Boat-draining regulation begins July 1


In a move that could have far-reaching impacts beyond just zebra mussel control, beginning July 1, boaters must drain all water from their boat and on-board receptacles before leaving or approaching a body of fresh water anywhere in Texas.

The new Texas Parks and Wildlife Department regulation is designed to help combat the further spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species. It applies to all types and sizes of boats whether powered or not: personal watercraft, sailboats, kayaks/canoes, or any other vessel used on public waters.

The regulation requires the draining of livewells, bilges, motors, and any other receptacles or water-intake systems coming into contact with public waters.

Live fish, including personally caught live bait, cannot be transported from the water body where the fish were caught in or aboard a vessel in water from the water body where the fish were caught. Personally caught live bait can be used in the water body where it was caught.

Anglers are allowed to transport and use commercially purchased live bait if they have a receipt that identifies the source of the bait. Any live bait purchased from a location on or adjacent to a public water body that is transported in water from that water body can only be used as bait on that same water body.

Anglers participating in a fishing tournament confined to one water body may transport live fish in water from that single water body to an identified off-site weigh-in location, but all water must be drained and properly disposed of before leaving that location. Anglers are required to possess documentation provided by tournament organizers that identify them as participants in the tournament.

Movement from one access point to another on the same lake during the same day does not require draining, and there is an exception for governmental activities and emergencies. Marine sanitary systems are not covered by these regulations.

Read an in-depth article on what this means for Texas anglers in the July 11 issue of Lone Star Outdoor News.

One Response

  1. Shannon

    Those points on the boat illustration are all ones I have wondered about. Yet none of those are included in the cleaning procedures? I wonder how we would clean boats anyway? There are no boat washes – optional or mandated – at boat ramps. Seems like the TPWD should put out a bid for drive through washes and mandate that boats on trailers be funneled through the wash to exit the ramp parking lots. Pay to use the ramp also pays for the wash expense. Looks like Austin is getting serious now that zebra mussels are almost on their doorstep! Too little, way too late. What happens when zebra mussels infest the Guadalupe River?