For information regarding the Whatcom Aquatic Invasive Species Program, Boat Inspections, Online Course Discount and Permit Fees, please visit the program website:
FAQs: The Aquatic Invasive Species and the Boat Inspection Program for Lake Whatcom And Lake Samish
What are aquatic invasive species (AIS)?
Aquatic invasive species are non-native plants and animals that live primarily in water, thrive in a new environment, and cause economic loss, environmental damage, and harm to human health. For more information go to:
Which boats are needing permits?
Starting in 2014 all watercraft are required to be inspected for aquatic invasive species and to display a valid AIS permit sticker prior to launching and while operating on Lake Whatcom or Lake Samish. This new requirement includes non-motorized, hand-carried watercraft such as canoes and kayaks. Permits will not be required for surfboards, paddle boards, and kite boards; float tubes and water sport toys; and inflatables that are 10 feet or less in length.
What are the permit fees?
Motorized or Registered Watercraft
Annual Permit (expires December 31, 2014) — $50
3-Day Pass (valid for 3 consecutive days) — $20
Non-Motorized Watercraft (that do not require registration) *New in 2014
Annual Permit (expires December 31, 2014) — $10
Get $10 off your 2014 Annual Permits - more information here.
How do I get my permit/sticker?
You can purchase your permit online here (starting on April 1, 2014) and print out the receipt to have with you for your inspection.
Discounts are not accepted online. If you take the online course, you must purchase your permit in person. You can also purchase a permit in person, and get your boat inspected, at the Bloedel Donovan Park Boat Launch, 7 days a week, from dawn to dusk (starting on April 26, 2014). You can pay by credit card –no cash is accepted. Permits will also be available for purchase at the WDFW launches at Lake Samish and South Bay (when inspection stations are open).
How long does an inspection take and what will the inspectors be checking?
Inspections are generally taking about 10-15 minutes, depending on the complexities of your boat. When your boat is inspected, the inspector will ask you several questions about your boat and launching history. They will then visually and physically inspect your boat for any evidence of aquatic invasive species. This is done inside all of the compartments as well as on the outside of your watercraft. When your vessel passes inspection you will be given
our AIS permit sticker(s) to affix to your boat.
How can I make my inspection a more quick and simple process?
Make sure your boat is cleaned, drained, and dried before your inspection. Remove any gear or equipment from internal compartments ahead of time and make sure all compartments are cleaned, drained, and dry.
Where can I get my boat inspected?
Starting on April 1, 2014, you can get your boat inspected at the City of Bellingham's Natural Resources Office at 2200 Nevada Street by appointment. Starting on April 26, 2014, you can get your boat inspected at the Bloedel Donovan Park Boat Launch,
or at the Lake Samish WDFW Boat Launch. Please see the new website for up-to-date hours of operation at these locations.
Lake Whatcom and Lake Samish residents that cannot trailer their boat to an inspection station,
or that have multiple watercraft,
can call to arrange for a boat inspection appointment at their residence, but permits need to be purchased prior to the appointment and a receipt printed as proof of payment. Please have the receipt with you when your boat is inspected.
What number can I call to arrange for a boat inspection?
Starting on March 1, 2014, you can call the inspection hotline at 360-778-7975. If you get a voicemail message, please leave your name and phone number and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.
Where can I find a copy of the Whatcom County AIS ordinance?
The ordinance adopted on February 25, 2014 for the Whatcom County AIS Program can be found here.