Volunteers Community Partners

Watercraft Inspection Program

Boat stewards interact with boaters at launches and can teach them how to perform their own boat inspections. Photo Credit WNY PRISM

Boat stewards perform voluntary watercraft inspections to remove visible aquatic plants and animals from all types of watercraft at boat launches. This helps prevent the transport and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) both into and out of western New York. These programs are voluntary, and boaters do not have to participate if they choose not to. The inspections are easy and conducted quickly to ensure the boater does not miss much time enjoying the water.

Last summer across the state, steward programs conducted 155,000 inspections. This program is run in coordination with our many other partner boat steward programs throughout New York. The stewards collect data on their interactions with boaters to better track the movement of AIS throughout the state. Additionally, stewards are responsible for public education and distributing educational materials at their respective launches. Launch locations were strategically selected to maximize interactions with the public and focus on waterways most at risk of invasion. Stewards will be trained to correctly identify some of this region’s early detection priority species such as Hydrilla verticillata, Eichhornia crassipes, and Pistia stratiotes. Catching these species early before they become established saves money and limits environmental degradation.

We are excited to take this large step to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. If you come across one of our boat stewards this summer, make sure to let them know you always Clean, Drain, and Dry your recreational equipment and are committed to preserving our valuable water resources here in western New York.