Why Paddleboards, Kayaks, And Canoes Also Have To Stop At Boat Check Stations

Jul 30, 2014

Montana has had boat check stations for three years, but this is the first summer they've been mandatory.
Credit Katrin Frye

Boat check stations have been set up across the state for three years, but this is the first year stopping is mandatory. Region One Fish, Wildlife and Parks Game Warden Captain Lee Anderson says inspectors are looking for aquatic invasive species, and *everyone* has to stop.

“Whether it’s a motorized boat or a non motorized boat. If it’s an actual vessel, then they would. So, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, rafts, all those have to stop, the only ones that wouldn’t would be like a pool toy,” Anderson said.

It’s a misdemeanor offense to not stop, but he said issuing tickets and collecting fees is not their main goal.

“Our goal is to clean it, decontaminate it, education folks before we send them on down the road,” Anderson said.
Fisheries Conservation Specialist John Wachsmuth with FWP said they’re mostly looking for invasive mussels, but invasive plants are also high on the list.

“I think it’s important to make it mandatory that people from other states, where we are concerned, come in and stop and have their boats inspected to make sure that they accidentally don’t get transported to a body of water where we don’t have it,” Wachsmuth said.

At a check station in Coram, near the west entrance of Glacier Park Fish, Wildlife and Parks Inspectors have checked thousands of boats, but they’ve also seen hundreds drive by.

“I think because it’s fairly new, this year, at least in this area, a lot of rafters, boaters, and stand-up paddleboarders aren’t stopping,” Wachsmuth said.

Wachsmuth said they’ve counted around 900 non-motorized vessels drive by without stopping.

One option FWP has been offering at the check stations for boats staying in local waters for s long period of time are “AIS Passports”.

“You just pull in, and explain to the inspectors that they’re just boating in the local water here, and they’ll be travelling back and forth, and so, every time they come by the check station, they pull in, show their passport,” Wachsmuth said the inspectors already have the information on the vehicle and boat and just give it a quick once-over before sending the driver on their way.

Region One has a roving check station as well as stationary ones in Ronan, Thompson Falls, Troy, and Eureka in addition to Coram.