Based on this survey, it appears that boaters have an awareness of non-native issues, are generally
willing to both wash and inspect their boat, and willing to participate in volunteer inspections.
The majority of the boaters felt that their discussion with the ramp monitor increased their awareness
and 73 saves resulted from the cooperation of the boaters. A save occurs when a fragment of non-native
plants are removed from a boat prior to entering or leaving a water body.
However, when analyzing the results from the surveys, there are some unclear trends. 285 people circled NO
when asked if they had any prior knowledge of AIS, yet 1026 circled YES on the following question when asked
if they knew that plant fragments on boats are a main pathway for the spread of AIS. There is a discontinuity here.
It is possible that they are answering YES since they completed the survey after the ramp monitor had explained
the AIS issue and mechanisms spread. By adding Prior to today, to each sentence, then we can more accurately
determine the extent of their knowledge before their encounter with the ramp monitor.
In general, boaters were willing to inspect/wash their boats prior to entering or leaving water body.
Only 3% stated that they would not wash/inspect their vessel. No reasons for their unwillingness were given.
Perhaps boaters do not want to spend their free time washing their boat, or paying for a car wash. Boaters may
be willing to inspect their boats, even if they do not plan to wash their boats. The 2005 survey has been modified
to ask boaters why they do not want to inspect or wash their boats.
When asked if the boaters would participate in a voluntary inspection, there was 100% compliance at the majority
of the ramps, however, at the Wallum Lake/Whitehall Reservoir ramps, 66 (15.6%) of the boaters refused to submit
to a voluntary inspection. The reason for the high number of refusals for that particular boat ramp monitor is unclear.
Since visitors to Wallum/Whitehall had the overall least awareness of AIS (only 67.9 %), potentially their lack
of understanding of invasive species resulted in their unwillingness to participate. Perhaps it is how they were asked,
long lines at the Douglas State Park ticket kiosk, or they may have been in a hurry to start a fishing tournament early
(the majority of the refusals occurred on July 23d). It is also possible that the boaters had alcohol on board,
out-of-date registration stickers etc, and were afraid of getting caught and fined. The 2005 survey has been revised
to encourage the ramp monitor to speculate why. (Did the boater seem rushed? Have a carload of children? was there
Was a long line at the gate? etc.)
During the 2004 summer season, 11.1% of the boats inspected contained plant fragments, and of these, 55.7% contained non-native species. The ramp monitors removed the invasive plant matter before the boats were launched.
In a few instances, mainly at Cochituate, the boats were leaving an infested water body and the plants were removed
before they left the park. By removing the non-native plants from 73 boats, some of those water bodies were spared
a potential invasion, and in some cases the plants were prevented from being spread to another water body.