KALISPELL — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is offering watercraft inspections at its office in Kalispell with the arrival of warmer weather and the start of Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake.
Motorized and nonmotorized boaters can visit the FWP office at 490 North Meridian for an inspection weekdays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The inspection station will expand its operating hours starting April 5 by including services between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekends.
Additional inspection stations will begin open across the state in the coming weeks and months, including a station in Ravalli on March 12.
Spring Mack Days begins on March 19 and all boats participating in the event are required to be inspected before launching at any site on Flathead Lake.
Plan ahead and get your watercraft inspected prior to launching if:
- You are coming into Montana from out-of-state.
- Out-of-state boats must be inspected prior to launch on Montana waters. If you do not encounter a Montana watercraft inspection station while traveling, inspections conducted in Idaho and Wyoming fulfill Montana’s inspection-before-launch requirements. Boater must carry a proof of inspection receipt and, when applicable, an intact seal. Must stop at ALL open inspection stations you encounter in Montana where your watercraft may be re-inspected.
- You are traveling west over the Continental Divide into western Montana (the Columbia River Basin).
- You are coming off Tiber Reservoir.
- Certified boaters must still follow the terms of their contract; they are required to get an inspection if they are travelling to another waterbody.
- Certified boater ramps will remain open ONLY to certified boaters.
- You are launching anywhere within the Flathead Basin and your watercraft last launched on waters outside of the Flathead Basin. Click here to view a map of the Flathead Basin.
Nonresidents boaters launching watercraft in Montana must purchase a Vessel AIS Prevention Pass.
- The fee for motorboats is $30 and applies to all motorized watercraft that is registered in another state or country.
- The fee for nonmotorized watercraft is $10 and applies to all non-motorized watercraft that nonresidents bring into Montana.
- The annual Vessel AIS Prevention Pass expires Dec. 31 of each year and is not transferrable between vessels.
Nonresidents can purchase the Vessel AIS Prevention Pass online or at any FWP office. Proof of purchase is an electronic or paper receipt. Nonresidents passing through Montana and not launching a watercraft are not required to purchase the pass.
Anyone transporting watercraft must stop at all open watercraft inspection stations they encounter.
FWP reports that a total of 35 mussel-fouled vessels were intercepted in 2020.