Operation of a small motorboat while conducting research activities places unique demands on the operator and crew. Experience and training of all individuals must be appropriate for the vessel, tasks to be completed, and operational environment. All individuals onboard should be well versed in emergency procedures relevant to the vessel and environment, and should have competency in basic first aid and self-rescue.

OSU is a member of the Scientific Boating Safety Association (SBSA), and the SBSA Motorboat Operator Training Course (MOTC) represents the core competencies expected of an individual operating a small motorboat for research at OSU. MOTC content is based on the U.S. Department of Interior Motorboat Operator Certification Course (MOCC). Contact the DSO with questions regarding MOTC training or equivalency.

Vessel Operator- the vessel operator’s responsibility during a research outing is safe operation of the vessel. Hazard recognition and avoidance, maintaining vessel stability, clear communications with crew, ensuring appropriate PFD use by all persons onboard, and managing emergencies are examples of some of these operational priorities. Vessel safety can be compromised if the operator undertakes the additional task loading associated with conducting research. Work plans should be organized in advance and research duties assigned to appropriately prepared crewmembers, so as not to distract the operator from their primary responsibilities.

Crew Members- personnel on board other than the operator should be prepared to conduct the required research tasks, act as lookouts for the operator, and to execute their roles/responsibilities in the event of an emergency (man overboard, onboard fire, medical incident or injury, etc.). If possible, at least one crew member should be qualified to operate the vessel.

Vessels- small motorboats used for research must have the appropriate permits and be registered with the State of Oregon if applicable, and display vessel information as required. Vessels should be equipped with all mandated safety equipment, as well as any additional safety equipment appropriate for the vessel and environment. Vessels should be safely prepared and well-suited for the intended research tasks (vessel stability, vessel capacity, etc). Vessels should also operate with a current inspection covering the aforementioned items (vessel inspections can be arranged through the OSU Small Boat Safety Program).

Personal Water Craft (PWC)- PWCs are considered Class A motor vessels by the USCG and Oregon State Marine Board and at a minimum are governed by rules and regulations applicable to these types of vessels. PWC’s also have their own unique characteristics and require specific knowledge and skill sets to be operated safely for research. Individuals using PWCs for research should contact the OSU DSO for a review of workplans and potential training needs.

Float Plans- small boat research operations should include use of the OSU Float Plan. Alternate formats may be used, but must incorporate equivalent information and the use of a Designated Shore Contact.

Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs)- OSU personnel using small motorized or non-motorized vessels for research shall wear an appropriate PFD at all times on the water