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Purchase an AIS Prevention Permit

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) requires operators of certain aircraft and watercraft, as well as commercial transporters of specified vessel types, to purchase permits to help the department's efforts in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).

Those required to buy the new AIS prevention permit include:

The permit is valid for one year from its activation date and is available for purchase online (under the "other" permits tab) or from any of WDFW's authorized license sales providers.

Funds generated from the $24 fee ($20 permit plus transaction and dealer fees) support the department's efforts to keep Washington's waters free of aquatic invasive species and manage infestations when prevention fails. Permit sales are expected to generate approximately $412,000 annually in revenue by 2021.


During the 2017 session, the Washington state Legislature passed Senate Bill 5303 authorizing the prevention permits, which were recommended by the AIS Funding Advisory Committee. The group recommended pursuing funding for the department's program from sectors that present a risk of AIS introduction or transmission, and those sectors that benefit most from healthy, AIS-free aquatic environments.

More information about specific requirements can be found in Washington's laws pertaining to aquatic invasive species.

General Exemptions

Washington residents, who register their watercraft, automatically pay an annual fee to support the department's AIS program when registering their boats. A valid registration sticker serves as proof of payment and an AIS prevention permit is not required.

Other watercraft that do not need an AIS prevention permit to operate in Washington's waters include:

  • Small watercraft (from Washington or out-of-state) that do not require state or country/province registration such as canoes and kayaks.
  • Idaho or Oregon-registered watercraft when used in shared state waters (generally private recreational unless otherwise registered).
  • Private or commercial watercraft or seaplanes being transported overland by a commercial transporter (a permit is required by the commercial transporter only);
  • Watercraft and seaplanes owned and used for official purposes by U.S. or foreign government entities (federal, state, local, military, or tribal).
  • Watercraft used solely as "tenders" to larger boats.
  • U.S. or foreign commercial vessels (having valid marine documentation as a vessel of the U.S. or a foreign country).