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Protect the Waters of the Adirondacks & Know Proper Boat Washing Procedures

The Adirondacks are home to many beautiful lakes and ponds that are perfect for boating, and if you don't want to see them fall victim to the spread of aquatic invasive species, then you must take the time to follow the guidelines and regulations of boat washing. By knowing how to properly clean, drain, and inspect your boat, and where to find the nearest boat decontamination station, you can help stop these aquatic hitchhikers from spreading in NY State.

many boats near a dock on a lake

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What Are Aquatic Invasive Species?

Over the years, you may have heard the names Eurasian watermilfoil, water chestnut, zebra mussels, and didymo. These, among many others, are all species that are from other parts of the world but were accidentally introduced to habitats in NY State and other areas of the country.

Recognized as aquatic invasive species, these plants and animals can reproduce and spread at an alarmingly fast pace due to a lack of local predators, parasites, and diseases. As a result, they can disrupt an ecosystem, damage aquatic environments, and harm native species.

Preventing the Spread of These Invasive Species

When boats, trailers, waders, and other fishing and boating equipment aren't properly inspected and cleaned after use, then aquatic invasive species may spread from one body of water to another. Even though the transportation of these species may be accidental, the consequences on the affected waterbody could be severe.

To combat the spread of aquatic invasive species, NY State approved of new boating regulations in May of 2016. These boating regulations address cleaning, draining, and treating:

Cleaning - A watercraft or floating dock must be inspected by the owner for any plant or animal parts before it makes contact with the water. This includes the motor, livewells, anchor, bilges, rudder, gear and equipment, or any part that may touch the water. If there are any visible plant or animal parts, then they must be disposed of in a refuse receptacle for invasive species or in a place upland and away from the waterway.

Draining - Water must be drained from any parts of a watercraft that may come in contact with a waterway. This includes the motor, bilges, livewells, bait wells, ballast tanks, and other areas that are capable of holding water. Draining should be done away from a waterway. For personal watercrafts, when they are removed from a waterway and on land, the motor must be run for five seconds so water drains from the cooling system.

Treating - There are three reasonable precautions to take in order to properly treat your watercraft, trailer, or floating dock, and at least one must be conducted.

  1. First, the drying method involves exposure to the sun or a heated room for five days, exposure to subfreezing temperatures for three days, or if neither is possible, a towel can be used.
  2. Second, the rinsing method involves spraying a vessel and its external areas with hot water at a high pressure (2,500 psi) away from a waterway. If hot water is unavailable at the launch site, cold water is acceptable. It's recommended to rinse other water holding areas on your boat as well.
  3. Third, the painting method should be used prior to launching into marine or coastal district waters. In accordance with applicable laws, anti-fouling paint can be used on a watercraft or floating dock prior to launch.

Boat Washing/Decontamination Stations in the Adirondacks

The NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) prohibits the launching of undrained or contaminated boats and trailers at their launch facilities. In addition, many counties and towns have ordinances or regulations that prohibit the transportation of aquatic invasive species.

As of June 8, 2022, under a new state law if a DEC inspection station is adjacent to a public waterbody in the Adirondack Park and open for operation boaters must have either a self-issuing certification or decontamination certificate from a DEC inspection station before launching into the waterbody.

To ensure your boat and trailer are clean, it's recommended to visit a boat washing/decontamination station. The Adirondack Watershed Institute has put together a comprehensive map and list of these stations, and we've highlighted ones that are located in and around the Adirondacks.

  • Upper Saranac Lake NYS DEC Boat Launch - 12 Back Bay Rd, Saranac Lake, NY 12983
  • Second Pond NYS DEC Boat Launch - State Route 3, 3.5 miles southwest of the Village of Saranac Lake
  • Lake Placid NYS DEC Boat Launch - George & Bliss Ln, Lake Placid, NY 12946
  • Lake Champlain - Peru NYS DEC Boat Launch - 3920 U.S. 9, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
  • Lake Champlain - Willsboro NYS DEC Boat Launch - 73 Boat Launch Rd, Willsboro, NY 12996
  • Lake Champlain - Port Henry NYS DEC Boat Launch - 35 Dock St, Port Henry, NY 12974
  • Lake Champlain - Ticonderoga NYS DEC Boat Launch - 292 Fort Ti Rd, Ticonderoga, NY 12883
  • Lake Champlain - South Bay NYS DEC Boat Launch - 13 Co Rd 7A, Whitehall, NY 12887
  • Hudson River NYS DEC Boat Launch - 51 Boat Launch Dr, Lake Luzerne, NY 12846
  • Speculator - State Route 8/30 Pull-Off - State Route 8, 0.5 miles east of Speculator, NY 12164
  • Colton - Route 56 Pull-Off - State Route 56, Colton, NY 13625
  • Star Lake - State Route 3 Pull-Off - State Route 3, 2 miles east of Star Lake, NY 13690
  • Old Forge - State Route 28 Pull-Off - State Route 28, 4.5 miles southwest of Old Forge, NY 13420
  • Piseco - Common School on State Route 8 - State Route 8, 1 mile southeast of Piseco, NY 12139
  • Caroga - State Route 10 Pull-Off - 1840 NY-10, Caroga Lake, NY 12032
  • Great Sacandaga Lake - Northville NYS DEC Boat Launch - State Route 30, 1 mile northwest of Northville, NY 12134
  • Great Sacandaga Lake - Broadalbin NYS DEC Boat Launch - Off County Rte 110, 3 miles northeast of the Village of Broadalbin
  • Northern Schroon/Paradox - State Route 74 Pull-Off - 167 NY-74, Schroon Lake, NY 12870
  • Schroon Lake - Horicon NYS DEC Boat Launch - Glendale Road and East Shore Drive, Pottersville, NY 12860

Please note, prior to launching into Lake George or Loon Lake (in the Town of Chester), it's mandatory that you visit the appropriate boat decontamination station. There are seven stations on Lake George, and one on Loon Lake.

  • Lake George - Mossy Point Public Boat Launch - 158 Black Point Road, Ticonderoga, NY 12883
  • Lake George - Rogers Rock Public Campground and Boat Launch - 9894 Lake Shore Drive, Hague, NY 12836
  • Lake George - Norowal Marina - 21 Sagamore Road, Bolton Landing, NY 12814
  • Lake George - Dunham's Bay Marina - 2036 Bay Road, Lake George, NY 12845
  • Lake George - Million Dollar Beach Launch - 139 Beach Road, Lake George, NY 12845
  • Lake George - Transfer Road Inspection Station - Transfer Road, Lake George, NY 12845
  • Lake George - Huletts Landing Marina - 6068 Lakeside Way, Huletts Landing, NY 12841
  • Loon Lake - Town Boat Launch - State Route 8, 2 miles west of Chestertown, NY 12817

For more information about the region's boat washing stations and the aquatic invasive species prevention program, visit the Adirondack Watershed Institute's website »

Learn more about invasive species and harmful plants you can find in the Adirondacks »

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