Some watercraft inspection stations are opening across the state for the 2019 boating season, and boaters transporting motorized or non-motorized watercraft are required to stop at stations they pass, as directed by signs. Additionally, western Montana boaters should review specific watercraft inspection requirements and local station information.
In west-central Montana, boaters must stop at any station they pass and also seek out an inspection (even if they don’t pass a station) if they are bringing a boat over the Continental Divide into western Montana; launching in the Flathead Basin if the watercraft last launched outside the basin; or if they are bringing a boat into Montana from out-of-state and preparing to launch it for the first time this season.
Boaters requiring an inspection can find several stations already in operation for the season in western Montana, and more will open by the end of May. Open stations include one along Interstate 90 near Anaconda (west bound) that operates daily from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; near the town of Ravalli on the southern end of the Flathead Basin, in operation from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through mid-May and then 24 hours a day; and at Clearwater Junction in the Blackfoot Valley.
The Clearwater Junction station will inspect watercraft traveling both east and west on Highway 200 this season and will operate 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. from now until May 23. Starting May 24, the Clearwater Junction station will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
If regulations require you to get a watercraft inspection and you will be traveling past a station outside of operating hours, please plan to go to the Missoula FWP office, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for a watercraft inspection prior to launching. Those seeking out an inspection at the Missoula FWP office are encouraged to call ahead to 406-542-5500.
In Kalispell, the FWP inspection station operates seven days a week; weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends and holidays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some inspection stations operate in partnership with the Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Missoula County Weed District. To find a watercraft inspection station and to learn more, go to CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.