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After vessel capsize, a reminder of Oregon river bar dangers

Last year, at least seven people died in boating accidents on river bars along the Oregon Coast. Although no deaths have been reported so far this year, at least one recreational vessel has capsized, and the Coast Guard is being proactive in encouraging mariners to check bar restrictions before setting out.

In mid-April, a group of recreational boaters got stuck in jetty in a restricted bar near Newport, causing their boat to capsize. According to The World newspaper, Coast Guard members at the Yaquina Bay station attempted to warn the boat over the radio, but the boaters didn't respond or change course. The boaters also apparently missed flashing signs warning of the danger ahead.

The Newport bar may be shallower - and thus more dangerous - this year than last year, according to The World article, so the Coast Guard is urging boaters to be especially cautious.

Disregarding river bar dangers can lead to steep penalties as well. If you don't follow federal rules and regulations while navigating around river bars, potential penalties could include up to $10,000 in fines and loss of your vessel and equipment, according to the Coast Guard.

    There are several ways to check for current bar restrictions:

    • Visit the NOAA website, where you can view web cameras and up-to-date status reports
    • Monitor VHF channel 16
    • Call your nearest Coast Guard station

    And yes, there's even a Coast Guard app you can download. In addition to checking for any restrictions before you set out, look out for flashing warning signs as you approach the bar.

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