Big Sky Roundup

Yellowstone National Park reminds visitors of boating guidelines

By: - May 28, 2021 3:51 pm

A sign that reminds boaters to clean for aquatic invasive species (Tom Koerner/USFWS).

Yellowstone National Park encourages the public to get ready for boating and fishing season, which begins May 29. Boaters and anglers should clean, drain and dry all boats and equipment prior to arriving in the park to minimize the risk of introducing aquatic invasive species into Yellowstone’s waters. Watercraft equipped with sealed internal ballast tanks are banned from all park waters as inspections cannot always detect aquatic invaders in these types of boats.

Clean, drain and dry

Boaters and anglers, ensure you do not transport invasive species to the park by:
  • Cleaning all plants, animals, mud, sand and other debris from your boat, anchor, boots and equipment. Use high-pressure, hot (120-140F) water if possible. Felt-soled footwear are banned because they can carry microscopic disease organisms even after cleaning.
  • Draining all water from your boat, including the motor, bilge, livewell and other compartments before you arrive. Leave drain plugs out during transport. Do not move water or organisms from one water body into another.
  • Drying all compartments and equipment in the sun for five days.
Clean, drain and dry requirements are necessary steps to protect the park’s and nation’s waterways. Invasive species pose a grave and growing threat to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and surrounding economies. They can quickly and drastically transform habitats and food webs, causing permanent declines in sport fish and food resources for native wildlife.
Species like nonnative quagga and zebra mussels have caused costly, irreversible damage to waterways in the Midwestern and eastern United States and in the Colorado River drainage, including Lake Mead and Lake Powell. If these nonnative mussels are found in Yellowstone, park waters may close to all watercraft to prevent the spread to other waterways. People are encouraged to report violations and potential discoveries of aquatic invasive species. The park will continue efforts to develop an AIS Management Plan and Rapid Response Framework in collaboration with the surrounding states.

Permits and inspections

Watercraft and angler float tubes must have a permit and a Yellowstone AIS inspection prior to launching in park waters. Permits and inspections are available for purchase 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., seven days per week during the summer season at the following locations:
Motorized and non-motorized watercraft (including angler float tubes)
  • Bridge Bay Ranger Station
  • Grant Village Backcountry Office
  • Lewis Lake Ranger Station
Angler float tubes only
  • West Yellowstone Visitor Information Center
  • Bechler Ranger Station
  • North Entrance
  • Northeast Entrance
Yellowstone fishing permits can be purchased at in-park stores, vendors in surrounding communities or online via

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