Guidance for Boaters

Invasive plants and animals block waterways, harm the environment and wildlife, and can damage your boat’s engine and props. They can be small and hard to spot so are easily spread on damp equipment and clothing. Once established they become extremely difficult and expensive to eradicate, which is why it is so important to prevent their spread in the first place.

Protect the environment and sport you enjoy by keeping your kit free of invasive plants and animals. Find out what you and your club can do below.

Whenever you leave the water, remember to Check Clean Dry
Check boats, equipment and clothing after leaving the water for mud, aquatic animals, or plant material. Freshwater still/slow moving – remove anything you find and leave it at the site. Saltwater – remove any material you find and put it in the bin. Reapply anti-fouling annually.

Clean everything thoroughly as soon as you can, paying attention to ropes, bilges, trailers and areas that are damp and hard to access. Use hot water if possible.

Dry – drain water from every part of your boat and trailer before leaving the site. Dry everything for as long as possible before using elsewhere as some invasive plants and animals can survive for two weeks in damp conditions.

Going abroad?

It’s even more important to Check Clean Dry if you’re taking your kit abroad to make sure you don’t bring any plants or animals back with you. Make sure everything is clean and has been dried thoroughly before you use it again at home. Boarder Biosecurity posters.


Hard copies of posters and leaflets may be available, please contact us for further information.



Inland waterways and canal boating

Marine Boating



Inland waterways and canal boating

Marine Boating

Pocket ID guide

Poster or sign for events, clubs and managers of waterbodies

Guidance for clubs

There are lots of actions for clubs to help protect the waters they use, why not share these with your paddling club?

Guidance for events

The risk of spreading invasive plants and animals to new water bodies is even higher at events and competitions, where participants could be unknowingly introducing them on their boat and kit, or taking them away to their usual paddling spots. Read more on actions for event managers.

See all Check Clean Dry resources
Invasive Species Northern Ireland

Invasive Species Northern Ireland