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​​​​​ CBCW Resources


Inspection Video Scenarios

Through the Clean Boats, Clean Waters (CBCW) Watercraft Inspection program, citizens are trained in how to organize a boate​r education campaign in their​​​ local community. Folks interested in becoming watercraft inspectors and sharing aquatic invasive species prevention information with boaters and anglers at the boat landing attend a workshop that provides training and resources. These videos depict seven different scenarios that inspectors may encounter while at the boat landing. They serve as supplements to what is learned at the workshop, providing examples for inspectors to watch during the training or later during the refresher.


This video depicts a complete watercraft inspection from start to finish as a boater prepares to launch their boat. The watercraft inspector introduces himself to the boater, asks if the boater has time to answer a few questions, and shares his concern for spreading invasive species from lake to lake. In this example, the boater is a regular at this lake, and this is the first time she’s been out to boat this season. She also is aware of the need to remove plants from her boat and trailer, but doesn’t completely understand the prevention step and law to drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving the landing. The inspector offers her some useful handouts, a brochure and sticker, for her to refer to if she has questions later. Most importantly, he remembers to thank her for her time! 

 The main points to remember from this scenario are: 

  • Friendly greeting

  • Basic questions - Previous contact with inspector? Willing to answer questions? Boat been elsewhere last 5 days?

  • Discuss the prevention steps

  • Thank the boater!

This scenario begins after the inspector has introduced herself to the boater and asked if he has time to answer a few questions. As she inspects the boat, the inspector can see that there are plants attached. The boater understands he needs to remove the plants and attempts to do so, but complains about the difficulty of reaching and removing the plants. To assist him, the inspector offers him a tool to make reaching the plants under the boat easier. The boat’s motor has already been lowered for draining, and the inspector makes sure to remind the boater of the law that requires all water to be drained from the boat and live-well, too. Importantly, the inspector ends their conversation by thanking the boater for his time.


This scenario begins after the inspector has introduced himself to the angler, asked if she has time to answer a few questions, and if she’s talked to an inspector before. The angler tells the inspector that she encounters watercraft inspectors frequently at the northern Wisconsin boat landings she visits while fishing. This information lets the inspector know that she’s a transient angler, and he makes sure to emphasize the need to drain all water and follow the state laws. The inspector shares the importance of draining all water from the boat, livewell, and equipment.

A​nother important aspect of this scenario is how the watercraft inspector tailors his conversation with the angler. By mentioning his concern that invasive species living in his local Madison lake could spread to northern lakes if the prevention steps aren’t followed, he localizes his message and is able to clearly share his motivation. The angler states she is aware of and always takes care to drain the water, as she drains her cooler during their conversation. This is an important step since the angler travels around the state fishing and also mentions that she caught fish while on the lake that day. Lastly, the inspector is sure to thank her for taking the time to speak with him!

This scenario begins after the inspector has introduced himself to the angler, asked if he has time to answer a few questions, and if he’s talked to an inspector before. The inspector asks if can see the angler’s catch, which allows him to compliment the angler on his success and inquire about whether he used live or artificial bait. The angler thinks using live bait takes too much effort, and this response tells the inspector that he does not need to cover Wisconsin’s live bait rules during his conversation.

​The inspector shares the importance of draining all water from the boat, livewell, and any equipment and learns from the angler that he doesn’t drain water from his cooler since he lives just around the corner. This tells the inspector that he needs to explain to the angler why it’s important to drain all water, even from coolers holding any catch. Since the angler mentions that the reason he doesn’t want to drain the water from the cooler is to keep his fish fresh, the inspector offers an alternative by sharing that fish can be put on ice to keep them fresh and that this is compliant with the state regulations. Their conversation ends with the inspector offering the angler handouts for him to refer to later. And, of course, he thanks the angler for his time!

This scenario begins after the inspector has introduced himself to the angler, asked if he has time to answer a few questions, and if he’s talked to an inspector before. Since the inspector can see that the angler has been fishing that day, he asks him if he was using live bait. By asking this question, the inspector can determine whether or not he should include the live bait laws during the conversation.

The angler is using live bait and wants to continue fishing the next day, so the inspector explains when and how live bait can be re-used. He clearly explains why you do not want to transfer water from one lake to another and why you can only re-use live bait on the same lake if lake water has been added to the bait container. Because the laws regarding live bait use are lengthy and can be confusing, he offers the angler a brochure that details the live bait laws and why they’re important. He ends his conversation by thanking the angler for taking the time to talk with him!

The main elements to take away from this scenario are the live bait law basics. Wisconsin laws state:

  • Leftover minnows can be used again on the same water or another water IF no lake or river water or fish have been added to the container. 

  • Don’t dump bait in water. Dispose of used bait in trash, if possible.


This scenario begins after the inspector has introduced herself to the boater as he is leaving the landing. The inspector asks the boater if he has encountered an inspector before, which will tell her how much aquatic invasive species prevention information he might already have heard. The boater says he has talked to many inspectors and is clearly annoyed, so the inspector makes her message short and concise. She covers the prevention steps of inspecting the boat and trailer for vegetation and debris and removing anything found; draining all water from the boat, livewell, and equipment; and not to move live fish. Before walking away, she thanks the boater for taking the time to listen!



This scenario begins after the inspector has introduced herself to the angler who is preparing to launch, asked if she has time to answer a few questions, and if she’s talked to an inspector before. The inspector asks the boater if she’s used her boat elsewhere in the past week. She asks this question to determine how much risk the boater may pose in introducing a new invasive species to the lake. The boater states that she has boated in Lake Winnebago in the past week. This lets the inspector know that she needs to emphasize the importance of removing plants and draining water before the boater enters the lake. 

The inspector shows the boater where plants are most likely to be attached and goes over the importance of draining water since the boater mentions that she doesn’t normally take that step before leaving the landing. She also explains that her role as an inspector is to provide information, not to ticket the boater. As she ends their conversation, the inspector offers the boater an informational brochure and sticker, and thanks her for her time!

This video walks through the step-by-step process of taking the aquatic invasive species prevention steps. Before you leave the boat landing, it is important to remember to take these steps:

INSPECT boats, trailers, and equipment  

REMOVE all attached aquatic plants and animals 

DRAIN all water from boats, vehicles, and equipment  

NEVER MOVE plants or live fish away from a waterbody

Statewide CBCW Training Video

This is a recording of the June 1, 2020 statewide Clean Boats, Clean Waters Watercraft Inspection Online Training. If you have never attended a CBCW training before, please contact your local AIS Coordinator (find out who that is here) or Erin McFarlane ( for more information. 

Live CBCW trainings are the best way to learn about how to conduct watercraft inspections and get involved in AIS prevention! To participate in a live training, either online or in-person, please check the CBCW Training Calendar for training opportunities near you. 

Inspection Materials

CBCW Manual, Forms, and Factsheets

Feel free to download and print your own copies of the Watercraft Inspector Handbook and other watercraft inspection forms.

Watercraft Inspector Handbook​ (2022 edition)

Introduction, Acknowledgements, and Table of Contents
Section 1: What is the program all about?
Section 2: What do watercraft inspections involve?
Section 3: How do inspectors share their inspection data?
Section 4: How can inspectors take care of their boat landings? 

Watercraft Inspection Report Form​ fillable PDF (revised 3/23)


AIS Prevention Steps Prompt Handout 


AIS Violation Report Form


Watercraft Check Points


AIS Online Resources


How to Use the Watercraft Inspection Report Form​ (handout from CBCW Manual)


How to Enter Watercraft Inspection Data into SWIMS (handout from CBCW Manual)

Clean Boats, Clean Waters: Reporting Your Data (webpages with specific instructions for accessing the SWIMS database, entering and viewing data, & link to SWIMS) 

AIS Signage Guide

AIS Signage Report Form (revised 3/19)

AIS Publications and Books

Aquatic Invasive Species Publications List​​​​

There are a wide variety of educational publications on aquatic invasive species available for free! Many of these publications are available in PDF and can be printed directly from your computer. Others can be ordered and sent to you directly. To order, contact or call 608-266-0061 with the publication number, name, how many you'd like, and where they should be sent. Soon, you'll receive some fabulous materials in the mail that you can share with others at the boat landing or during your annual lake group meeting.

CBCW Supplies

The Clean Boats, Clean Waters program has designed a special logo that not only represents the program, but also sends a message to the public, “without clean boats, we will not have clean waters”. T-shirts, hats, and aprons are available with this logo. Inspectors are encouraged to wear the bright blue CBCW t-shirts while performing watercraft inspections at the landings. These shirts are very vibrant and easily visible when boaters approach the landing. By wearing this t-shirt, your inspection program appears credible and provides a statewide recognition for the efforts inspectors are making at the landings. For inspectors that have their own t-shirts, but still want to connect with the CBCW program, CBCW hats offer another opportunity for volunteers to wear the message. The hat displays the logo and the message as well as filter out the hot summer sun. The CBCW aprons are another great resource for watercraft inspectors. These aprons have three pockets that are designed to hold educational brochures and pamphlets, which allow the inspector to perform watercraft inspections.

CBCW T-shirts, $10 each

(sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL)


CBCW Hats, $5 each


CBCW Hooded Sweatshirts, $20 each

(sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL)

CBCW Aprons, $5 each


CBCW Kits, $25 each
The kit includes the CBCW manual, two CBCW t-shirts, an apron, and a variety of AIS publications to share at the boat landing during inspections and with your organization.


All of these supplies can be ordered online. Click the link next to the item(s) you would like to order, and you will be re-directed to the CBCW online ordering system. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call (715) 346-2116 or send an email to 

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Data Entry

VIDEO: How to Enter CBCW Data into SWIMS​
This video explains how to enter watercraft inspection data from Clean Boats, Clean Waters outreach efforts into the SWIMS database. You will need to have a User ID and password in order to access the database. If you don't have one yet, please follow these instructions on how to register for one HERE.

Watercraft inspectors collect valuable data during their conversations with boaters at landings and enter this data into an online database. This data is compiled and summarized into graphs that allow us to see trends and changes over time. To see the watercraft inspection trends for your county, lake, or landing, visit the link below and use the dropdown menu to personalize the data summary.

View CBCW Data Graphs

To learn more about CBCW data entry, visit our Submit Data page.

AIS Songs

To explore how music can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, Environmental Communication Specialist for UW-Extension and Assistant Professor in the Department of Life Sciences Communication, Bret Shaw, worked with a group of singer/songwriters to produce three songs to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species in Wisconsin and beyond. Listen to these songs and share with others to promote simple behaviors that can protect the quality of our lakes and rivers for future generations. Click the image to play or download the songs! 




For more information contact:

Erin McFarlane, Statewide CBCW Educator
(715) 346-4978 or​ 

Or go to:

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources site
at​​ (exit Extension Lakes) 


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