Boats and boat trailers can easily transport aquatic invasive species from one waterbody to another if they are not cleaned, drained, and dried between uses. Aquatic invasive species not only have the potential to ruin your boat, but can also impact your fishing and boating waters by forming dense mats of vegetation that are difficult to steer through. Do your part to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species to Whatcom County waters by following these simple steps:


  • Remove all aquatic plants, animals, mud and thoroughly wash everything, especially in crevices and hidden areas.
  • If possible, use high-pressure and/or water above 140 degrees to clean trailers, boats, and equipment.
  • Be sure to clean anchors, live wells, buckets, and any other items that have been in or held water using hot water or a salt or vinegar solution.


  • Drain water from your boat, trailer, tackle and gear, including wells, bilge, and engine cooling water before leaving the area.
  • Remember: most storm drains flow directly into lakes and other waters. Do not wash your boat or gear or drain them near a storm drain.


  • Allow sufficient time for your boat and equipment to completely dry before entering other waters.
  • Use this drying time calculator to determine how long your boat should be allowed to dry between uses to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

By following these steps after every use, you can do your part to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. You can speed up the inspection process by always showing up with your boat and equipment already cleaned, drained, and dried.


right-of-waySwimmers, divers, and fallen skiers have the right-of-way over any watercraft.  Similarly, a sailboat, rowboat, canoe, kayak, or any other non-motorized vessel has the right-of-way over any motor-powered vessel underway.

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Personal Floatation Devices

personal-floatation-devicePersonal flotation devices (PFDs) that are U.S. Coast Guard approved are required to be aboard for each passenger.  Children under the age of 7 must always wear a PFD when aboard any boat, motorized or not.