Give your bottom a good scrub

...and prevent the spread of unwated visitors. 

It’s that time of year when most boats are being lifted out and given a good scrub for the coming season.

We all know that having a clean hull increases our speed and improves fuel efficiency, but did you also know that it is vital in preventing the spread of alien species, or non-native invasive species (NNIS)?

Cause major problems and expense

Alien species can cause major problems for our native flora and fauna often smothering native species and damaging natural ecosystems. They can also have serious impacts for our fishing industry and cost the UK economy over £2 billion every year to clean up.

What’s this got to do with boating?

Although NNIS have been introduced by accident from foreign climes (often in the ballast water of tankers), they are quickly and easily transported around our shores by hitching a ride on our boats. For recreational boaters, an invasion of alien species could result in temporary restrictions on our activities, such as those recently experienced at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire where the Killer Shrimp was found.

It is therefore really helpful if we can all do our bit to limit the spread of these unwelcome visitors around UK waters.

What can we do?

Alien species love clinging to the bottom of our boats so it’s really important to give your hull a good clean off every year. When cleaning, pay particular attention to the propeller, prop shaft and bottom of the keel as well as those hard to reach places such as water inlets and outlets where they love to hang out.

Alien species tend to be a particular problem on boats that have not been lifted out of the water for a while. If you didn’t manage to lift out last winter it’s really important that you do so this year. You may be amazed at what you find growing there and don’t forget the improved speed and fuel efficiency will be well worth it.

Don’t forget

Antifoul is toxic and to catch your antifoul scrapings in a tarpaulin in order to prevent them from entering the water.

For more information.

Helen Waterhouse, The Green Blue