Several new state laws went into effect on July 1, including an updated bill regarding boat inspections.
The bill stipulates that no boater should transport a vessel or trailer in the state without first inspecting them for any vegetation and aquatic invasive species visible without optical magnification.
Boaters should safely dispose of any vegetation they find.
Wendy Flynn, an environmental analyst with the DEEP, recommends boaters remember three words. Clean. Drain. Dry.
Remove hanging weeds
"So when somebody pulls the boat out of the water, take a walk around the boat and make sure there are no hanging weeds," Flynn says. "If someone were to drive away, they would be subject to a fine of up to $100."
"So the first step is taking off as much as they can."
So, that’s the clean part.
Drain all the water from the boat at the launch, and dry or clean it when you get home
Drain? Drain all the water that is in the boat, including the live well, the bilge, and any other areas. Drain the water at the launch area.
The dry part can take place when they get back home. Dry the boat for one to four weeks. One week in dry hot weather, or four weeks in cooler wet weather.
Can’t wait that long?
Use hot, pressurized water to clean your boat. Or use a salt solution, or 100 percent vinegar. Those are the preferred options. If you don’t have those materials or tools available, wash your boat with a bleach solution, or boat soap and water, “the same way you would wash your car” prior to your next launch.
Complying with the law, protecting treasured marine resources
Sound like a lot of work?
Flynn says that by taking these steps, you’ll be doing more than just complying with the law. You’ll be doing your part to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, the kind of species that can crowd out the native species so dear to sport fisherman and others who enjoy our marine resources.
The bill also requires that safe boating courses approved by the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection should have instructions on how to identify and dispose of invasive species.
Old law had similar requirements, but new law requires inspections prior to transport
State law formerly required boaters to conduct these inspections, but the new law expands their responsibility by requiring boaters to inspect vessels and trailers before they are transported. Boaters are subject to a $100 fine per violation, and the revised law has this apply to any individual who commits a violation rather than anyone who knowingly violates the law.
The intent of the law is to reduce the spead of pests in Connecticut waterways.
More information on invasive species is available at the DEEP website.
Here are some additional resources from DEEP:
Protecting native species and the habitats in which they occur is an objective of the Department. To address the issue, the Department has taken measures to control and remove invasive species on state land while offering assistance to private landowners seeking to manage invasive species on their properties.
A Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plants in Connecticut - link to Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station
Controlling Phragmites australis (PDF) - Information on how to control Phragmites australis in freshwater and saltwater marshes.
Connecticut General Statutes (CGS)
Sec. 22a-381. Invasive Plants Council: Membership; meetings.
Sec. 22a-381a. Duties and recommendations of the Invasive Plants Council.
Sec. 22a-381b. Listing of invasive and potentially invasive plants by council. Criteria for listing. Approval by majority of council's membership.
Sec. 22a-381c. Prohibition on purchase of invasive or potentially invasive plants by state agencies.
Sec. 22a-381d. Prohibited actions concerning certain invasive plants. Municipal ordinances re invasive plants. Sec. 15-180. Transporting vessel or trailer without inspecting for and properly removing and disposing of vegetation. Public Act 10-20. To authorize conservation officers to enforce certain prohibitions concerning invasive plants. Public Act 12-167. An act requiring the inspection of vessels and vessel trailers for aquatic invasive species.