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.

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!

Take the Pledge to Protect

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.
  3. Explore the resources in the virtual toolkits or download the PDFs.
  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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