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). Stewards work independently at 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 25th-27th. The position is expected to end on Monday, September 5th with some opportunities for extension. Stewards will be given the choice of 4 to 10-hour days (Friday through Monday) or 5 8-hour days (Thursday
through Monday). Some holiday weekend work is required (Memorial Day, Independence Day, and
Labor Day). Some local travel is required.

Adirondack Region

Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) is seeking to hire Watershed Stewards for summer 2022. Stewards will work 8-10 hours per day, up to 40 hours per week, from late May through early Fall. Weekend & holiday work is required. 

Finger Lakes Region

The Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges is hiring for Summer 2022. More details to come.


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 2022 field season. More details to come.

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.  More details to come.

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 watercraft inspection 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). The 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 the ability to transport work-related material. 

Saratoga Lake

The Saratoga Lake Protection and Improvement District (SLPID) is seeking watercraft inspection stewards to interact with the boating public, record and electronically enter waterbody user information on mobile tablets, and familiarize the public with aquatic invasive species information, along with, weekly hand harvesting and surveying of aquatic invasive species at several locations within Saratoga Lake. Positions are full-time up to 40 hours per week, paid hourly, seasonal, and non-exempt. The program will run from mid-May through the end of October. Weekends & holidays are required. Weekly scheduling is flexible and some part-time work may be available. 

Cortland Region

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

Niagara, Genesee, Finger Lakes, Thousand Islands, Central Region

Program Mission: This program is possible through an agreement between SUNY ESF and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The Watercraft Inspection Program is a public education program whose goal is to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) through voluntary watercraft inspections and educational outreach.

Position Type: Summer seasonal appointment (May-September) exceeding no more than four months. Full time (40 hours/week). The work schedule is Friday-Monday, 8:00 AM-6:30 PM. Weekends and holidays are mandatory.

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