Aquatic invasive species prevention permits

Operators of watercraft not registered in Washington State, seaplanes, and commercial transporters of specified vessel types must purchase aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention permits to help prevent the spread of AIS in Washington.

AIS prevention permits are valid for one year and can be purchased online (under the "Shop for Products that Don’t Require a Customer Account” tab) or from any of the department's authorized license dealers. When purchasing online, you may select a preferred activation date. The permit will be valid for one year from that date.

Funds from the $24 fee ($20 permit plus transaction and dealer fees) support the department's efforts to keep Washington's waters free of AIS and manage infestations when prevention fails. AIS prevention permit sales are expected to generate about $412,000 in annual revenue by 2023.

Boaters may also be required to purchase local AIS prevention permits in some jurisdictions. Check your local water access area for additional permit requirements. 

Who is required to buy the AIS prevention permit?


In 2017, the Washington 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.


Washington residents pay a $2 annual fee to support the department's AIS program when registering boats. A valid registration sticker serves as proof of payment and an AIS prevention permit is not required.

Other watercraft exempted from the AIS prevention permit include:

  • Small watercraft (from Washington or out-of-state) that do not require state or country registration such as canoes and kayaks.
  • U.S. government (federal, state or local), military or tribal vessels or seaplanes.
  • Watercraft registered as "tenders" to larger boats.
  • U.S. or internationally documented commercial vessels or seaplanes.