Watercraft Inspection Steward Program

The Watercraft Inspection Steward Program is a state-wide effort aimed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Through this program, stewards are positioned at boat launches across New York State. Stewards empower boaters to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) by sharing educational information and teaching boaters how to properly inspect their boats. 

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 state-wide programming and enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of the Watercraft Inspection Steward Program. 

State-wide Watercraft Steward Job Opportunties

St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Region

Hosted by the St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Region (SLELO PRISM) & the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT). 10 stewards work independently at nearly 30 launches located along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. These are full-time seasonal positions, beginning with a paid, mandatory 3-day training from May 26th -28th and start date of May 29th. The position is expected to end on Monday, September 6th with some opportunities for extension. The typical workweek is Thursday through Monday, with some holiday weekend work required (Memorial Day, Monday following July 4th, Labor Day). Some local travel is required.

Adirondack Region

Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) is seeking to hire several Watershed Stewards for summer 2021. Stewards will work 8-10 hours per day, up to 40 hours per week, from May 24th through September 6th. Weekend & holiday work is required. Part-time work may be available through October 11th, contingent on funding availability. Staff will be required to attend a multi-day, paid training the week of May 24th. It will be determined later if this training will be on the Paul Smiths Campus, virtual, or a combination and for everyone’s safety is subject to change at any time.

Capital Region: Mohawk and Hudson Rivers

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Saratoga County through the Capital Region Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) is seeking multiple seasonal employees for the 2021 Watercraft Inspection Steward Program. Employment for Stewards and Lead Stewards will begin May 24th with 3 days of training and end on September 6th (Labor Day). Stewards and Lead Stewards typically work Thursday-Monday from 7:00 am-3:30 pm. All weekends and holidays are required. Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.

One Watercraft Steward Supervisor will be hired for the 2021 Watercraft Inspection Steward Program.  Employment for the supervisor will begin on April 12th and end on September 17th. The supervisor’s schedule will follow the day-to-day schedule of Stewards and Lead Stewards, requiring all weekends and holidays during the season. Extensive travel throughout the Capital Region and along the Hudson River corridor is required. Applications are due for the supervisor position on February 5, 2021.

Catskill Region

The Research Foundation for SUNY at the College at Oneonta is accepting applications for Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership (CRISP) Watershed Steward Program.  Stewards will work at various boat launches in the Catskill region. Work obligation is from May 28, 2021 (Memorial Day weekend) to September 6, 2021 (Labor Day).  Expected to work a 40-hour work week with flexible hours.  Part-time work from Labor Day to Columbus Day may be possible.

Western NY Region

Hosted by the Western NY PRISM. Boat Stewards will be assigned to a single, primary launch, however, there is the potential for coverage needs to require occasional travel to other launches. Stewards will receive a mandatory two-day training prior to beginning work at their assigned sites.  Boat launch sites will be located throughout the WNY PRISM region.  Sites may be located along Tonawanda Creek/Erie Canal including Holley and Lockport, Buffalo, Niagara River, Allegheny River (Onoville), and Lakes Erie (Sturgeon Point, Hanover), Ontario (Olcott), Bear, Chautauqua, and Cuba.

Weekend and evening hours, as well as possible overnight travel for training, will be required. Training will take place in Buffalo, at the Great Lakes Center Field Station. If training is converted to be remote/online, travel to Buffalo will still be necessary to pick up supplies and equipment.

Use of personal vehicle (such as a car or truck) is required for travel to/from launch and must remain on site with the Boat Steward. Boat Stewards will be expected to travel to assigned boat launches and travel between ‘home’ and ‘work’ will be considered their commute.

Lake Champlain Region

NEIWPCC and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) are seeking seasonal boat launch stewards to deliver interpretive invasive species spread prevention messages to boaters on Lake Champlain during the summer of 2021 and to inspect and decontaminate vessels as appropriate.Stewards will be required to work eight-hour days for approximately forty hours per week Thursday through Monday and holidays at select boat launches around Lake Champlain from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend; weekend work is required. Time off by prior arrangement can be accommodated.

Oneida & Onondaga Lakes

Onondaga Environmental Institute has openings for the positions of Watercraft Steward and Lead Watercraft Steward.  These are part-time positions. Watercraft Stewards conduct voluntary inspections of watercraft at public launches and educating watercraft users on how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Watercraft inspections entail removing & identifying plants & debris from boats & trailers & identifying aquatic invasive species. The Lead Watercraft Steward supervises watercraft stewards, assists with training, and enlists volunteer stewards as well as conducting watercraft inspections. The majority of hours will be weekends in the summer with some hours during the week. 

Chautauqua & Cassadaga Lakes and Lake Erie

The Chautauqua Lake Association (CLA) is seeking qualified individuals to work as Boat Stewards for a regional spread prevention program across Chautauqua County (locations include Chautauqua Lake, Cassadaga Lake, and Lake Erie). Stewards will gather data and inspect boats for aquatic invasive species as part of an early detection/rapid response spread prevention effort. Stewards also educate boaters and visitors about aquatic invasive species (AIS) and how the general public can help slow the spread of AIS. This is part of a statewide Clean, Drain, Dry spread prevention and awareness program. Weekend work is required (Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday). Position will be approximately 32 hours per week for 12-16 weeks. All necessary supplies will be provided.  Stewards will be required to provide their own transportation to/from launch sites and ability to transport work related material. 

Niagra, Silver Lake, Irondequoit Bay, Finger Lakes, Honeyoye & Conesus Lakes

The program is possible through an agreement between SUNY ESF and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  The program is hiring one Lead Boat Steward, and 10 summer seasonal Boat Stewards.  This is a summer seasonal appointment (May-September or October) exceeding no more than four months. Full time (40 hours/week). Work schedule is Friday-Monday, 8:00AM-6:30PM. Weekends and holidays are mandatory. 

Position Locations: Niagara: Buffalo Harbor Genesee: Silver Lake, Braddock Bay, Irondequoit Bay Finger Lakes: Cayuga Lake, Allan H. Treman, Honeoye Lake, Conesus Lake Stewards should be located within commuting distance of one of these areas. Transportation and housing will not be provided. 

Apply for the Watercraft Inspection Steward Position

Apply for the Lead Boat Steward Position


Cortland Region

The Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District is hiring watercraft inspection stewards. (more details to come). 

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Prevent the introduction of invasive species into the SLELO PRISM.

Rapidly detect new and recent invaders and eliminate all individuals within a specific area.

Share resources, including funding personnel, equipment, information, and expertise.

Collect, utilize, and share information regarding surveys, infestations, control methods, monitoring, and research.

Control invasive species infestations by using best management practices, methods and techniques to include: ERADICATION (which is to eliminate all individuals and the seed bank from an area), CONTAINMENT (which is reducing the spread of established infestations from entering an uninfested area) and SUPPRESSION which is to reduce the density but not necessarily the total infested area.

Develop and implement effective restoration methods for areas that have been degraded by invasive species and where suppression or control has taken place.

Increase public awareness and understanding of invasive species.

Develop and implement innovative technologies that help us to better understand, visualize, alleviate or manage invasive species and their impacts or that serve to strengthen ecosystem function and/or processes.

Rob Williams 
PRISM Coordinator

Megan Pistolese 
Outreach and Education

Brittney Rogers 
Aquatic Invasive Species

Robert Smith 
Terrestrial Invasive Species

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