Hatteras Yacht

Boating & Spread of Invasive Species

Working at a boat insurance agency, we see all kinds of issues faced by boat owners (not just accidents). For example, damage caused by invasive species.

When you go out on the water, you’ll want to check your boat or yacht for mud, vegetation, fish, or other critters. Some are harmless, but others (like zebra mussels) can cause damage. Even worse, if you don’t rid your vessel of this menace, they could tag along to your next boating destination.

The problem with invasive species is that they could wreak havoc if introduced to a body of water. For this reason, you need to make sure your boat is free of invasive species, even the aquatic types too small to be seen by the naked eye. Some marinas and boat launch sites have disposal stations for invasive species.

To prevent the transfer of invasive species, you’ll need to check your boat or yacht, including the trailer and any other equipment on board or used in the water (including fishing equipment and recreational equipment like water skis or wakeboards). Don’t forget to check the motor transom, propeller, rope, and anchor, life jackets, scuba gear, and snorkels.

It’s essential to clean and disinfect your boat and all equipment that comes into contact with water. It is also helpful to research local issues; for example, many bodies of water are plagued by zebra mussels that make your boat’s hull feel rough, like sandpaper. These require steam or boiling water to kill and a powerful stream from a power washer to remove.

Don’t forget about the water on board. You must drain any water you’ve taken on board that could contain invasive species. Remember to dump bilge areas and any compartments for fishing like live or bait wells.

Another important safety precaution is to allow your boat and all related equipment to dry out thoroughly for five days to a week in warm weather (longer if it’s cold) before your next marine adventure. If it’s too damp or humid to ensure complete drying, you can disinfect it (and rinse thoroughly with fresh, chlorinated water).

Why does this concern a boat insurance agency? We are boat enthusiasts, too, and invasive species like barnacles, seaweed, or microorganisms can ruin bodies of water for everyone.

Introducing a non-native species can cause several things to happen. The invasive species might prey upon local species, upsetting the balance of the new ecosystem. There are documented cases of such species decimating fish populations and even affecting the health of people in surrounding areas.

Any time that invasive species negatively impact ecosystems, there’s a risk for the local economies that rely on boating and fishing: parasites can destroy fisheries while bacteria can contaminate shellfish and make humans ill. Some species can also damage boat engines, hulls, or marine-related equipment.

If we are careful to check for invasive species and take steps to reduce the risk of spreading them, we all benefit.

When did you last review your boat insurance for damage and liability? Contact the boat insurance agency professionals at Global Marine Insurance to ensure you have the coverage you need at the most competitive rates.

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