Enforcement intercepts mussel-fouled boat after driver fails to stop at station
HELENA – Although the weather wasn’t ideal for outdoor recreation, aquatic invasive species stations around the state conducted more than 2,000 inspections over the Memorial Day weekend. So far this year, FWP and its partners have inspected 14,000 watercraft, 21 of which were mussel-fouled.
One of those detections happened Saturday when a mussel-fouled boat was intercepted at Wibaux. The boat was a recent purchase and was being commercially transported from Michigan to Seattle. The driver failed to stop at the inspection station and was intercepted by a FWP game warden and required to return to the station for inspection. After the boat was decontaminated and locked to the trailer, inspectors contacted officials in Washington to coordinate a follow-up inspection.
“FWP Law Enforcement takes the threat of AIS to Montana waters very seriously,” said Dave Loewen, chief of FWP’s Law Enforcement Division. “Our officers work closely with the Montana Highway Patrol and other enforcement entities to enforce AIS regulations.”
As a reminder, all boats must stop at all open watercraft inspection stations they encounter. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $500.
FWP and partner agencies operate more than 25 road-side watercraft inspection stations across the state. To find a watercraft inspection station or to learn more, go to CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.
In addition to stopping at all watercraft inspection stations, boaters need to follow these rules:
- Be sure to always clean, drain and dry your boat.
- Non-residents transporting watercraft into Montana must purchase a Vessel AIS Prevention Pass before launching. The fee is $30 for motorized and $10 for nonmotorized watercraft. The pass is valid until Dec. 31.
- Inspection is required for Montana residents before launch IF: the boat is entering the state, crossing west over the Continental Divide or entering the Flathead Basin.