AIS prevention permits: commercial transporters of vessels

Washington state law requires any commercial transporters of vessels to obtain an aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention permit before bringing vessels into or through Washington state. The law applies to state, national, or foreign commercial transport companies.

A permit is required of commercial transporters for vessels that have been operated in (or placed in) any waterbody, such as a lake, river or reservoir.

Examples of vessels for which an AIS prevention permit is required include: 

  • Small boats, such as canoes, kayaks, and river rafts that can be used for transportation, but recreational flotation devices such as inner tubes are exempt. 
  • Recreational boats registered federally, internationally, or in any state. 
  • Seaplanes registered federally, internationally, or in any state. 
  • Commercial vessels with marine documentation issued by any country.

AIS prevention permits are valid for one year and can be purchased online (under the "Other" Product Categories 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.

The permit is transferable between vehicles and vehicle operators of the same business. However, if a company has multiple vehicles transporting vessels at the same time, each vehicle needs a permit. 

A valid AIS prevention permit must be present and readily available (electronic or hard copy) for inspection by a fish and wildlife officer or ex officio fish and wildlife officer at any location including mandatory inspection locations, at AIS check stations or a State Patrol port of entry.

Exempt Commercial Transporters of Vessels

An AIS prevention permit is not required for the transport of the following:

  • New vessels: The manufacturer or dealer must provide documentation that the vessel is new and has never been placed or operated in any waterbody (including for tests or trial runs) other than an artificial pool filled with municipal or well water.
  • Federal military vessels or seaplanes, or those belonging to a foreign government.
  • Any vessel clearly identified as being owned by any federal, tribal, state, or local government agency or other public corporations, and used primarily for governmental purposes.
  • Small rowing or sailing boats owned by academic institutions or sports clubs for sporting events that are are transported by institution or club vehicles (i.e., not being transported by an independent commercial business).