AZGFD reminds non-resident boaters to clean, drain and dry before heading home
Posted March 22, 2018
PHOENIX — Are you a non-resident boater in Arizona? It’s time to schedule your free watercraft inspections and decontaminations before heading home.
Arizona is an incredible place to boat our vast desert impoundments and waterways surrounded by majestic red rock canyons – especially during our mild winters. After a season of adventure, avoid fines, quarantines, and even impoundments while traveling across state lines by contacting the Arizona Game and Fish Department or authorized contractor Woods to Water Wildlife Solutions LLC for inspections and decontaminations of boats traveling away from waters designated as having aquatic invasive species (AIS).
“We know that watercraft inspection and decontamination programs are effective in preventing the spread of AIS and we are asking the boating public to do its part in calling and scheduling a no-cost inspection,” AZGFD Aquatic Invasive Species Program Coordinator Erin Raney said. “It is absolutely essential to have your boat inspected, and if necessary, decontaminated, to prevent the spread of mussels and AIS into other waterbodies. We are already receiving reports of mussel boats being intercepted in other states that are making their way from Arizona waters.”
AIS are non-native species that are often unintentionally introduced by human movement. They do not have predators outside of their native range, and are able to outcompete native species.
They can be animals, plants and even pathogens that cause disease in native fish or other aquatic animals. Even worse, they can often be invisible to the naked eye, making them even more difficult to control. Once introduced, they can alter ecosystems by interrupting food chains, damaging boats and other recreational gear, clogging water and power infrastructure, and posing safety hazards.
A recent study produced in the Pacific Northwest found that an introduction of mussels to water and hydropower facilities would have an annual impact of $500 million dollars to the economy.
Appointments are filling up quickly, so call well ahead of departure.
There are two options to schedule:
- Arizona Game and Fish AIS Program: (623) 236-7608
- Woods to Water Wildlife Solutions, LLC: (602) 920-4891
“As outdoor enthusiasts, it is our responsibility to be stewards of the places that we love,” Raney said. “Stopping the spread of AIS is a big job, but with everyone pitching in, we can all do our part to protect our waters.”
Stop the spread of AIS and keep our waters clean and beautiful for ourselves and future generations.
See a flyer on the clean, drain and dry process.
Regardless of where you boat, always remember to:
- Clean boats, waders, anchors, equipment and gear by removing mud, plants, and attached animals such as snails or quagga mussels. Freeze waders overnight to eliminate fish pathogens and other aquatic hitchhikers.
- Drain all residual water from engines and motors, ballast tanks, live wells and bait wells. Pull your bilge plug and leave out during transport. Store in a location where you will remember before launch such as beside your boat keys in glove box.
- Dry all equipment that comes in contact with water, such as life jackets, ropes, buoys, tubes, etc.
See more information on aquatic invasive species.