Inspectors are on the lookout for any animal or plant material on the watercraft that may pose a risk to Whatcom County waters. The inspector will ask you several questions about your boat and launching history and will then visually and physically inspect your boat for any evidence of aquatic invasive species. The hull, trailer and interior compartments of your boat will be inspected. Inspectors will be ensuring that your boat has been cleaned, drained, and dried to ensure that aquatic invasive species larvae are not present on damp gear or in standing water.

Preparing Your Boat

You can make the inspection a quick and simple process by making sure your boat is clean, drained, and dry before arriving at the inspection, and removing any gear or equipment from internal compartments ahead of time. More about preparing your boat.

Launching at Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish Multiple Times

Boats launching from a location with an Aquatic Invasive Species Check Station will need to be inspected every time they launch unless they have been tethered using a Lake Whatcom Management Program wire seal. If you plan on returning to the same lake on your next visit, ask an inspector about our Wire Seal Program to speed up your next launch.

COVID-19 Update: What to Expect When You Launch

You should expect new safety and inspection procedures when visiting our check stations in 2021 based on state guidelines related to COVID-19.

Your safety and the safety of our boat inspection staff are our priority. For everyone’s safety:
  • If you are sick, please stay home.
  • No credit cards, checks, or cash accepted on site. Permits must be purchased online ahead of time.
  • Get a wire seal every time, a faster and safer option.
  • Expect delays. We are taking steps to ensure your safety!
  • Practice social distancing:
    • Stay at least 6 feet away from inspectors and other boaters.
    • New traffic patterns will increase distance from other boaters.
    • Remain in your vehicle until notified to exit.
    • Only one person from your vehicle should interact with inspectors.
  • Other safety protocols:
    • Equipment will be disinfected regularly.
    • Masks and gloves will be worn by inspectors.
    • Equipment sharing and contact with the public will be minimized.

For more information on current hours of operation at all of our check stations visit Inspection Locations.

Did you know?

Boat motor labels must have at least one star to operate on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish. Low emission motors are the right choice for you and the lake. Check for the star on your label to make sure your watercraft is powered by an engine that is certified and labeled as meeting the 2006 or later model year United States EPA emissions standards.

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

News & Updates