Memorial Weekend is the unofficial start to summer in Montana and as boaters venture out to our rivers and lakes, please keep in mind the rules aimed at protecting our waters and preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
All boats must stop at all open watercraft inspection stations they encounter. Failure to stop at inspection stations could result in a fine of up to $500.
All watercraft coming into Montana from out of state must seek out an inspection prior to launching.
Non-residents transporting watercraft into Montana must purchase a Vessel AIS Prevention Pass before launching. The fee is $30 for motorized and $10 for nonmotorized watercraft. The pass is valid until Dec. 31.
All watercraft travelling west across the Continental Divide must be inspected.
All watercraft launching anywhere within the Flathead Basin that were last launched on waters outside of the Flathead Basin must be inspected.
Watercraft leaving Tiber Reservoir must be inspected at an FWP decontamination station.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and partner agencies operate more than 25 road-side watercraft inspection stations across the state. Typically, boat inspections are brief and include a short interview and check to make sure watercraft are not transporting mud, water, plants or invasive organisms. Larger or more complex boats may require additional time for an inspection.
Watercraft owners can make their inspection quick and easy if they consistently practice Clean, Drain and Dry every time they leave an access area:
Clean all mud and debris from the watercraft and trailer.
Pull drain plugs and make sure all compartments, bilges, ballasts and livewells are drained.
Allow time for watercraft and gear to dry before the next trip.
FWP inspectors and enforcement staff will be working hard to make sure everyone knows the AIS rules and have a safe and fun time on the water.
To find a watercraft inspection station or to learn more, go to CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.