Category Archives: Courtesy Boat Inspections

2021 Courtesy Boat Inspection Season Finished


We’ve concluded our 3rd season of Courtesy Boat Inspections at the State boat launch. There is still some boating activity but it has slowed  down considerably since Labor Day weekend and I think it’s safe to say that anyone trailering a boat to go fishing this time of year are both avid and conscientious fishermen and are well aware of the need to clean their boats and trailers of hitchhiking plants. Most CBI programs ended their season on Labor Day. We decided to continue through September.

The main purpose our CBI program is two-fold. First is to prevent the accidental introduction of invasive plants into Clary Lake and second, to educate the General Public about the risks posed to Maine lakes from invasive plants and to encourage them to inspect, clean, and dry their boats after use. This year we removed 4 plant fragments from incoming boats, none of which turned out to be invasive. Statewide there were a total of 2,539 plant fragments removed from boats and trailers, 19 of which turned out to be invasive plants. The Maine DEP’s 2021 CBI Dashboard shows the lakes that have CBI programs on them and where invasive plants were intercepted this year. Continue reading

09 March 2021: IF&W Issues Invasive Species Alert

I was talking with a friend the other day about different ways that invasive plant and animal species can find their way into Maine lakes. One common way that doesn’t immediately come to mind is summer visitors dumping their aquariums including potentially invasive plant and animal species into a lake or pond at the end of the vacation season. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife sent this PSA around today:


Attention home aquarium owners:

moss ball and moss ball display at pet store

Left: a moss ball, Right: display of moss balls for sale at a pet store


Invasive zebra mussels have been found in “moss balls,” an aquarium plant product sold in Maine. Moss balls are commonly sold under trade names such as “Betta Buddy.” Zebra mussels, which so far have not become established in Maine, are one of the most destructive invasive species in North America.

If you recently purchased moss balls, immediately destroy them using one of these methods:

  • Freeze – Place the moss ball into a sealable plastic bag and freeze for at least 24 hours.
  • Boil – Place the moss ball in boiling water for at least 1 full minute.
  • Bleach – Submerge the moss ball in chlorine bleach for 20 minutes.

After destroying the moss ball, DISPOSE of the moss ball and any of its packaging in a sealed plastic bag in the trash. Do not dump moss balls down drains or in waterways or gardens.

If moss balls were placed in your aquarium, DRAIN and clean the aquarium:

  1.  Please remove fish and other living organisms and place them in another container, with water from a separate, uncontaminated water source.
  2. Aquatic plants may also harbor zebra mussels and should be destroyed along with the moss ball.
  3. Sterilize the aquarium water by adding 1 cup of bleach for each gallon of water. Sterilize filter, rocks, décor, and any other items in contact with the water.
  4. Let the water sit for 10 minutes and then dispose of the treated water down a household drain.

Thank you for doing your part to keep this invasive species out of Maine’s waterways. 

2020 Courtesy Boat Inspections Program Wrap Up

Some days it got pretty busy! Here one boat is coming out of the lake while another awaits their turn to put in.

Labor Day weekend marked the end of our 2020 Courtesy Boat Inspection season on Clary Lake. We had a volunteer at the State boat launch every weekend this summer, from 6 AM until 2 PM starting on Memorial Day weekend. All told we staffed 134 shifts for a total of 273 hours and conducted 421 boat inspections (including kayaks and canoes). For comparison, last season, our first summer doing CBI, we got a late start and ended up staffing just 85 two hour shifts during which we conducted 270 inspections. Last year we found 4 plants and this season we found 5. None of the plants found were considered invasive. Continue reading

5 August 2020: CBI Mid-Summer Update

Jack Holland conducting courtesy boat inspections at the State boat launch. Photo by George Fergusson

Our Courtesy Boat Inspection program is running like a well oiled bicycle this summer, thanks to an energetic and committed volunteer work force. We got a bit of a late start last year, but this year we started boat inspections on Memorial Day weekend and have managed to have volunteers at the State boat launch every weekend from 6 AM until 2 PM ever since. To date we’ve staffed 93 two-hour shifts for a total of 192.1 volunteer hours and have conducted 315 inspections. So far this year we’ve only found one plant on an inbound boat that turned out not to be invasive. State-wide there have been 4,312 shifts (most are two hour shifts but some are longer) and 54,815 inspections conducted and 1,616 plants were found, 67 of which have been identified as invasive plants. I’d say the program is working! You can look at the data directly using the 2020 Maine Courtesy Boat Inspection Dashboard. Select the Clary Lake Association from the “Select Organization” list to see our data. Continue reading

25 May 2020: Courtesy Boat Inspection Program Under Way

image000000Our 2020 Courtesy Boat Inspection program is underway and our first (long) weekend is behind us. The big surprise was the lack of traffic for Memorial Day weekend! Over three days our volunteers conducted only 24 inspections (we inspect water craft both entering and leaving the lake) many of which were kayaks or paddle boards. Perhaps the sub-zero temperatures this weekend has had something to do with the lack of traffic 😯 

Another surprising thing: many of the motor boats did not have 2020 registrations! The main reason people cited were closed town offices and in most cases they said they’ve registered their boats online but haven’t received the stickers yet. Not particularly surprising was the pile of trash (and a full diaper) that our intrepid volunteers collected and hauled off on Saturday. Good grief. What is wrong with people? Many people use my field in Jefferson to access the lake, and they generally do a pretty good job of keeping it clean and respecting the land. If I found a fraction of this amount of trash on my property I’d close down access in a heartbeat. Why do people think they can treat the State boat launch this way?

Last year we recorded data on paper forms which we scanned and emailed to Midcoast Conservancy who did the data entry for us. This year our inspectors are entering their own data at the boat launch directly into the DEP database using a cool phone app developed for the purpose. This is much much more efficient. The data is immediately available for review on the 2020 Maine Courtesy Boat Inspection Dashboard. Cool technology.

We’ll be conducing  boat inspections at the State boat launch off the North Clary Road from 6 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day and perhaps further into the fall. If you’re out and about stop by and say hello!


2020 Courtesy Boat Inspections: Looking for Volunteers!

Water Chestnut (Trapa natans L)

Water Chestnut (Trapa natans L), one of Maine’s Eleven Most Unwanted Aquatic Plants.

As we gear up for our second season of Courtesy Boat Inspections, everyone who volunteered last year has informed me that they are totally on board for another season which clearly indicates just how much fun they had doing courtesy boat inspections last summer: it really was a lot of fun! However, we very much want more volunteers to join our effort this year to help share the load: summer is a busy time and nobody can be expected to be available every day of every weekend, all summer long. Last year, with just 8 volunteers and 8 two-hour shifts per weekend to cover, some people just weren’t able to take a shift so some of us ended up pulling doubles. With enough volunteers to draw on, nobody should have to take more than one 2 hour shifts per weekend, if that. I very much enjoyed inspecting boats at the boat launch last summer and talking boats and fishing with people, and I look forward to doing it again. Continue reading

2019 Courtesy Boat Inspection Wrap Up.

20190928_071451-MediumLast weekend marked the conclusion of the Clary Lake Association’s first Courtesy Boat Inspection season and I’d like to thank our volunteers who gave of their valuable time to help out at the boat launch this past summer. In no particular order: Dave & Gayle Knight, Dan & Dolly Burns, Gareth Bowen, Wynne & Michael Keller, Malcolm Burson, Jack Holland, and George & Margaret Fergusson.

The purpose of the State’s Courtesy Boat Inspection Program is to prevent the transport and introduction of invasive aquatic plants into lakes in Maine, and this is the 19th year that the program has been in existence. With the repaired dam and newly restored water level this Spring we anticipated a significant increase in boat traffic and our concerns understandably turned to protecting Clary Lake from the chance introduction of invasive aquatic plants. It took a little while to get up and running, but finally, in early July, about a dozen CLA volunteers attended a short training session put on by Midcoast Conservancy (see “Courtesy Boat Inspection Training Set For July 1st“) and we started up our inspection program the following Saturday. Our goal was to have a courtesy boat inspector at the State boat launch on Saturdays and Sundays from 7 am until 3 pm. We broke the days up into 2 hour shifts. Continue reading

Courtesy Boat Inspection Training Set For July 1st

HYDRILLA (Hydrilla verticillata)

Back in late May I posted about the CLA’s plans to participate in the State’s Courtesy Boat Inspection program, which is administered by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. It has taken a while, but we have finally received a date for Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) training: Monday July 1st at 3:30 pm at Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust in Damariscotta which is located right across the road from Hammond Lumber Co. on Business Route One. The address is 3 Round Top Lane, Damariscotta ME 04348.  This training is a joint venture of Midcoast Conservancy and Coastal Rivers Conservation Trust and is being provided free-of-charge.
From the Midcoast Conservancy website:

What do courtesy boat inspectors do? The program is really an educational one. As boaters launch and remove their boats from the water, CBIs will discuss with boaters how invasive aquatic plants spread, show how to inspect boats and equipment for plant fragments, urge boaters to inspect before and after every launch, distribute information about invasive plants, and articulate Maine law regarding the transport of these plants.

We need volunteers! Our goal is to line up enough Courtesy Boat Inspectors to be able to cover the State boat launch on Clary Lake during the “busy” hours (7 AM to 3 PM) on weekends, as those are the days that typically see the most boat traffic. Typically volunteers would sign up for 2 hour shifts, and inspections would continue through Labor Day. If you’re interested in helping out with this important initiative, please contact the Secretary.

24 May 2019: CLA To Conduct Courtesy Boat Inspections

HYDRILLA (Hydrilla verticillata)

With the State boat launch back in service, our concerns rightly turn to protecting Clary Lake from the chance introduction of invasive aquatic plant species. To that end, the Clary Lake Association is gearing up to start participating in Maine’s Courtesy Boat Inspection (CBI) program starting this summer, and we’re going to need volunteers! While there are various ways invasive plants can make it into lakes, by far the most common transport mechanism is on boats and trailers. Sadly, there are a number of lakes in the State with an invasive aquatic plant problem including several nearby lakes. The goal will be to have enough people lined up and trained so that the boat launch can be covered during the weekends to inspect boats and trailers before they they put in the lake, to make sure there are no invasive plants hitching a ride. Continue reading