Clean. Drain. Dry. Certify.
New state law: Motorboat users must hold certificate of cleanliness in Adirondacks
PAUL SMITHS — Officials at the Adirondack Watershed Institute of Paul Smith’s College are reminding the public about a new state law that affects anyone using a motorboat inside the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park, and within 10 miles of its boundary. Boaters must carry a certificate showing their watercraft has been cleaned, drained and dried for every trip.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation enacted the law on June 8, in the middle of the Invasive Species Awareness Week. The law’s goal is to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil and hydrilla.
Therefore, anyone putting motorized watercraft in Adirondack waterways has to prove that their boat is free of harmful aquatic invasive species.
The new law is meant to complement the AWI-operated Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Program. The AWI has a mission “to protect clean water, conserve habitat and support the health and well-being of the people in the Adirondacks through science, collaboration, and real-world experiences for students.”
AWI Deputy Director Zoe Smith said Friday that she released a press release on Thursday about the new law to help the public understand how it affects them.
“All of this happened so quickly, I don’t think the public had the time to understand what this would mean,” Smith said.
Additionally, she wanted to inform the public about new online educational tools on the AWI website about the new law and how boaters can make sure their watercraft are free of invasive species. The web page — adkwatershed.org/clean-drain-dry — includes a new video about the DEC’s Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Certification program; a map to find boat washing stations throughout the Adirondack region; a frequently asked questions section; and a link to the DEC’s Aquatic Invasive Species Boat Stewards web page explaining the law (www.dec.ny.gov/animals/107807.html).
The DEC has a map of all the boat launches where stewards are located this summer, including decontamination stations.
The AWI has a Stewardship Program to educate the public about aquatic invasive species. Most notably, it has hired about 90 stewards this summer to operate educational tables at boat launches throughout the Adirondack region, according to AWI Stewardship Director Bill Brosseau. Moreover, stewards also operate boat washing stations at some of these boat launches.
In the Tri-Lakes region, there are four boat-washing stations: Second Pond on state Route 3, between Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake; Upper St. Regis Lake, off state Route 30; Lake Placid lake boat launch off Mirror Lake Drive; and Saranac Inn off state Route 30.
“With high pressure, hot water (120-140 degrees F), these boat wash systems reduce the chance of introducing AIS into pristine waterways and further harm partially infested waterways,” the AWI states on its website. “Each wash station is run by individuals trained to identify invasive species and properly decontaminate any evident or suspected threat. A full wash/decontamination takes less than 15 minutes.”
There are 10 boat launches in the Tri-Lakes region where stewards are working this summer. In addition to the sites listed above, stewards are on hand at the following local boat launches: Lake Placid lake, off Victor Herbert Road; Lake Flower boat launch on River Street in Saranac Lake; Osgood Pond near Paul Smiths, White Pine Road; Buck Pond state campground in Onchiota; Fish Creek state campground; and Big Tupper Lake off state Route 30.
Boaters can get certificates one of two ways:
– By visiting a DEC-designated aquatic invasive species inspection station. Boat stewards will inspect or decontaminate watercraft and provide boaters with a certification card.
– Self-issue your own certificate after performing the Clean.Drain.Dry. steps yourself. A Self-Issued Certificate is available as a PDF download — www.dec.ny.gov/docs/lands_forests_pdf/selfissuedcertificate1.pdf. Just print out the certificate, fill it out and have it with you during your boating trip.
There are also boat-washing stations outside of the Adirondack Park. For example, there is one at Exit 18 on the Adirondack Northway and a roadside washing station in Star Lake.
“They don’t have to wait until they get here (to get certificates),” Smith said.
Clean: Be sure to clean your boat and equipment by removing any visible plants, animals, mud or debris.
Also, discard items far away from water and on dry land, in trash cans or in one of the invasive species disposal stations that have been installed at many boat launch sites.
Drain: Drain all water-holding compartments, including live wells, bait wells, ballast tanks and bilge areas.
Also, don’t forget to check fishing gear, floats and the outboard motor for any residual water prior to leaving the launch.
Dry: Dry boats, trailers and all equipment before use in another water body.
There are about 2,800 lakes and ponds, and over 30,000 miles of rivers and streams in the Adirondack Park.
“With an abundance of high-quality water resources comparatively uninvaded by the scores of invasive species in other state waters, the Adirondacks present a crucial opportunity for stewardship and AIS prevention,” the AWI states on its website.
The Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program is funded by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.
Certificates are not needed for canoes or kayaks. However, paddlers are also required to Clean.Drain.Dry. their vessels and equipment.
FAQs from DEC
1. What is the purpose of Cleaning, Draining and Drying?
We know that all watercraft can transport aquatic invasive species like Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, and zebra mussels. Cleaning, draining, and drying protects New York’s waters by reducing the possibility of aquatic invasive species being introduced into new waterbodies.
2. Is cleaning, draining, and drying my boat mandatory?
YES. New York state law requires that every boat (including motorboats, kayaks/canoes, and associated equipment) operated anywhere in the state is to be cleaned, drained, dried or treated before launching into a public waterbody. This requirement can be met by the boat operator OR by visiting a watercraft inspection station. At select locations watercraft inspection stewards can assist with watercraft and gear inspections and direct boaters to a decontamination station if AIS are found or suspected.
3. What is involved in cleaning, draining, and drying?
Follow these steps to make sure your equipment is not harboring any invasive species: a. Clean any mud, plants, fish, or animals from your boating and fishing equipment (trailer bunks, axles, rollers, lights, transducers, license plates, motor props, tackle, waders, etc.) and discard the material in trash cans, at a disposal station, or well away from the waterbody, so it won’t get washed in during a storm.
b. Drain all water holding compartments, including ballast tanks, live wells, and bilge areas, before you leave an access site.
c. Dry everything thoroughly before using your boat or equipment in another waterbody. (Drying times can vary but a minimum of 5-7 days in dry, warm conditions is recommended.) d. Disinfect boats, trailers, and equipment when possible. Use high pressure, hot water that is at least 140 degrees F or visit a boat steward/decontamination site to perform this step. Water holding compartments including bilges and live wells should be disinfected also.