Beginning May 15, 2014, all trailered boats being launched into Lake George must undergo an inspection at one of the six regional inspection stations around Lake George before they launch. The purpose of this inspection is to ensure that boats and trailers are clean, drained and dry, and are harboring no invasive species. Our goal is to keep Lake George clean for the future, so that we can all enjoy this lake in its current high quality state for generations to come. There is no cost to boaters for these inspections, or the washing of the boat and trailer if determined necessary by an inspection technician.
Inspection Station Locations
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this boat inspection program about?
This program has been developed to help prevent new aquatic invasive species from being introduced into Lake George. Trailered boats are the primary means whereby invasive species travel from waterbody to waterbody, and this program is intended to help eliminate this threat to the lake.
What boats need to be inspected under this program?
Only trailered vessels are required to be inspected prior to launching in Lake George. This includes motorboats, personal watercraft, and sailboats. Canoes, kayaks, and other cartop watercraft are not subject to inspections.
How does this program work?
All trailered boats must get inspected and “sealed” at a regional inspection facility before launching into Lake George. Once inspected (and decontaminated if not clean, drained and dry), you can launch at that site or go to your favorite launch on Lake George (public or private). When you retrieve your boat from the lake, the launch owner or operator will put another inspection seal on your boat before you leave. If that seal is still intact when you return to Lake George again (i.e. you haven’t launched into another lake), you do not need to be re-inspected and you can just go to your favorite Lake George launch. However, if you have launched at another lake and/or the seal is broken, you will need to be re-inspected prior to launch into Lake George.
Is there a fee for inspection?
No. There is no cost for the inspection.
Is there a cost for a decontamination, if required?
No. If an inspection technician determines that your vessel or trailer needs to undergo decontamination, that service will be provided at no cost at the inspection facility.
Where are the inspection stations located?
There are six regional inspection stations located at convenient locations around Lake George, as shown on the map here.
Can I get my boat inspection tag at a regular NYS auto inspection facility?
No, only at one of the six regional Lake George invasive species inspection stations noted on the map on this website.
Does my jet ski need to be inspected?
Yes, jetskis, waverunners, etc are trailered vessels, and need to be inspected prior to launch.
What are the inspection station hours of operation?
Hours vary by site and season, and are available here.
How long does an inspection take?
Inspections are done on a first-come first-served basis and will take between five and ten minutes to complete, depending on the size and condition of the boat. All efforts will be made to staff the inspection sites appropriately to keep the wait to a minimum.
What should I expect when I arrive at the inspection station?
At the inspection stations you will be greeted by a Vessel Inspection Technician. They will ask you a few questions about your boat and launching history. Then they will physically look and feel for evidence of aquatic invasive species (AIS) inside all compartments of your vessel, including but not limited to the anchor, all bilge & storage compartments, ballast tanks or bladders, ropes & fenders, live or bait wells, etc. They will also inspect the outside of your vessels hull, including the trailer, as well as the engine outdrive & intakes. Once the inspection process is complete, the inspector will inform you if they will need to perform a decontamination, which includes washing and flushing all areas needing decontamination with 140 degree hot water to kill any remaining AIS. Before you leave the inspection station, if you are going to a different launch site, you will receive a wire inspection seal. The seal is typically installed through the bow ring of your boat through a secure location on your trailer.
At the launch ramps, the launch owner will inspect your seal and remove it prior to launching and install a new one when you haul your boat out of the water. The next time you go to launch, if the wire inspection seal is still “intact” you will be able to launch without another inspection. However, if you launch somewhere other than Lake George or the seal is not “intact” you will be required to visit one of the inspection stations for another inspection prior to launching and to get a new inspection seal installed.
Clean, Drain and Dry your boat after every use–including the engine outdrive, bilge, ballast tanks, live wells and storage compartments including their contents. Clean up any oil, dirt or debris inside bilges and storage compartments, and remove all items inside these compartments prior to arriving for your inspection. Make sure all systems are operational, including batteries, engine(s), pumps, etc.
Vessel Inspection Technicians will be checking all compartments for wet ropes and/or dirty anchors, etc. so be sure all equipment and compartments are dry when you arrive. Any wet or dirty equipment will need to be decontaminated.
Inspecting your own boat thoroughly and removing any AIS that may be clinging to carpeted trailer bunks or wheel wells on the trailer, will help expedite the process. Arrive clean, drained and dry.
What is a boat decontamination (washing) & how long does it take?
Decontamination is a process where the exterior of the boat and its systems are flushed using 140 degree water to destroy any invasive species that may be present on the boat or trailer. If the boat requires a hot water decontamination, that will happen at one of our six regional Inspection Stations on a first-come first-served basis. There is no cost for this decontamination, and no chemicals will be used. Boats that arrive clean, drained and dry will not be required to go through the decontamination process. Depending on the complexity of your vessel, decontaminations can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. If you flush your boat’s engine at home, please bring your flush kit and any adapters with you to the inspection station, as we have only the most common adapters and tools for the decontamination process.
My boat stays at a quick launch or a marina, who launches and retrieves my boat for me at the beginning and end of the season. What do I need to do?
Agreements will be put in place with various marinas who operate primarily “Lake George” boats. If that boat is under their administration and does not leave their facility (or Lake George), inspections will not be required. For more information, check with your marina or storage facility, or contact the Commission at (518) 668-9347.
What are Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and why are they such a big deal?
AIS are non-native species (plants and animals) and are a tremendous threat to all of our lakes. They can impact water quality, the ecology of a lake, our recreational enjoyment of that lake, and even affect the local economies which depend heavily on that lake. Lake George currently has five invasive species, and more than $7 million dollars has been spent trying to control these species over the past two decades. Some invasives have no control, and have long-term impacts on water bodies which have no cure. Prevention of new introductions of invasives through a mandatory boat inspection program is the best way to protect Lake George for the future.
The five invasive species currently present in Lake George are: the Asian Clam, Curly-leaf pondweed, Eurasian watermilfoil, spiny water flea and Zebra mussels. Arriving clean, drained and dry assists in preventing the spread of AIS.
For more information, visit us at the Invasive Species Information Page.
Why are these inspections so important & what are inspectors looking for?
Boat inspections are an essential part of preventing the inadvertent transport of aquatic invasive species into the pristine waters of Lake George. Invasive species have devastating environmental and economic impacts on the lake itself, surrounding communities, and native species populations. Most invasive species do not have predators to keep their populations in balance and, once introduced, are difficult or impossible to eradicate. Aquatic pests, including both plants and animals, are easily carried by trailered boats and can infect new waterbodies if care is not taken.
How is this program funded?
Funding for this program has been generously provided in a 50-50 cost-sharing effort between New York State through its Environmental Protection Fund, and by a local partnership of municipalities and nonprofit organizations.
What organization is in charge of this program?
The NYS Lake George Park Commission. The Commission is a New York State agency created in 1961 specifically to help protect Lake George for the future. While the Commission is the regulatory agency responsible for this program, it would not be possible without the tremendous support of the communities surrounding Lake George and the many nonprofit organizations and other agencies who work to protect the Lake.
Where do I find more information about Lake George and how this program was developed?
Go to the Lake George Park Commission’s website at www.lgpc.state.ny.us, which has a great deal of information about Lake George and the programs developed to protect it.
Where do I find the actual regulations related to this program?
The regulations are on the Commission website, here.
What should I do before I arrive at the inspection station?
You should "Clean, Drain and Dry" your boat before arriving at one of the Lake George Inspection Stations. To find out more about this process (CDD), please visit ProtectLakeGeorge.com.
Lake George Boat Inspections
Lake George is known as the “Queen of American Lakes”, and is one of the foremost natural treasures in the United States. It is one of the clearest large lakes in the world, and is a popular tourist destination for visitors from around the world. In 1961, the NYS Legislature established the Lake George Park Commission as a state agency to help protect Lake George for the future, while maintaining the resource as a high-use recreational lake for its millions of annual visitors.
One of the greatest threats to Lake George comes from aquatic invasive species. Invasive species are plants or animals which are not native to the region, and can cause significant ecological and economic impact to a waterbody. Currently, Lake George has five invasive species present in its waters. To date, more than $7 million has been spent working to control and eradicate these invasives, and this costly work is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.
The primary mechanism whereby invasive species are introduced into waterbodies is through boating. When boaters leave a waterbody and trailer their boat to another waterbody, there is a chance that plants or other invasive species may be on the boat or the trailer. Some of the most concerning aquatic invasive species are non-detectable to the eye in their juvenile form, and can reside in the bilge area or even in the coolant water in the engine. When the infected boat is launched into a new waterbody, that species gets introduced into that waterbody and the problems begin.
Protecting Lake George
To keep new invasive species from entering Lake George, the Lake George Park Commission underwent a two-year study of ideas and alternatives for prevention. This was a very public process which included dozens of public meetings and input, resulting in an Environmental Impact Statement and AIS Prevention Plan which outlined various alternatives for protection. With unanimous support from the nine municipalities around Lake George, the Commission voted to put a new regulatory program forward to require the inspection of all trailered boats prior to being launched into Lake George. This program follows similar successful efforts in many states and key waterbodies out in the western U.S., particularly Lake Tahoe.
Program Partners & Funding Entities
- NYS Environmental Protection Fund, Andrew Cuomo, Governor
- NYS Lake George Park Commission
- Warren County
- Lake George Association
- Fund for Lake George
- Village of Lake George
- Town of Lake George
- Town of Queensbury
- Town of Bolton
Contact the Lake George Park Commission
Lake George Park Commission
75Fort George Road, PO Box 749
Lake George, NY 12845
Email us using the form here.
For more information on the background for this program, visit www.lgpc.state.ny.us.