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Education 5

Support education around marine biosecurity

Why – Now that good marine biosecurity is in place at our national borders, the biggest risk is that in-water vessels move harmful organisms around the country. Awareness helps club members behave responsibly and there are three main things they need to know:

1 - What harmful marine organisms are

2 - Their role in preventing spread

3 - The rules that apply at home and when they travel to other regions

How – Have information readily available and promote awareness. This may include newsletter updates, challenging your members to take a quiz, asking your local marine biosecurity officer to coordinate a workshop or have a stall at your next regatta or event.

Biosecurity NZ provides free pest identification guides or go to

Make sure everyone gets the message: Keep your boat cleaned and well maintained to ensure a hassle-free cruising holiday.

There’s lots more helpful information at

Have copies of your local marine biosecurity rules available. These differ by region and can be obtained from your regional council.


The best way to prevent harmful marine organisms from spreading is to ensure that every hull and anchor is clean before leaving port. Once marine pests are established, they have proven almost impossible to eradicate. This means controlling spread depends on stopping hitchhiking organisms travelling with you. Luckily in New Zealand we have no marine pests that travel on trailer boats (unless they have muddy anchors). Trailer boats can carry harmful organisms between freshwater bodies such as lakes, and include waterweeds and algae such as rock snot.


  • Ensure club members know how to follow these simple steps before heading away, so use posters, newsletters and workshops and be creative to bring awareness and priority to marine biosecurity issues.

  • Antifouling up to date. Anti-foul will generally last two years when it has been well applied AND the vessel has been used regularly. Encourage members to use their boat at least once a month, even if just for an hour or two when the vessel is taken up to its hull speed to active ablative antifoul or to dislodge organisms just establishing.

  • Haul and clean before going out of the region. Harmful organisms can establish on any surface without active antifoul. These routinely include anodes, props and prop wash areas, rudders, trim tabs, the bottom of keels and areas where blocks are used when on the hardstand. These areas need to be scrubbed clean, water blasted or treated with a biocide such as a chlorine solution. Please note, water blasting ablative antifoul with a high pressure hose will take months off the life of the paint.

  • DO NOT EVER in-water clean or beach careen when you are away from home. While it might be tempting to jump in with a scrubbing brush in those clear wilderness coves, it is the worst thing you can do. Chances are you are depositing harmful organisms in a pristine environment. Data shows that in-water cleaning with any form of abrasive compromises most modern antifouling paint. For information on responsible in-water cleaning where it is allowed see This is permitted in some regions and not in others, so check with your regional council if you’re unsure. Find rules for where you are going as not all regions are the same.

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