There's one more item on the to-do list for Minnesota boaters as they prepare to head to the lakes and rivers - a new law requires all watercraft to have a sticker listing the rules for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The stickers are now available at all Department of Motor Vehicle offices and all Department of Natural Resources regional offices. Sporting goods stores, however, have been having trouble getting them.
Conservation officer Mike Scott, who specializes in aquatic invasive species, told the Duluth News Tribune for a story published Sunday that the stickers are required on all watercraft - including boats, canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and personal watercraft.
Russ Francisco of Marine General Supply in Duluth said most boaters are not aware the stickers are required, and he's still trying to get them. "Can you imagine standing in line for an hour (at a DMV office) to get a free sticker?" he said.
For boaters who don't like the idea of plastering another sticker on their boat or don't have room, Scott said, there's another option. It just has to be attached somewhere inside where it's visible so that if an officer asks, the boater can point to it. The stickers can be laminated to a piece of clear plastic that can be attached somewhere.
"Drill a hole in it and put it on your key ring or something," he suggested. "On a canoe, tie it to a thwart."
Officers also will conduct roadside inspections of watercraft for invasive species. Pressure washers will be used to clean infested boats before they can proceed.
Scott said anglers are expected to know the rules and officers are more likely to issue tickets than warnings.
"The department is taking a stand," he said. "We've educated the public. For those that don't know the rules, we're stepping it up. I don't want to write that ticket, but we need to do this now so that we can keep the same experience today for the future."
Information from: Duluth News Tribune