Clean, Drain, Dry

3 images showing a boat being washed, an invasive species on a hand and the sign announcing the boat washing station

Boat washes can help stop aquatic hitchhikers and reduce the spread of invasive species in our waters. Every year ESLA partners with Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council to promote the State’s 2019 law, “Clean, Drain and Dry”, which you can read below.  ESLA schedules 3-4 boat wash events annually at various boat launches on our waters, teaming up with Tip of the Mitt and their mobile boat washing station.  We strongly encourage anglers of the importance of draining and wiping down their bait and fish wells to stop the transfer of invasives between water bodies. The picture above shows invasive Curly Pond Leaf that was washed off of a boat or trailer before entering Elk Lake. We need volunteers to pass out literature and talk to trailer boaters at these events. If you want to help, send an email to

In 2023, ESLA received a grant from the MSU Extension Service “Clean Boats, Clean Waters” grant program to install three large signs promoting boat/trailer cleaning to prevent the spread of invasives.   These signs were installed at the Baggs Road DNR boat launch, the DNR Aarwood Torch River boat launch and the East Elk Lake Drive DNR boat launch. In addition, we strongly supported the addition of a permanent boat washing station at Whitewater Township Park, as officials worked to upgrade and expand their boat launch and parking areas. The new boat wash station station is scheduled to be operational in 2024.

Clean, Drain, Dry – It’s the Law

Required actions:

  • Remove all aquatic organisms, including plants, from watercraft and trailers before launching or transporting.
  • Remove all drain plugs and drain all water from bilges, ballast tanks and live wells before transporting a watercraft.
  • Dispose of unused fishing bait in the trash, not in the water.

Graphic showing where you should inspect for launching or leaving for invasive species.

Helpful Links About Michigan Invasive Species Laws

The logo for Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network

Michigan Legislation Targets Aquatic Invasive Species – Read More

To learn more information on invasive species contact:

Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network (ISN)
A Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA)