Cleaning your gear helps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

Cleaning your watercraft, water recreation gear, and fishing gear can help to protect our water resources from the spread of invasive species.

Many people are unclear about what aquatic invasive species are and why they are a problem. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are plants and animals that have been introduced into new ecosystems and outcompete native plants and animals for resources. This has an environmental, recreational, economic, and health impact. Anglers, boaters and other water recreational craft owners may transport these organisms without even realizing it.

This is why cleaning and inspecting your boat and gear when you leave any body of water is important. Not only should you clean, drain, and dry your boats, but taking the time to clean and inspect your gear is also important. Recreational gear such as tubes, swimming floats, water skis, wakeboards etc. should also be inspected before leaving any body of water to avoid transmitting any AIS.

If you are a fisherman, in addition to checking your boat you should also check your:

  • Clothing including fishing vests
  • Waders and boots
  • Fishing rods, reel and line
  • Hooks and lures
  • Nets
  • Tackle boxes

It is also important to dispose of unwanted bait in the trash not on land or in the water, drain all equipment, and to clean your gear with hot water or let everything dry for at least five days.

If you or your lake association is interested in watercraft checkpoints education or in a volunteer training to educate boaters at local public launches contact me at For more information about Clean Boats Clean Waters Aquatic Invasive Species program or other water quality concerns contact Michigan State University Extension. Water Quality educators are working across Michigan to provide natural resources water quality educational programming and assistance.

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