Watercraft inspection stations to open in Montana

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The first watercraft inspection stations of 2019 will open this month in Kalispell, Ravalli and Browning. Watercraft inspection stations are Montana’s first line of defense to prevent the movement of aquatic invasive species.

The Fish, Wildlife & Parks Region 1 office in Kalispell will offer boat inspections seven days a week beginning March 13. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes plan to open the Ravalli watercraft inspection station on Highway 200 on March 15. The Blackfeet Nation expects to open a station in Browning later this month.

Boat owners should ensure their watercraft and trailers are clean, drained and dry before transport and need to be aware of Montana’s inspection rules:

All watercraft coming into Montana from out of state must be inspected prior to launching.

All watercraft traveling west across the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin must be inspected prior to launching.

All watercraft launching anywhere within the Flathead Basin that were last launched on waters outside of the Flathead Basin must be inspected.

Anyone transporting watercraft must stop at all open watercraft inspection stations they encounter.

Snowbirds returning to Montana with a watercraft must seek out an inspection. Watercraft that have been used in mussel-infested waters in other states are of major concern. Boat owners returning to Montana must have their vessel inspected at a Montana watercraft inspection station, even if the watercraft was checked in another state.

To accommodate these rules, inspection stations are set up across Montana during the boating season. Additional inspection stations will open in April and May as the weather warms and boat traffic increases.

Watercraft can also be inspected at any Fish Wildlife and Parks area or regional office. For a full list and map along with other information, visit cleandraindrymt.com or call 406-444-2440.

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