Biosecurity for boat and kayak users

Boat and kayak users often regularly transfer equipment from one water body to another and therefore play an important role in the prevention and detection of freshwater INNS. The advice given here will aid boat and kayak users (generically referred to as ‘boats’ here) to prevent the introduction and spread of INNS.


  • While most boat users are vigilant about the risk of spreading non-native species and diseases, there is a real risk that those that aren’t could accidentally spread these organisms, harming the environment and potentially damaging the reputation of the sport.
  • Non-native species could be spread in any water or material. Boat users should take care to avoid moving these between water bodies.


  • Boat users should make themselves aware of some of the priority non-native species.
  • Bio fouling must be thoroughly removed from all hulls and other submerged surfaces before transfer to another site.
  • Any site may have invasive non-native species and diseases that can be spread by contaminated clothes and equipment, so good biosecurity is always important. Remember: everyone, every time, everywhere.
  • If you are visiting a site where an invasive non-native species is known to be present, you must ensure you don’t spread it. Failure to do so risks prosecution under the Wildlife & Countryside Act, 1981.
  • Any water that collects in bilges or inside kayaks and canoes must be completely emptied before leaving the site.
  • Water-cooled engines must be washed through with tap water to ensure the system does not harbour INNS.

Check Clean Dry Procedure

  • Check All clothing that has come into contact with the water and equipment should be thoroughly inspected and any visible debris (mud, plant or animal matter) should be removed and left at the water body where it was found. Particular attention must be paid to the hard to reach areas of the kit.
  • Clean Equipment should be washed down on site with tap water. Washings should be left at the water body where the equipment was used, or contained and not allowed to enter any other watercourse or drainage system (i.e. do not put them down the drain or sink).
  • Dry Thoroughly drying is the best method for disinfecting clothing and equipment. Kit should be hung-up to dry and be thoroughly dry for 48 hours before it is used elsewhere. Some invasive non-native species can survive for as many as 15 days in damp conditions and up to 2 days in dry conditions, so the drying process must be thorough.