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Clean, Drain and Dry
Clean, Drain and Dry
Boat with plants & possible invasive species needing clean, drained and dry

​​​​​​​​​​​​Boat​​​​​​​​​​​​ Operators are Required to Clean Drain Dry in between each and every use.  

Preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species starts with you – the boat operator. A cooperative effort is necessary by all persons and agencies involved with boating to protect natural resources and recreational opportunities. 

Boats, trailers and equipment can easily transport invasive species. CPW focuses professional watercraft inspection and decontamination services at the highest risks waters. There will never be enough resources to have boat inspections on every ramp in the state. Therefore, all boat operators are required to clean, drain and dry in between each and every use to prevent the spread of harmful invasive species.

CLEAN, DRAIN and DRY.  Every Time!

Follow these guidelines ​before leaving a body of water:


  • Remove any visible plant or plant fragments as well as mud or other debris. Plant material, mud and other debris routinely contain other organisms that may be an aquatic nuisance species, and plant fragments and animals can survive in mud many days out of water. Some plant species are aquatic nuisance species. 

  • Check trailer, including axel and wheel areas - in and around the boat itself: anchor, props and jet engines, ropes, boat bumpers, paddles.

  • Clean, ​​​check and dry off all parts and equipment that c​ame in contact with water.

  • Empty bait buckets into trash. Do not empty any bait fish into the lake or reservoir.


  • Drain every conceivable space or item that can hold water.

  • Follow factory guidelines for eliminating water from engines. All engines hold water, but jet drives on personal watercraft and other boats can hold extra water.

  • Remove the drain plug from boats and put boat on an incline so that the water drains out.​​​​

  • Drain live-wells, bilge, ballast tanks and transom wells.

  • Empty water out of kayaks, canoes, rafts, etc.


  • Allow everything to completely dry before launching into another body of water.

Pull the Plug and Remove all Plants!

In 2016, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, along with fellow western states, adopted regulation which require all aquatic vegetation to be removed from the watercraft, trailer and equipment prior to leaving the vessel staging area at the lake or reservoir.  

Boat operators are also required to remove all water drain plugs prior to transport. It is no longer legal to transport a boat and trailer (conveyance) over land with plants on board or plugs in place.

Find more information about aquatic nuisance species.