Clean, drain, and treat your boat if you take it from one body of water to another

Boats are the most common way for invasive species to contaminate lakes.  Of course the best precaution is not to take your boat to another waterbody. But if you must, here’s how to clean your boats before you bring them back to our lakes –  according to the regulations. NYS mandates reasonable precautions to prevent the spread of invasive species by boat traffic.

Reasonable precautions are to clean, drain, and treat before launching your boat into a body of water – or relaunching it back home.

Cleaning means that any visible plant or animal materials have been removed from the boat and disposed away from the waterbody.

Draining removes water from the watercraft and the watercraft’s motor, bilge, and all other areas of the watercraft. Drain offsite and so that drained water, potentially carrying invasives, does not run into any waterbody.

Treat the watercraft.  Treat by at least one of three methods: air drying, rinsing or, as a last resort, towel drying.

Air Dry either in dry, warm conditions or subfreezing temperatures.

  • Air dry watercraft and trailers, uncovered, out of the water, and exposed to the sun or in a heated building for at least five days.
  • Alternatively, store watercraft and trailers in continuous subfreezing temperatures for at least three days.

Rinse.  Follow the steps as appropriate to the watercraft. In all cases make sure the water used does not drain into a waterbody.

  • Rinse hull and other external areas or equipment with high pressure (2,500 psi) hot water (140 degrees F) for 30 seconds.
  • Flush water cooled motors with water for two minutes.
  • Flush the bilge area, live wells, bait wells and other water-holding compartments with hot water at a temperature of 140 degrees F for 30 seconds.
  • If hot water is not available, thoroughly rinse the boat hull and flush water holding compartments with the warmest water available.
  • Clean cold water is acceptable only if it is the only water available.

Towel Dry. Use only in cases where the watercraft cannot be air dried or rinsed. Towel dry all portions of the watercraft hull, engine, trailer and associated equipment that have been in contact with one waterbody prior to launching in another waterbody.

Notice that just taking the visible plants, animals, and mud off the boats is never enough.

Thank you for following these steps to avoid moving invasive species into our lakes!