Some Things Every Lower Deschutes Boater Should Know

  • Deschutes River Boater Pass
  • Recommended Craft
  • Rules Of The River - Powerboats and Floatboats

  • Deschutes River Boater Pass
    Boater Passes are required all year for use on the Lower Deschutes River from Pelton Reregulation Dam to the confluence with the Columbia River. Any individual using a watercraft or any other floating device as a means of transport is required to have in his/her possession a Boater Pass. Passes are available from this website and from a number of vendors throughout Oregon. Access may be restricted to a limited number of boaters on certain sections of the river during peak use periods including group size limitations. Please contact the Prineville BLM for up-to-date information on the boater pass program.

    Recommended Craft
    Whitewater rafts, kayaks, drift boats, whitewater canoes, and powerboats are all used on the Lower Deschutes River. Open canoes are not recommended due to Class III and above whitewater. Welded aluminum powerboats with jet pumps are preferred for powerboating in areas where powerboats are permitted. Some types of non-traditional watercraft are not allowed (i.e., jet skis, wave-runners, etc.). Agency personnel inspect boating trips for specialized equipment required under State and Federal regulations to protect and enhance the river environment (i.e. fire pans, carry-out waste systems, etc.) and insure passenger safety (lifejackets). It is your responsibility as a boater to ensure that you have the proper safety equipment on board and that your craft is in good operating condition. Remember: the type and size of craft should be geared to river conditions and personal skill level.

    Rules of the River - Powerboats and Floatboats
    Below Sherars Falls, when you are on the river with both powerboats or floatboats remember these rules of the river:
    Keep to the right to allow other craft sage passage. Non-motorized and down river traffic have the right-of-way. However, once a powerboat starts through a rapid it is committed, and should be given the right-of-way.
  • In shallow water powerboats must maintain high speed to avoid submerged objects.
  • Floatboats should yield the deeper channel to powerboats when possible.
  • Powerboats should be aware of and minimize their wake when passing another craft. Common sense, safety, and courtesy should be your guide to reduce conflicts and to ensure an enjoyable experience.

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