By Marla Prell,
Montana, Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Region 7 Information and Education Program Manager
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wardens would like to remind watercraft users that they must stop every time they pass an AIS inspection station, even if they have previously been inspected.
For example, if a person goes through an inspection station at 7 a.m. and receives a copy of the watercraft inspection form, and then drives past the same inspection station at 2 p.m. on their way home, they need to stop again.
According to Region 6 Warden Captain Ron Howell, many folks have been bypassing inspection stations after already being inspected, thinking they are in the clear for the day, or even the weekend, with the copy of the inspection form.
“The yellow carbon copy of the inspection form is not a ‘free pass’ to bypass a station,” said Howell. “Boaters still have to stop every time. Having a copy of a previous inspection may speed things along during an inspection, but it does not give a boater the right to bypass a station.”
This even includes if the boater is going back and forth to the same body of water and perhaps a camp site, while going by an inspection station, multiple times a day.
“With hundreds and even thousands of boats recreating, it is essentially impossible to keep track of who has stopped for an inspection and who hasn’t,” said Howell. “If you pass by an inspection station with a water vessel, there is a good chance you will be pulled over.”
Additionally, all nonresident watercraft must be inspected before they launch in the state of Montana, regardless whether there is an inspection station open or not. Nonresidents can get their boat inspected at any AIS station or at any FWP Regional office.