New Solution Shows Promise for Removing Residual Water at the Boat Ramp

New Solution Shows Promise for Removing Residual Water at the Boat Ramp

By Jeff Forester

The Minnesota DNR program to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species is largely built on the assumption of personal responsibility to Clean, Drain and Dry boats and water related equipment every single time it is moved between waters. This message, supported by a significant educational campaign has had an impact. It is illegal to move water, plants, animals or mud between lakes on Minnesota’s roadways.

AIS violation rates have fallen from over 20% a decade ago to the single digits. But there has been one significant problem; it is often very difficult to remove all the water from a boat just by pulling the plugs. In addition, once a boat trailer is loaded, it can be very difficult for owners to remove all of the plants and mud from far underneath the boat, particularly for those with mobility issues.

Into this gap stepped a social business, CD3 (Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose) to provide boaters with the tools they need at the boat ramp to practice personal responsibility. CD3 developed a kiosk that is equipped with tools including a boat plug wrench, air gun, wet/dry vacuum, undercarriage lights, scraper, stiff brush on a pole, and grabbing tool. These boat cleaning stations can be set up at the water access sites, and either powered by the electrical utility or solar panels. A cell phone connection provides data to managers in real time letting them know when the station is activated, which tools are used, and if the station needs maintenance. In 2017 and 2018 a number of these stations were piloted, and data collected.

Attached is a research report conducted by MAISRC on residual water removal by CD3 Systems. It validates that there is a very high rate of removal of residual water with CD3 equipment – please share with your groups:

Key Conclusions for your Consideration:

“Despite compliance with standard drain plug regulations, residual water remained in all boat types and in all compartments examined; however, the risk of residual water was reduced by using the CD3 Station vacuum. More specifically, the bilge areas of the three boat types averaged 193-1497mL of residual water, but 19-100% of that water could be removed with the vacuum. The livewell areas for the two boat types averaged 810-1578mL of residual water, but 96.4-100% of the water could be removed with the vacuum. While not 100% effective for all boat types, this demonstrates potential value to reduce the risk of AIS spread between lakes by promoting a more extensive and comprehensive approach to water removal. “

CD3 stations will become more common as resource managers and volunteer organizations search for ways to provide tools for both inbound and exiting watercraft.

Said CD3 founder Mark Apfelbacher, “CD3 Systems are here to help empower the public to prevent the spread of AIS and provide your group with strategic equipment use data.”

Results of the first two year pilots show that in the last two years there was a 30% to 50% increase in compliance actions taken by boaters at the landings where CD3 stations were present. The highest use rates occurred at landings with an AIS inspector or volunteer urging boaters to take action as they left the lake. Signage and arrows also helped raise use rates. None of the cleaning stations were vandalized. Operating costs averaged about $1,200 a year.

With the support of the Clean Water Land and Legacy funding, Minnesota is becoming a national inovator in AIS prevention and management. CD3 stations will be operating in at least five states next summer. Beta testing is ongoing. For more information to see if a CD3 station might serve your local AIS prevention program, contact Mark at

MN Lakes & Rivers Advocates ~ PO Box 22262 ~ St. Paul, MN 55122 ~ 952-854-1317 ~


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