The Lake Whatcom Management Program charges fees for inspection and decontamination services to partially fund the Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program.

All boats are required to have a valid permit when launching and while operating on Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish. Resident boats will need to have an annual permit to remain on the lake throughout the season. For additional questions or to schedule an inspection on-site, please call the hotline at (360) 778-7975.

Get $10 off your annual permit by taking the AIS Awareness Course today! You’ll also learn more about ways to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

Buy Your Permit Here!

Type of Permit Cost Discounted Cost with AIS Awareness Course
Annual Registered Permit $60 $50
Annual Small Vessel Permit $30 $20
Annual Non-Motorized Permit $10 free
Three Day Pass $20 not applicable
One Day Pass $10 not applicable
Decontamination Services Fee $25 not applicable

If you have paid online, please provide your name to an inspector when you arrive at the check station so they can look up your payment. You will receive your AIS permit after passing the inspection.

Permit fees are not required for surfboards, paddle boards, and kite boards (of any size); float tubes and water sport toys; or non-motorized inflatables that are 10 feet or less in length.

IMPORTANT: During the pandemic, the City of Bellingham offered financial relief for the Whatcom Boat Inspection program by automatically applying a $10 discount to the price of annual Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) boating permits required to launch on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish. With the end of the Washington State COVID-19 emergency orders, annual permit costs are reverting to the pre-pandemic price structure. But the AIS boating permit discount is still available. Visit and take the AIS Awareness Course. Complete the test to earn your AIS Awareness Course Certificate” and a $10 online discount code for your 2023 permit purchase. Thank you for being a responsible steward of our local lakes and preventing the spread of invasive species! We look forward to seeing you on the water in 2023. 

Payment Options

In 2023, permits may be purchased online or via credit card at the check station.

Annual Permit stickers will be valid until December 31 and will need to be visible on the boat so that permit numbers can be recorded and tracked by the inspector on duty. 3-Day Passes and 1-Day Passes for registered or motorized watercraft may be purchased online and are valid only for the date(s) indicated on the pass.

Planning an event?

You may qualify for a special event pass for Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish.  For more information or to find out if your event qualifies, contact the Boat Inspection Hotline at 778-7975

Boater Education Card

Boat operators who are 12 to 61 years of age are required to have a Boater Education Card to operate a motorized watercraft with an engine that is 15 horsepower or more.

Did you know?

Since the 1800s, there have been 160 new exotic species introduced to the Great Lakes;  most of these species came from South Eastern Europe and approximately 70 percent were introduced through ballast water operations.

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