Guidance for canoeists, kayakers and stand up paddle boarders

Invasive plants and animals harm the environment and wildlife, and block waterways making paddling difficult. 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. Remove anything you find and leave it at the site.

Clean everything thoroughly as soon as you can, paying attention to the inside of your boat and areas that are damp and hard to access. Use hot water if possible.

Dry – drain water from every part of your boat and dry with a sponge or towel before leaving the site. Dry everything thoroughly 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.

Paddling poster or sign

Paddling leaflet

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