Watercraft Inspection Steward Program 

Watercraft stewards serve as the front line against the spread and introduction of aquatic invasive species.

Stewards also deliver an important message to encourage recreationists to take action to protect their waters by Cleaning, Draining, and Drying their watercraft. 

Watercraft Inspection consists of visually inspecting all boating and recreational equipment that come in contact with water; removing all visible plants, animals, or mud materials; and draining any compartments that may hold water.

Stewards are stationed at launches where they empower boaters to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) by sharing educational information and teaching boaters how to properly conduct inspections.

During the inspections, which usually last less than 3 minutes, stewards collect important data on where boaters are coming from, headed to next, and if they’re aware of invasive species issues. This information helps to inform our programming and efforts to be more efficient and effective at conserving New York’s waters. Learn more about watercraft inspection and access resources at: nyis.info/watercraftinspection 

The Watercraft Steward Program in the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Region is co-administered by SLELO PRISM and the Thousand Islands Land Trust. The program runs annually from approximately late May through early October. 

 2022 WISP Annual Report

In 2022, 12 stewards covered nearly 30 launches across the region, inspecting more than 13,000 watercraft and preventing over 1,100 aquatic invasive species from being transported by watercraft.


New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook

The goals of this handbook are to: 

  1. Provide an overview of aquatic invasive species in New York.
  2. Offer information about challenges, opportunities, and details of steward positions.
  3. Recommend standard protocols for conducting inspections, decontaminations, and interacting with the public.

WISP Reports Archive


Rob Williams                              rwilliams@tnc.org                     Program Director

Megan Pistolese megan.pistolese@tnc.org
Outreach and Education

Brittney Rogers brittney.rogers@tnc.org 
Aquatic Invasive Species

Robert Smith       robert.l.smith@tnc.org 
Terrestrial Invasive Species

Zachary Simek    zachary.simek@TNC.ORG     Conservation and GIS Analyst

During this time the best way to contact our team is via email.