Boating at Lake Powell

See what's changed and how to protect your boat

Quagga mussels are spreading in Lake Powell. And with the detrimental impact they have on fisheries, beaches, boats and water lines, we want to prevent them from infesting any other waterbodies.

I'm going boating in Utah! Prepare yourself for a smooth experience by following these steps before and after launch.

If you plan to boat at Lake Powell, be prepared for long inspection and decontamination lines, particularly on weekends when wait times may exceed an hour or more. Our technicians are routinely finding mussels attached to boats, their anchors and in sea strainers. We need to be thorough in detecting and removing quagga mussels. Thank you for your patience.

What to know before you go

  • What are Utah’s laws regarding quagga mussels and boating at Lake Powell?

    Be aware:

    • It is illegal to possess or move a quagga mussel anywhere in the state.
    • It is illegal to transport water out of Lake Powell.

    Before you launch:

    • All boaters — including motorized and non-motorized vessels — must complete the annual mussel-aware boater education course and have proof of course completion (printed or downloaded to your DWR Hunting and Fishing app).
    • Boaters with motorized vessels must enroll in the Utah AIS Program, pay the annual fee ($20 for Utah residents, $25 for nonresidents) and have a current-year AIS decal affixed to the bow of the watercraft.

    Exiting Lake Powell:

    • You must remove all drain plugs when exiting any Utah waterbody and keep them removed during transit.
    • Anyone with boats, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards or any other floating conveyance is required to stop at inspection stations when they are open and operating. This includes the inspection areas near the ramps at Lake Powell, and also any inspection stations located along Utah’s highways.
    • Upon receiving an inspection at Lake Powell, each watercraft receives a plastic seal and the boat owner is given a receipt of inspection/decontamination. It is illegal to remove a seal from a boat prior to the boat meeting the required dry time (unless necessary for maintenance). We ask that boaters leave the seals on their boats and present their inspection/decontamination receipt to DWR staff at your next destination.
  • What to expect when you encounter AIS technicians at Lake Powell

    • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources technicians work on the ramps most daylight hours to assist boaters in complying with state law, and to ensure that invasive mussels are not transported out of the reservoir.
    • Technicians help boaters drain water from their vessels and inspect for attached mussels.
    • After a successful inspection, technicians apply orange wire seals to the boat and trailer and they give the boat owner a receipt that indicates that the boat has been fully inspected.

    Keep in mind: Boaters who present an inspection receipt at the next waterbody they visit will expedite their entrance.

  • Entering Lake Powell marinas and ramps

    Be sure your boat is clean, drained and dry.

    The DWR is only conducting exit (not entrance) inspections at Lake Powell. Although Lake Powell is already infested with quagga mussels, it is still important to keep the water free from other aquatic invasive species.

    The National Park Service provides information for each boater regarding Lake Powell laws and regulations upon entering the park, and before launching.

  • Requirements when leaving Lake Powell

    • Make sure your watercraft is clean of mud, plants and animals.
    • While on the launch ramp, remove all drain plugs and sea strainers, if applicable, and leave them out. Pump all water out of ballast tanks and drain water from the engine before proceeding up the ramp.
    • Stop for watercraft inspection at the inspection station if it is open. A technician will assist you and apply a seal to your boat/trailer indicating that the boat has received an official inspection. They will also give you an inspection receipt.
    • On-site professional hot water decontamination may be available upon request, depending on staffing and the amount of boat traffic the station is experiencing.
    • If the inspection station is not open, it is your legal responsibility to clean and drain your boat before leaving Lake Powell, and to transport your boat with all drain plugs removed, including the sea strainer. Draining of ballast tanks can best be accomplished by first activating the ballast pumps on an incline, and then activating them again later on flat ground. Likewise, draining of engines should be performed on both an incline and flat ground.
    • Remove all drain plugs when leaving any waterbody and when transporting watercraft.
  • Requirements before launching in another waterbody

    You have two options:

    • Option 1: Self-certification process for motorized and non-motorized watercraft (if you are not having a professional decontamination performed):
      • Clean: All plants, fish, mussels and mud from the vessel (discard unused bait in the trash). Remove and rinse out your sea strainer.
      • Drain: All water from ballasts, bilge, livewells and motors.
      • Dry:
        • Spring: 18 days (March, April and May)
        • Summer: 7 days June, July and August)
        • Fall: 18 days (September, October and November)
        • Winter: 30 days (December, January and February)
        • You can also freeze your properly winterized equipment for 72 consecutive hours (three days)
        • All complex boats (vessels containing inboard motors, inboard/outboard motors, ballast tanks, bilges, live wells, generators, AC units and any other raw water systems) are subject to a 30-day dry time regardless of season.
    • Option 2: Professional decontamination for motorized vessels:
      • On site: Have a Utah Division of Wildlife Resources certified decontamination professional perform an on-site decontamination. The certified equipment and technique uses flowing hot water at temperatures high enough to eliminate quagga mussels at all life stages. Some locations have dip tanks that allow boaters to partially submerge their watercraft and trailer in high-temperature water to cycle through the boat’s onboard and outboard systems.
      • Find a decontamination station near you: Complete an authorized decontamination (these services are not free of charge).

    Keep in mind: Due to the large number of boats at Lake Powell, it is impossible for the DWR to offer decontaminations to every exiting watercraft. To expedite this process as much as possible, our efforts focus on boats that will likely be launched in Utah before meeting the required dry time for the season. If you plan to launch your boat before meeting the dry time, please let our technicians on the ramp know and we will do our best to provide a decontamination on-site.

  • On-site professional decontamination by DWR technicians is free

    The DWR provides free decontaminations at DWR-run stations at Lake Powell. The DWR will not reimburse or otherwise cover the cost of professional decontamination by private businesses.

    Due to the time and personnel required to thoroughly decontaminate slipped/moored boats that typically experience mussel encrustation at Lake Powell, owners of these boats will be directed to and have to pay a private business or other qualified entity for a decontamination.

  • What if I don’t want to wait to have my boat decontaminated at Lake Powell?

    If you plan to launch again before meeting the required dry time, the best option is to have your boat decontaminated at Lake Powell. If this is not possible, contact an authorized decontamination station and make an appointment for your boat immediately.

Tips for Lake Powell local boaters

  • I keep my boat primarily docked at Bullfrog Marina or stored in Ticaboo, Utah. What can I do to expedite the entrance/exit process?

    The Lake Powell–Bullfrog Local Boater Program is a sticker-based pass program that helps the watercraft inspection staff working at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area to easily identify locally-stored boats and expedite the inspection process. This program allows area residents — and boaters with watercraft stored nearby in Ticaboo, Utah — to bypass a mandatory watercraft inspection every time they leave the park. Learn more about the program and register here.

    If your boat is docked in Arizona, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s website and register for Arizona’s local boater program.

  • I own a boat that is slipped/moored at Lake Powell, but in an Arizona marina. Do I need to complete the online course and pay the Utah resident AIS vessel enrollment fee for my boat?

    If your boat is used anywhere within the state of Utah, you must complete the Utah mussel-aware boater educational course and pay Utah’s AIS vessel enrollment fee, regardless of where the boat is kept. That means that if your boat is stored at Wahweap or Antelope Point marinas in Arizona, these requirements will pertain to you as soon as your boat crosses into Utah on the water.

    Note: You may be eligible for the Lake Powell Local Boater Program, which may expedite your travel in and around Lake Powell.