Department of Environmental Conservation

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Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

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Boats, trailers, waders and other fishing and boating equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody unless properly cleaned, dried or disinfected after use. Although some invasive species such as water milfoil are readily visible to the human eye, many others are too small to be readily noticed. To avoid spreading invasive species please follow the guidelines in the following steps:

  1. Check
  2. Clean
  3. Drain
  4. Dry
  5. Disinfect


Check your boating and fishing equipment for invasive species.

An investigator checking under a boad for invasive species
Investigators checking a boat for invasive plants
Image of common weed attachment points on a boat and trailer.
Be sure to carefully examine these common invasive species
attachment points.

Common boating gear that should be inspected.
Don't forget to also inspect all gear used during your
fishing or boating trip

If your boat has been used in a water containing zebra mussels, run your hand along the hull. If it feels like sandpaper, it likely has mussels attached.

Image of a man feeling the bottom of a boat for zebra mussels.
Photo courtesy of Utah DWR


Clean any visible mud, plants, fish or animals before transporting equipment.

Picking weeds off of a boat and trailer.
Remove all invasive species from your boat and equipment.
Picking weeds from an anchor.
Don't forget equipment such as
anchors and other gear.

Discard items in an upland area or in one of the invasive species disposal stations that have been installed at many boat launch sites for your convenience.

Invasive species disposal station

Zebra mussels can be difficult to remove from a boat hull. They first need to be killed by exposure to water or steam at least 140 degrees F and then removed by brush or pressure washer.

Power washing a boat
Photo courtesy of Utah DWR


Drain all water holding compartments including live wells, bait wells and bilge areas.

Draining a boat
Drain your boat before you leave the access site!
Boat pulling a water skier
Be sure to drain boat ballast tanks if your waterski or
wakeboard has them.

Bass being pulled from a live well
Drain your livewell if you have one.


Dry boats, trailers and all equipment before use in another waterbody.

Boat left in the open to dry
Drying your boat takes at least 5-7 days in dry, warm weather.

The most effective method to ensure that no invasive species or fish diseases are transported to a new body of water is to completely dry your boating and fishing equipment. The key is to make certain that equipment is COMPLETELY dry before using it in a new water body. Drying times vary significantly depending upon the type of equipment, air temperature and relative humidity. While the outside of a boat will dry relatively rapidly, bilge, live wells and other areas of a boat not reached by the sun or lacking good air circulation will take additional time to dry completely. A minimum of 5-7 days drying time in dry, warm conditions is recommended.


Disinfect anything that came into contact with water, if it cannot be dried before reuse.

Details on how to disinfect your boat and fishing equipment