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. 

Want to Get Paid to Protect Your Waters?

The Thousand Island Land Trust and SLELO PRISM are co-administrating a Watercraft Inspection Steward Program (WISP) in the SLELO region.

Positions are open now for the upcoming 2023 summer season

There are 12 steward positions open for the upcoming season. The application deadline is March 31st, 2023.

There are full-time and part-time positions available. Full-Time Watercraft Inspection Steward is a 40 hours per week position. Both positions begin with a paid, mandatory 3-day training from May 24th-26th and start their roles on May 27th. The positions are expected to end on Monday, September 4th with some opportunities for extension.

Playing a critical role in invasive species management, Stewards will visit assigned boat launch locations around the region to interact with the public and gather recreational boater information, conduct voluntary watercraft and equipment inspections, and familiarize the public with aquatic invasive species. Stewards will be responsible for monitoring up to three (3) boat launches within close geographic proximity to each other and will operate with a high degree of independence.

Responsibilities include: conducting watercraft inspections, data collection and administering voluntary surveys, identification and management of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS), interactions with the public, and distribution of educational materials.

To Apply: Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis. Applications should include a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications and preferred locations, a resume, and contact information for two (2) professional references.

Please send this information to Shannon Walter, TILT Education, and Outreach Coordinator, at swalter@tilandtrust.org or mail to the Thousand Islands Land Trust, P.O. Box 238, Clayton NY 13624.

In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process; please write your name (Last, First) and Watercraft Inspection Steward as the subject line of your email. More information about the Thousand Islands Land Trust may be found at: www.TILandTrust.org. No phone calls or faxes, please.

 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.