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New York boaters using state lands to launch their watercrafts are required to clean and drain their boats before they put them in the water, according to a new regulation that became effective today, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reported.

The rules are designed as “part of an aggressive effort to prevent invasive species from entering and damaging New York water bodies,” the DEC reported. The regulations require boaters to “remove all visible plant and animal materials from boats, trailers and associated equipment, and to drain boats prior to launching from DEC lands.”

All DEC boat launches, fishing access sites and other DEC lands where watercraft such as boats, kayak or canoes, can be launched into the water are included under the new law.

“New York State continues to work with its state, local, federal and environmental partners to protect water bodies from destructive invasive species,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “Boats, trailers and associated equipment are common pathways for spreading aquatic invasive species. These new regulations will help reinforce the message that boaters need to clean their equipment of any clinging plant and animal materials and drain their boats prior to launching at lands administered by DEC.”

Drying boats is also recommended, but not required under the new regulations.

Officials recommend, however, that boaters who are unable to dry their boats between uses should “flush the bilge and other water holding compartments with water, preferably at a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.”

That’s because microscopic larval forms of aquatic invasive species, such as zebra mussels and the spiny waterflea, can survive in as little as a single drop of water, DEC officials said.