By Alisha Davidson, Ph.D.
ML&SA Research and Development Coordinator

The “Clean, Drain and Dry” approBoat Wash pixach to preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species has several components, including cleaning your boat with hot and/or high-pressure water. Car washes work for some boats, but boat owners may not know where the nearest wash is and the wash must have the option to self-operate a high-pressure hose. To ensure that boats are clean before they travel into or out of a lake, some organizations are installing boat wash stations at their launches. These boat wash stations can be portable or permanent and use high pressure or hot water spray to remove aquatic invasive species from the exterior of boats, trailers and equipment.

Portable stations are generally mounted on a trailer and can be moved between launches, which allows stations to move between launches based on high boater numbers (e.g., fishing tournaments) or other considerations. Portable stations are also generally less expensive and are great educational tools to raise awareness of aquatic invasive species.

Permanent stations are constructed at a specific site and use municipal water. These are generally more common on lakes with only one boat launch (or only one popular boat launch) and funded by a lake group. While there are some general features of boat wash stations, each situation is unique. Boat wash stations also have their challenges, even once installed – boaters can avoid the wash unless local or state ordinances make washing mandatory and there can be low public acceptance of the extra time and/or cost required by boat washing. Before investing in a portable or permanent boat wash, Michigan Lake and Stream Associations recommends talking with other groups who have taken this step. The following individuals have offered to share their experience with interested lake groups:

Higgins Lake Foundation, Contact: Vicki Springstead; info@higginslake-foundation.org, 989-275-9183

Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Contact: Julie Chamberlain, hambj16@ferris.edu, 231-591-2324

Hagerman Lake, Contact: Ian Shackleford, ishackleford@fs.fed.us, 906-932-1220 x331

NE Lower Peninsula, Contact: Melissa Buzzard, Melissa@huronpines.org, 989-448-2293 x17

Invasive Species Control Coalition of Watersmeet, Contact: Jeff Pytlarz, info@isccw.org, please email

Crystal Lake & Watershed Association, Contact: Joel Buzzell, jabuzzell@me.com, 231-871-0571


In addition, Hagerman Lake has several documents available online about their boat wash station:

Hagerman Lake boat washing station details: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5446348.pdf

Hagerman Lake boat washing station photos: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5400155.pdf

Trailered pressure washer photos: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5439576.pdf

"Try Something Different" (To Protect Your Lake from Aquatic Invasive Species)
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