Ask a Conservation Officer: How much water must be drained from boats?
Q: I've been told I have to drain all the water from my boat before transporting it from a lake. I think a little water may be tough to get out of a livewell hose or corner of the bilge. Do I need to sop it up with a sponge before transport?
A: Minnesota's invasive species laws specify that you may not transport "water-related equipment," which includes, but is not limited to, docks, boat lifts, boats, bait containers, etc., without first draining the water to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
84D.10 specifies that you must do this by removing the drain or bilge plugs from your livewell, baitwell, bilge, etc., whenever transporting the equipment. While the law does not require further intrusion into the construction of the boat to ensure every drop is removed, we need to remember that AIS can be transported in a very small volume of water.
To help protect our waters and further slow the spread, it is a good idea to give your boat time to dry out between trips, wipe up any residual water or if multiple locations must be visited in a day, visit any uninfested waters first.
By following these laws and taking steps to prevent the spread, we can protect our waters from some of these damaging critters.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Conservation Officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit.