Last year’s requirement for all boats to be inspected and certified before launching in Flathead Indian Reservation waterbodies is no longer in effect. For this boating season, both Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) are implementing a pilot project that requires all boats traveling into the Flathead Basin from any direction, be inspected by a watercraft inspection station prior to launching into any Flathead Basin waters.
Watercraft that are already within the Flathead Basin when the pilot project took effect on March 16th, 2018 do not require a new inspection. Only boats that leave the basin and launch in outside water bodies, must be inspected before launch once they return to the Flathead Basin.
CSKT in collaboration with FWP are operating mandatory watercraft inspection stations in Ravalli, and Elmo along Highway 28 to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Additionally, inspections can be arranged with CSKT at 406 6th Ave E in Polson Monday through Thursday, 7 am to 5 pm. Appointments can be made by calling (406) 675-2700 ext. 7200 to arrange a watercraft inspection appointment.
Inspections can also be obtained at Jesco Boats in Kalispell Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to 7 pm or at FWP Kalispell Region 1 offices Monday through Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm.
Watercraft includes stand up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and inflatables.
The law applies to non-motorized watercraft owners and they will be ticketed if they drive by any open mandatory watercraft inspection station.
To ensure a speedy inspection, CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY your watercraft prior to arrival at a watercraft inspection station. At the inspection station inspectors will check to ensure live wells, anchors, bilges, engines and ballast tanks are clean and dry. “Boat owners need to open up live wells and take off boat covers at the inspection station” said Erik Hanson CSKT AIS coordinator.