Did you know that you can accidentally spread aquatic invasive species by entering a new body of water with your watercraft without cleaning, draining, and drying it first? Aquatic invasive plants like hydrilla are easily spread by fragmentation, and if your boat or trailer has a piece of an aquatic plant on it when you enter a waterbody it can easily become established and cause big impacts on aquatic ecosystems. 

You can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species by visiting a watercraft inspection steward this summer to receive a voluntary boat inspection and learn about aquatic invasive species threatening our waters.

Watercraft stewards are stationed at boat launches throughout New York State and serve as the front line against the spread and introduction of aquatic invasive species. Stewards provide free voluntary boat inspections and 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.

During the inspections, which usually last less than 3 minutes, stewards collect important data on where boaters are coming from, headed next, and if they’re aware of invasive species issues. This information helps to inform the state-wide Watercraft Steward Inspection Program to be more efficient and effective at conserving New York’s waters.

Below is an interactive map where you can find a boat launch and decontamination station near you.

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. 

You can join a special Launch and Learn every Monday from 1 pm-3 pm, beginning July 11th through August 8th. Stewards will be providing live demonstrations showcasing aquatic invasive species and prevention techniques you can practice to help protect your favorite boating, fishing, and swimming spots. 

Launch and Learn Locations & Dates: 

Click location for a google map.

July 11: Butterfield Boat launch is in Redwood, NY 

July 18: East End Waterfront Park and Boat Launch in Cape Vincent

July 25: Lakeview WMA- South Sandy Creek Car-top boat Launch in Mannsville, NY

Aug 1: Massena

Aug 8: Wrights Landing Marina in Oswego

Visit the Water Protector’s Toolbox to learn of more simple actions you can take to protect your favorite boating, fishing, and swimming spots. Also, gain access to a plethora of resources that can help you prevent the spread and introduction of aquatic invasive species.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Take our Pledge to Protect and get monthly emails showcasing actions you can take to protect your favorite hiking trails, paddleways, forests, garden, and community from the impacts of invasive species!

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The Pledge-to-Protect is a fun, positive, inviting, engaging and rewarding way to participate in invasive species prevention and management.


Here’s How It Works:
  1. Fill out the pledge form below and select the outdoor areas you spend the most time in.
  2. Check your inbox for your confirmation email.
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  4. Earn a virtual badge for each pledge you take.
  5. Every month, you’ll receive a special Pledge-to-Protect email about a prevention/management activity to help you fulfill your pledge OR a highlight of an invasive species to keep an eye out for.
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