June 28, 2019 8:15 am

Boaters can do simple things to protect Manitoba waterways from invasive species

The province has six inspection spots around Manitoba that have decontamination units including the one in Headingley.

Amber McGuckin/Global News
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With many Manitobans heading out to the lake on the long weekend, the province will be out inspecting boats and helping decontaminate watercrafts.

There are a total of six provincial inspection stations that have decontamination units. Their hours are online.

Of those, two are near Winnipeg — one in Headingley and the other in Selkirk.

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Kayla Peterniak, the province’s Aquatic Invasive Species Ecologist, says you can decontaminate your boat on your own.

“There’s definitely a misconception that you need fancy equipment to do a decontamination,” she said.

“It just involves basically taking a garden hose, hooking it up to hot water, 60 degrees Celsius to be exact, and slowly and methodically working around the whole exterior of the watercraft as well as rinsing any interior compartment like live wells that might have had water from the water body and flushing the engine as well.”

David Schellenberg, Executive Director of the Manitoba Lodges and Outfitters Association, says even though people can do it themselves, sometimes people don’t and he wants to see more decontamination units out to make it easier for people to comply.

“It’s easy for them to lie if they just go to another body of water and just drop their boat in. Most boat launches, or almost all boat launches are not monitored,” he said.

WATCH: Breaking down the spread of zebra mussels in Manitoba’s waters

Peterniak says funding dictates what they’re able to do, but some boaters wish it was a higher priority to fund.

Murray Donald lives near the Saskatchewan border. The closest official inspection site is in Headingley.

“I think we should have more stations. If we want to control it, you have to have inspections,” he said.

“We’re usually in the western part of the province so it would be nice to have one handy. Right now we don’t have zebra muscles out there and it would be nice if it would stay that way.”

READ MORE: Manitoba introduces new fine system for boaters in effort to stop invasive species

If you don’t comply with the rules, you could be facing a big fine.

This is the first summer since the province announced new rules where boaters could face a fine up to $2,542 for failing to decontaminate a watercraft.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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