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On the Water: Law enforcement annual drift boat training

May 18, 2023May 18, 2023

Marine Law Enforcement officers from around the state will be learning and perfecting their drift boating skills on the Rogue River June 12 through June 16.

Law enforcement members head out along the Rogue River at Gold Beach during a previous statewide boat training exercise.

Clackamas Firefighter Sandor Pongracz operates a jet boat under during the training in 2022.

Students will learn to swim in whitewater, study hydrodynamics, practice rescue techniques, navigate up to Class III whitewater, and operate in remote environments using drift boats, rafts, and catarafts.

"Navigating whitewater is a perishable skill and it requires constant training and practice so law enforcement can respond to emergencies quickly and confidently," Oregon State Marine Board Law Enforcement Training Coordinator Eddie Persichetti said. "Each day the students drift different sections of the Rogue River. As the week progresses, instructors build on the skills from the day before and then move on to more advanced skills with more difficult rapids throughout the week."

The key component to the training is the attention on reading white water, according to training officers.

According to Persichetti, the key component to the training is the attention on reading white water.

"It's incredibly important to see the whole run ahead vs. the next ten feet in front of the boat," he said. "This year, rivers statewide are exceptionally swift, high, and cold. Students will first learn self-rescue techniques in the water and then dewatering drills, all while improving their drift boat skills throughout the course."

The training and experience the officers gain during drift boat school provides a strong foundation for when they return to their local waterways for patrol.

"The goal is to develop the skill sets and confidence in officers because safety of everyone recreating on the water is our top priority," Persichetti said. "Oregon's waterways are becoming more crowded. For those recreating on Oregon's waterways, a simple task such as wearing a life jacket can mean the difference between a tragedy and going home that day. Please be safe, vigilant and wear it!"

Recreational boaters can expect to see law enforcement officers drifting on the Upper and Middle Rogue from Lost Creek Reservoir to Argo Canyon from June 12 through June 16.

For more information about boating laws and regulations, visit

A long line of law enforcement boats jetted up and down Rogue River last week.

Safety was the theme of recent annual law enforcement jet boat training along the Rogue Rive…

View our 6/7/23 E-Edition here!

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