Good boat maintenance will help stop the spread

The way you maintain your boat and equipment is extremely important. By incorporating the points below into your maintenance program you will be helping to keep pests out of your favourite boating and fishing spots.

Maintaining trailered boats onshore

Trailered boats have the potential to spread marine pests from one area to another via both the boat and/or its trailer. The diagram below shows the areas of your boat and trailer that are prone to biofouling and need particular attention when cleaning.

Biofouling prone areas of a trailered boat

Take the following precautions after both the boat and trailer are removed from the water after returning from each trip:

  1. Check for and remove any entangled or attached biofouling (seaweed and other marine organisms) from your boat and trailer. Make sure that you put any removed materials in a bin – don’t allow them to go back in the water.
  2. Drain all the water from your boat, trailer and gear. Trim the outboard down to let water out of the gearbox housing and check hull fixtures for water that could harbour potential marine pests. Do not allow the waste water to go back into the sea.
  3. Rinse the boat inside and out with fresh water and allow to drain. If possible, allow the boat and gear (including ropes and anchors) to dry for at least 48 hours before moving to a new location. Tiny eggs and spores can survive in a damp area for months.

Maintaining moored boats

Moored boats naturally accumulate biofouling. The diagram below highlights the biofouling prone areas that need particular attention when cleaning.

Biofouling prone areas of a moored boat 

To reduce the risk of spreading marine pests, keep your boat well maintained as described below:

  1. Regularly inspect your boat for biofouling.
  2. Slip and clean anytime there is a build-up of biofouling. Don’t scrape down the hull in the water or on a beach as this will allow pests to get back into waterways. Use a licenced facility where biofouling and any wastes can be contained collected and disposed of.
  3. Keep your antifouling coating up to date. Consult an antifouling coating supplier for advice and select the most appropriate coating system based on your boat type and usage pattern.
  4. Clean your boat and gear before and after a trip so that you don’t take pests to a new location or bring any new pests back.
  5. Treat internal seawater systems regularly to prevent build-up of biofouling. Flush with freshwater or an approved treatment. (You will need to check with your local regulatory authority to find out what internal seawater treatments are permitted in your area.)

For more detailed information on managing biofouling on your boat, please refer to the National biofouling management guidelines for recreational vessels PDF Icon PDF [1mb].