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Visitors bringing boats to Montana are reminded of AIS rules

Thursday, March 25, 2021
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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks reminds nonresidents who bring a boat into Montana of laws that protect the state’s waterways. Montana FWP photo

Nonresidents planning to visit Montana should be aware of boating laws that protect the state’s waterways and ensure quality fishing and boating opportunities. Visitors bringing a boat to Montana must do two things before launching their watercraft:

1) The watercraft must be inspected before launching to ensure it is free of aquatic invasive species. This includes all motorized and non-motorized boats, stand-up paddle boards and personal pontoon boats used by anglers.

2) Nonresidents must purchase a Vessel AIS Prevention Pass for each watercraft they plan to use in Montana. The pass is valid for the entire year and expires Dec. 31. It is not transferrable between vessels.

• The fee for motorboats is $30 and applies to all motorized watercraft that is registered in another state or country.

• The fee for nonmotorized watercraft is $10 and applies to all non-motorized watercraft that nonresidents bring into Montana.

• The Vessel AIS Prevention Pass can be purchased online or at any FWP office. Proof of purchase is an electronic or paper receipt.

Nonresidents passing through Montana and not launching a watercraft are not required to purchase the pass. But anyone transporting watercraft in Montana must stop at ALL open watercraft inspection stations they encounter. Failure to stop could result in a fine of up to $500.

“Montana welcomes boaters and anglers to our state but we want to ensure visitors aren’t transporting invasive plants or animals that can severely damage our lakes and rivers” said Tom Woolf, AIS Bureau Chief. “Boats that are free of mud, water, plants and animals will have a quick and easy inspection.”

To find a watercraft inspection station or to learn more, go to or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.


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