BOATsmart! USA Knowledge Base

Module 04 - Safe Responsible Boat Operation

Aquatic Nuisance Species

American waterways have been under threat from foreign aquatic plants, fish and invertebrates. Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) are transferred from boats and boating equipment that originate from external waterways. Once introduced to a new waterway, the ANS will detach from the contaminated boat and spread like wildfire. ANS include: Milfoil, Zebra Mussels and Quagga Mussels.

Why are ANS such a serious threat?

  • They have no natural predators in U.S. waters.
  • Some ANS can actually survive out of water, making transfer easy.
  • They reproduce quickly.
  • They have harmful effects on the native wildlife, habitats and ecosystems.

For more information on Aquatic Nuisance Species, visit:

How to Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species:

STEP 1: Rinse your boat with environmentally friendly soap and hot tap water (at least 140°F).
STEP 2: Spray your boat with high-pressure water (250 psi).
STEP 3: Feel the hull for gritty surfaces. Rub down these areas with towels, spray again with hot water and dispose of the towels in the garbage.
STEP 4: Clean anchors, live wells, buckets and other items that were in the water or held water. Do this away from the shoreline and never release live bait from one body of water to another.                                                                                                                                                            
STEP 5: Dry your boat and equipment before moving it to another body of water. 

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