Aquatic Invasive Species Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination - Frequently Asked Questions


Is it mandatory to get my watercraft inspected?
These are the four circumstances when it would be mandatory to have your watercraft inspected.

1) During all times of the year, if your watercraft has been on a high risk water (a water known, or suspected, to be positive for zebra or quagga mussels) within the last thirty days you are required to have your watercraft inspected prior to launching in Wyoming.

2) If you are transporting a watercraft into Wyoming from out of state from March 1st through November 30th, you are required to have your watercraft inspected prior to launching in Wyoming.

3) If an authorized inspector determines that an inspection is warranted, then an inspection is required prior to launching the watercraft.

4) If you encounter an open check station on your route of travel, you must stop and will be required to undergo an inspection, or show proof of a previous inspection.

What is a watercraft inspection?
At an AIS check station, an authorized inspector will ask a few questions to determine the risk your watercraft poses of transporting AIS. If the watercraft is deemed low-risk, the watercraft owner will be provided informational materials, the watercraft will be briefly inspected, and allowed to launch.

A watercraft deemed high risk will need to undergo a more thorough inspection. High-risk watercraft may include those that last operated their watercraft in a state with waters known to have invasive mussels, or watercraft with a large amount of standing water which could harbor larval mussels.

Where can I go to get a watercraft inspected?
Watercraft inspections will be conducted at major waters throughout Wyoming on a rotating basis. Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) regional offices will also serve as inspection locations as needed. To request an inspection, call 1-877-WGFD-AIS.

How long will an inspection take?
A standard inspection will take 3-5 minutes. A high-risk inspection is more thorough and may take 10-30 minutes depending on the type and size of watercraft.

What can I do to ensure I don’t transport AIS and make my inspection quicker?
Before you launch in Montana or Wyoming, make sure you have followed the Drain, Clean, and Dry procedure. Transporting a clean and dry watercraft will allow you to quickly move thorugh the inspection process. One tip, leave the bilge plug out until you reach the boat ramp to allow your boat to drain thoroughly.

Self check forms can be found at WGFD offices, and on the department’s website, which will allow you to perform a self-assessment to determine whether your watercraft may be transporting AIS. By completing this form and presenting it when you encounter an AIS check station, you should be able to launch with minimal delay. At waters without an AIS check station, complete the self-check to ensure you are not transporting AIS, and proceed to launch.

What is a watercraft “seal”?
An authorized inspector may apply a tamper-proof seal that connects the watercraft to the trailer. Upon exiting a water, the inspector will ensure a watercraft is Drained, Cleaned, and will be Dried for the required time, and will then attach the seal. A receipt will accompany the seal and must be presented at the next AIS check station to be valid.

At the next AIS check station, the watercraft owner can then present the receipt, the inspector will verify information, cut the seal, and allow launch. If the watercraft owner does not encounter an AIS check station the next time they launch, they can remove the seal themselves and proceed to launch.

Do I need to stop at an AIS check station?
Yes, all persons transporting watercraft shall stop at authorized AIS check stations that are established on their route of travel.

What happens if my watercraft needs to be decontaminated?
An authorized inspector will thoroughly spray the exterior and flush the interior compartments with scalding (140°F) water to remove and kill any AIS that may be on the watercraft. After decontamination, the watercraft will be inspected again to ensure the decontamination was successful. Watercraft that are heavily infested with AIS may require a quarantine to kill any AIS that may not have been killed during a decontamination.

Can I use a car wash to decontaminate my watercraft?
No. Only an authorized inspector can decontaminate watercraft in Wyoming. In addition, the water used at car washes does not reach the high temperatures needed to kill AIS, and the effluent may drain into a water and spread any AIS washed from the watercraft. It is best to decontaminate watercraft on a dirt or gravel surface where the effluent water can evaporate.

Can I disinfect my watercraft using bleach or other chemicals?
No. Hot water or drying are the only approved decontamination methods in Wyoming. Chemicals, such as bleach, have not been proven to be effective in disinfecting all AIS and may damage your watercraft and equipment.

Last updated: February 16, 2020

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Mailing Address:

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area South District Visitor Center
20 US Hwy 14A

Lovell, WY 82431


307 548-5406
(307) 548-5406 is the South District in Lovell, WY. (406) 666-9961 is the North District in Fort Smith, MT.

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