on the water just for a safety inspection, but it doesn't exempt boaters from getting stopped for other possible violations, he says.

Boats that fail inspection at the patrol office are simply told what items they need — such as better life jackets or a new state registration — and sent home. Those failing the same inspection on the water face a ticket on the spot.

The marine patrol conducted about 400 dry-dock boat inspections last year, and fewer than a dozen failed and had to return, Turk says.

Different safety requirements are necessary for different-sized boats, and motor sizes also require different equipment on board. The requirements are printed in Oregon State Marine Board pamphlets and also are listed on the Marine Board's Web site at www.boatoregon.com.

The dry-dock inspection sessions will be staffed also by members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, who can do the Coast Guard-required inspections for boats used in coastal waters.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold an Angler and Aquatic Education Instructor training from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Arizona Beach State Park, which is 13 miles north of Gold Beach on Highway 101.

This free training is open to anyone 18 years or older interested in becoming a volunteer angling instructor.

The training is part of a growing outreach to pull more anglers into fishing fold. Instructors hold after-school fishing clubs, summer enrichment classes and host local fishing events, says Darlene Sprecher, ODFW angling education program assistant.

The instructors are relied on heavily during Free Fishing Weekend, which this year will be June 6-7.

Saturday's curriculum includes basic fishing skills, stewardship, aquatic resources and water safety. Instructors-to-be also will get a primer on teaching techniques and creating lesson plans.

In addition to training and curriculum, equipment and other supplies are available for loan to instructors.

Youth leaders, classroom teachers and fishing club members are encouraged to participate, according to the ODFW.

For information and registration, call Sprecher at 503-947-6025 or e-mail her at darlene.m.sprecher@state.or.us.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail mfreeman@mailtribune.com.