New boat inspection program website and online incentive course

Help keep Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish free of invasive species

April 17, 2014 - by Heather Higgins

Whatcom County boaters can now find
out how to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) on a
new, easy-to-use website:
. Boaters and community members are
invited to explore the new website to find quick and easy access to
vital information regarding the Boat Inspection Program, including
program updates, fees, inspection locations, Aquatic Invasive Species
(AIS) prevention information, and a link to the new

AIS Awareness Course

Community participation is essential in the effort to prevent the spread
of aquatic invasive species into our county’s lakes. The public will
play a key role in preventing the spread of AIS, according to Whatcom
County’s Natural Resources Manager, Gary Stoyka, “We consider this
program largely educational in that we are working to create a level of
public awareness that will enable people to self-sufficiently clean,
drain, and dry their boats to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive
species to and from Whatcom County waters.”


AIS Awareness Course
is designed to further public awareness of the
AIS issue. Successful completion of the course entitles participants to
a $10 discount on each annual boat permit being purchased. The course
takes about 30 minutes to complete and aims to educate participants on
AIS prevention and boat inspection practices to help stop the spread of
aquatic invasive species to Whatcom County waters. Those needing permits
for multiple watercraft only need to take the course once to receive the
discount for all of their boats.

All watercraft using Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish, including
non-motorized vessels such as kayaks and canoes, are required to be
permitted and inspected for aquatic invasive species in 2014.

Permits and Day Passes

Motorized or Registered Watercraft (including all motorized boats as
well as registered sailboats):

  •  Annual Permit ($50) unlimited inspections (valid through Dec.
  •  3-Day Pass ($20) unlimited inspections (valid for 3
    consecutive days)

Non-Motorized Watercraft * (including canoes, kayaks, and rowboats):

  •  Annual Permit ($10) unlimited inspections (valid through Dec.

* A 2014 permit is not required for paddle boards, kite boards, or
inflatables that are less than 10 feet in length.

Starting April 26, annual permits and day passes can be purchased by
credit by credit card at the Bloedel Donovan and Lake Samish boat launches.
For hours of operation, check the
Inspection services are available by appointment for people with multiple
watercraft or who are unable to trailer their watercraft to an inspection
station—call the Whatcom Boat Inspection Hotline at (360) 778-7975.

Species of concern

Aquatic invasive species of particular concern are zebra and quagga
mussels. These invasive mussels were first discovered in the Great Lakes in
the late 1980s, and by 2007, had been transported west to Lake Mead in
Arizona/Nevada. Since 2007, they have spread to waterways in several other
western states, and watercraft contaminated with these mussels continue to
be intercepted at our borders each year.

If transported to Whatcom County lakes, these mussels pose the risk of
serious and costly impacts by damaging public and private water intakes,
docks, boats, and other shoreline infrastructure. These AIS could also
render shoreline areas hazardous and unusable for recreational users and
property owners. Additionally, mussel infestations cause long-term taste and
odor problems in drinking water and displace native aquatic species. “We are
working hard, with the help of our community, to stay ahead of the curve on
this issue to protect our drinking water supply and preserve our natural
resources,” said Jon Hutchings, the City’s Assistant Director of Natural

More information

Boat Inspections

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS)


  • Gary Stoyka, Natural Resources Manager Whatcom County – Public Works
    Department, (360) 676-6876,
  • Jon Hutchings, Assistant Director Natural Resources Public Works
    Department, (360) 778-7977,

Media Contact

​Gary Stoyka, Natural Resources Manager
Whatcom County – Public Works Department
(360) 676-6876

Renee LaCroix, Assistant Director Natural Resources
Public Works Department
(360) 778-7966

More City News >>

Subscribe to City News