ALBANY (WENY) – New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding everyone to clean, drain, and dry boats and trailers, and disinfect fishing gear to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).
Starting May 27, boat stewards will be stationed at more than 200 boat launches throughout the state to educate and assist the public in cleaning their equipment.
Identified by their blue vests, boat stewards can provide a refresher on how to inspect boats and gear and offer information about invasive species in New York.
“New York’s abundant lakes, ponds, and streams are vital to the state’s ecology and economy, which is why DEC and our partners are helping protect against the impacts of aquatic invasive species,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Recreating responsibly in New York waters is a critical component for preventing the spread of invasive pests and our dedicated boat stewards will be working hard to protect New York’s waters for the benefit and enjoyment of all. I’m asking New Yorkers to follow their useful instructions to help prevent aquatic invaders.”
Boat stewards are volunteers or paid members of the community who help protect New York State’s waters.
Since 2008, the number of watercraft inspection steward programs is steadily increasing. Last year, DEC stewards provided courtesy inspections for more than 240,000 boaters.
They have intercepted over 14,000 invasive species, including zebra mussels, Eurasian watermilfoil, and curly leaf pondweed.
Visit DEC’s website for more tips on how to clean, drain, and dry watercraft, fishing gear, and other equipment and for more information about New York’s watercraft inspection steward program.