The Lake George Park Commission is launching efforts to tell the public about the mandatory boat-inspection rules that kick in at the lake starting next month.
The commission has unveiled a website, LakeGeorgeBoatInspections.com, that includes an explanation of the inspection program, directions to the six inspection stations and answers to frequently asked questions.
The commission has also written directly to the owners of the 16,000 boats registered to use the lake, and is planning print and radio ads to get the message out about cleaning boats to stop the introduction of invasive species.
“In April, May and June, it’s going to be all over the place,” commission Executive Director David Wick said Thursday.
Beginning May 15, all trailered boats coming to Lake George will need to be inspected prior to launch — and possibly pressure-washed — to ensure they aren’t bringing nonnative plants or animals into the popular lake.
“The boat inspection program has received tremendous support from the local communities, marinas around the lake, chambers of commerce and a wide variety of other groups,” Wick said. “Our job now is to make sure the public is able to enjoy their time on the lake while understanding how to comply with the rules that protect its pristine waters.”
He said efforts are under way to reach boaters in the New Jersey, Connecticut and downstate markets, who may not be familiar with what’s been a very public local discussion over the past year about the inspection plans.
Officials in communities around the lake support the program, which they said will safeguard the lake — the heart of Warren County’s multimillion-dollar recreational economy.
“Lake George is the economic engine of the entire region, and we need to do everything we can to protect it,” said Lake George Mayor Robert Blais, chairman of the SAVE Lake George Partnership.
Inspection points will be at Dunham’s Bay Boat Launch in Queensbury, the Hulett’s Landing Marina, Roger’s Rock Campground and Boat Launch in Hague, Norowal Marina in Bolton Landing, in the village of Lake George, Mossy Point Public Boat Launch in Ticonderoga and Lake George Inspection Station on Transfer Road in the village.
Wick said the commission will be hiring 45 to 50 seasonal employees to oversee the inspection program. A park ranger dedicated to the inspection work will start next week, and interviews for other inspector and technician jobs are under way, he said.
Inspections and washes won’t cost boaters anything, thanks to $350,000 from the state Environmental Protection Fund and another $350,000 raised by the SAVE Lake George Partnership, a coalition of lakeside communities and advocacy groups.
Lake George is already dealing with invasives including Eurasian milfoil and Asian clams; about $7 million has been spent over the past 20 years fighting them.
Officials are trying to prevent the introduction of new invasives, which can be tiny and survive in small amounts of water.
An inspection is expected to take five to 10 minutes, and a wash, if necessary, would take 10 to 20 minutes. Once a boat passes inspection, a zip-tie “seal” will be attached allowing it to be launched anywhere on the lake.
Boats that wintered in outdoor storage around the lake can get seals now, since winter temperatures will have killed any invasives.