AIS Watercraft Inspection & Decontamination

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program

We’ve partnered with the MN DNR, Lake SWCD, Burntside Lake Association, Pelican Lakeshore Owners Association, Vermilion Lake Association, White Iron Chain of Lakes Association, Fayal Township, the City of Gilbert, and Voyageurs National Park to offer watercraft inspection and decontamination services as many as 22 different lakes. Funding is provided by St. Louis County AIS Prevention Program and Lake SWCD.

Watercraft Inspections

Watercraft inspectors are trained and certified by the MN DNR to visually and tactilely inspect watercraft for aquatic invasive species (AIS) or other foreign matter that could potentially spread AIS, such as water, mud, plants or other debris. Inspectors educate boaters about the issues and impacts of AIS and inform boaters of the laws regarding AIS transportation. Inspectors also demonstrate to boaters how to inspect and remove AIS from boating equipment prior to leaving the lake access. Most inspections are quick, taking less than three minutes. However, if decontamination is required, boaters will be delayed. Inspectors are stationed at public and private accesses around various lakes through early October annually.

Watercraft inspections are required for all watercraft and water-related equipment when an inspector is present at an access (MN Statute 84D). Failure to stop for inspections by watercraft inspectors will be reported to MNDNR Conservation Officers and citations may be issued.


Watercraft Decontaminations

FREE decontamination services are offered around northern St. Louis County and the State. A decontamination consists of a hot water soak with temperatures of 120°F for 2 minutes or 140°F for 10 seconds.  If needed, a high-pressure spray will be used to remove attached material. Lake and river users can get their boat, canoe, kayak, jet ski, or any other water related equipment decontaminated in 10-30 minutes. Decontaminations are often a voluntary process but according to state law, watercraft and equipment found with AIS or standing water must be decontaminated before launching. These decontamination units are staffed May through September/October annually. Check out the Decon Site map for locations and times.

AIS Watercraft Inspectors are hired April-July annual!


Always There Staffing, Inc   –   search for “watercraft inspector”

This is a great opportunity for retirees, teachers, students, or anyone looking for some extra spending cash with a passion for protecting MN waters.  (apply early, positions can fill quickly!)

Project Reports

Project Summary 2023

Project Summary 2022

Program Summary 2021

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program 2019

Resort Inspection Program 2019

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program 2018

Resort Inspection Program 2018

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program 2017

Resort Inspection Program 2017

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Program 2016

Project Partners

St. Louis County


City of Gilbert

Fayal Township

Burntside Lake Association

Vermilion Lake Association

Pelican Lakeshore Owners Association

White Iron Chain of Lakes Association

Voyageurs National Park

More Information »
North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District

505 3rd St N, Ste A,
Virginia, MN 55792
Office Hours: 8:30 - 4 Monday-Friday and by appointment

Upcoming Board Meetings

Wednesday, June 12th at 10:30 a.m.
This meeting will be held in-person at the SWCD office. A link is available to join virtually by contacting Anita at least 2 hours prior to the meeting. The public is welcome to attend.

View Meeting Schedule »
Minnesota Clean Air and Water Legacy Amendment