Visiting winter boaters: Schedule your free watercraft inspection and decontamination
Posted March 9, 2020
Help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, ensure you’re in compliance with the law
PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds boaters to “clean, drain and dry” – and especially decontaminate — their watercraft and equipment before exiting listed waters containing aquatic invasive species (AIS).
This reminder is particularly important for out-of-town visitors who moor their boats at AIS-affected waters and are preparing to head out of state. Make sure you schedule a free watercraft inspection and decontamination before heading home.
To help boaters avoid fines, quarantines and even impoundments when transporting their watercraft across state lines, the Arizona Game and Fish Department has authorized providers to perform inspections and decontaminations for boats traveling from waters designated as having AIS. Under Arizona law, boaters slipped and moored for six or more consecutive days in an AIS-affected water must schedule and complete an inspection and decontamination with an authorized provider before transport. Transporting AIS is illegal in many states, including Arizona.
Watercraft inspection and decontamination is an effective way to prevent the spread of AIS into other waterbodies. Some AIS, such as quagga mussels, are extremely small and can hide in places that are hard to inspect. So the more eyes looking over your watercraft, the better chance of preventing these unwanted hitchhikers from entering a new waterbody.
Appointments fill up fast, so schedule yours well in advance of your departure date, since it is not an on-demand service. To schedule a free watercraft inspection and decontamination, visit https://azgfdais.simplybook.me or call the Department’s AIS Program at (623) 236-7608.
Regardless of where you boat, always remember to:
- CLEAN boats, waders, anchors, equipment and gear by removing mud, plants, attached animals such as snails.
- 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 with boat keys or in a location where you will remember before launch.
- DRY all equipment that comes in contact with water, such as life jackets, ropes, buoys, tubes, etc.
Aquatic invasive species 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. These animals, plants, and even pathogens that cause disease in native wildlife can often be invisible to the naked eye, making them even more difficult to control. Once introduced, they can alter and disrupt ecosystems, and cost millions of dollars to keep water and power infrastructure clear for delivery. These infestations directly affect your wallet by increasing the cost of water and power.
Many states require that watercraft must stop for inspection, which includes both motorized and non-motorized boats. If you see signs indicating that an inspection station is open, please stop and have your watercraft inspected by the state in which you are traveling.
For more information on Arizona’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program, visit www.azgfd.gov/ais. For interstate travel, be sure to contact your local state AIS authorities for any additional questions on local regulation compliance. To schedule a free inspection or decontamination, visit https://azgfdais.simplybook.me.