by Paul J. Sniadecki, MLSA Board Director

If you are a human being, ”seeing spots” before your eyes is many times a sign that you might need prompt medical attention. If you want to protect Michigan waters from further Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) contamination and infestation then “seeing spots” is desirable.

During the summer of 2019, boaters in Illinois began “seeing spots” that provided them time and space to Inspect, Remove, Drain, and Dry their watercraft after being on the water. Illinois has a state law similar to the Michigan’s law to inspect and drain that became effective on March 21, 2019.

Illinois’s Waukegan Harbor and North Point Marina are leaders in the state’s Transport Zero effort, signs direct boaters to a dedicated area with detailed diagrams and information on how to follow the law. This dedicated “spot” and performance aids make it easy for boaters to comply with the law.

This practice is consistent with human behavior research studies that say if you want to humans to behave in a certain way, then make it easy for humans to be good.

So, what about Michigan’s boating access sites? Has anyone observed dedicated “spots” being created for the required Inspect/Drain/Clean of watercraft? Given Michigan’s vast water resources and the known scope of existing AIS contamination, should responsible leaders include “spots” to assist watercraft users to comply with the new law? Since Illinois access sites have boaters “seeing spots”, it should be easy for Michigan access sites to have their own “spots.”

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