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Boat Inspections

All water craft are potential vectors for spreading aquatic nuisance species. Voluntary boat and trailer inspections, particularly by boaters yourselves, are an essential part of preventing the inadvertent transfer of non-native species from one water body to another. Many kinds of aquatic pests, including both plants and animals, are easily carried by trailered boats.


Zebra and quagga mussels are especially prone to this kind of transport due to their ability to attach to hard objects. Zebra and quagga mussels create a mass of sticky threads (called bysus) that glue them to practically any hard surface, including boat hulls, anchor chains, motors, wheel wells, rocks, wood, beer cans, and even other organisms such as crayfish and native bivalves. If you see zebra or quagga mussels in the wild, you’ll often find them attached in bunches or clusters, but they may not appear this way on your boat. In fact, it is possible that you may not see young zebra mussels with your naked eye. You should, however, be able to feel them by running your hand along the hull of your boat. A rough texture is a clue that zebra or quagga mussels may be attached to your boat. These should be removed with a power sprayer and you should allow your boat and equipment to completely dry before launching in other waters.

What to Check?
Check everything! Looking only in obvious places may not be enough. Zebra and quagga mussels and other aquatic nuisance species can hide anywhere on your boat or trailer. Thus, a thorough inspection after every outing isnecessary, especially if you transport your boat to more than one water body. There are state and federal laws that prohibit the possession and/or transportation of injurious wildlife. Whether you know it or not, you could violate these laws. Please do your part to protect your waters.

If your boat or trailer harbors aquatic nuisance species such as zebra or quagga mussels, you need to know this BEFORE they have been spread to new water bodies. No of us want to be responsible for irreparable ecological and economic damage. Please help us protect the areas which have not yet been invaded. Check your boat and trailer every time, before you transport your boat.

For more information, please see our video library for streaming videos that explain why and how you should inspect and clean your boat before transporting it to a new water body.

Inspect Everything

Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussel Druse

Zebra Mussels on Rock

Mussel on Monofilament

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