This second in a series of articles about the new 2018 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit provides both additional information about the program and answers questions from the first Waggoner eNews Article. 

Aquatic Invasive Species – What’s New and What’s Unchanged?

In our first article, we reported the new Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permits required for most out of Washington State watercraft. The permits are indeed new, but that’s about all that is new. Similar fees from in-state boaters have been around for some time as part of vessel registration. Rules governing movement and transportation of invasive aquatic species have been around for many years and remain mostly unchanged.

Enforcement of rules is a two topic matter. First, enforcement of the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Prevention Permits and similar WA State registration stickers. Second, enforcement of control and movement of invasive species. On-water enforcement of new permits is still unclear.  Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s (WDFW) responses to inquiries were less than specific. One response on this topic indicated there might be warnings for missing permits this first year.  Secondly, there are no indications of any substantial changes in existing and previous year’s enforcement of movement and control of invasive species by watercraft. The focus of these efforts appears to remain with boats transported over land (trailer boats).

Washington State AIS Prevention Permits or State Registration stickers are now required for watercraft and floatplanes operating on Washington waters.

Washington State registered watercraft include fees that provide funding for the State’s Aquatic Invasive Species prevention programs and a valid Washington State vessel registration sticker fulfills the requirement for AIS Prevention Permits.

New for 2018, out-of-state vessels are now required to purchase an AIS Prevention Permit when operating on Washington waters. AIS Prevention Permits can be purchased online or at any license sales location throughout the state. Permits are $24 ($20 permit + $2 dealer fee + $2 transaction fee) and are good for one year.

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and BC waters are some of the last areas of US and Canada that remain free of some of the most damaging aquatic invasive species. Zebra and Quagga mussels have already invaded other waters causing ecological damage and costing other states considerable expense. Preventing the spread of these invasive species is essential to saving our NW aquatic environments. Control and enforcement efforts to keep these organisms from northwest waters are costly. Washington’s budget for AIS prevention is one of the smallest among 19 other states. The AIS Prevention Permit and state registration sticker fees help the WDFW in their efforts to keep these damaging invasive species out.


It’s About Funding to Save Northwest Waters

WDFW Answers Questions

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife is implementing new 2018 AIS Prevention Permits. Fees from vessel registrations and registration stickers are not new. In preparing our Waggoner eNews article about the new permit, we discovered some implementation questions and concerns, and we asked WDFW to address them. We are happy to report that Allen Pleus, WDFW AIS Prevention Permit Administrator, has been helpful in responding to questions and concerns.

Since our first article, WDFW has changed their relevant website pages.  – Aquatic Invasive Species Information – AIS Prevention Permit Information – Purchase AIS Prevention Permit  – Out-of-state Vessel Permits

WDFW’s updated web pages help to clarify some implementation topics:

  • Dinghies and any watercraft used as a tender to a larger vessel do not need a separate AIS Prevention Permit.
  • Invasive species prevention practices and inspections are now described separately for watercraft transported into and between bodies of water by land (trailered boats) from those that move between bodies of water by water (salt-water cruising/sailing vessels).
  • AIS Prevention Permits are to help with funding for WDFW’s invasive species programs, and there is no direct connection between AIS Prevention Permits and watercraft inspections for invasive species.
  • Mandatory watercraft inspection stations are on land at roadside or at launch ramps. There are no mandatory on-water inspection stations.
  • Watercraft transported by land (trailer boats) are the primary focus of mandatory inspection stations.
  • Cruising/sailing vessels that enter Washington waters by water are not required to report to any mandatory inspection stations.
  • Except for those types for vessels listed as exempt on WDFW’s website, all vessels operating on Washington waters need to have either a valid Washington State vessel registration sticker or a valid AIS Prevention Permit.

~ Leonard & Lorena Landon, Managing Editors, Waggoner Cruising Guide