The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program aims to protect Whatcom County's natural resources, infrastructure, recreation, wildlife, and economy from the impacts of aquatic invasive species by preventing the introduction of new aquatic invasive species to Whatcom County waters and by stopping the spread of established aquatic invasive species into new waters.
Whatcom Boat Inspections
The Lake Whatcom Management Program began implementing a watercraft inspection program in 2012 to prevent the introduction of zebra and quagga mussels, and other aquatic invasive species, to Whatcom County waters. To date, the program has conducted almost 100,000 watercraft inspections at Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish and has intercepted 29 boats transporting or suspected of transporting quagga mussels, 1,366 boats transporting vegetation, and another 3,579 boats that were either wet or had standing water on board. These boats were of particular concern because standing water can act as a vector for the spread of microscopic life stages of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra or quagga mussel larvae.
Learn more about the Whatcom Boat Inspection Program, aquatic invasive species, and what to expect when launching at Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish by visiting Whatcom Boat Inspections.
Boating Requirements in Whatcom County
Inspections are required for all watercraft operating on Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish (BMC 12.12.280 and WCC 2.27A), including non-motorized, hand-carried watercraft, such as canoes and kayaks. Prior to launching, and while operating on both lakes, all watercraft must display a valid aquatic invasive species permit. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalties of up to $1,000. Permits are not required for surfboards, paddle boards, and kite boards; float tubes and water sport toys; and non-motorized inflatables that are 10 feet or less in length.
AIS Awareness Course
The AIS Awareness Course provides important information about aquatic invasive species and program requirements for anyone who plans to boat on Whatcom County waters. It is easy to complete, it helps you become a more responsible boater, and it might save you some time and money when launching at Whatcom County lakes.