Floating pennywort can change the availability of oxygen in the water. Image: GBNNS

Check Clean Dry – help stop the spread of invasive species and diseases.

Save the date: 13 – 17 May is Invasive Species Week. It is your chance to get involved and protect your club waters from invasive aquatic species by taking advantage of free signs and materials.

Unwanted non-native plants and animals are invading our waterways and pose a serious threat to our lakes, rivers, streams and coastline. Once in a waterway these invasive species can disperse rapidly, adversely affecting recreational facilities, reducing fish populations and restricting navigation.

Invasive non-native species can block up waterways, make navigation difficult and cause irreparable damage to the environment – and as a water user you may unknowingly be spreading them from one water body to another. Animals, eggs, larvae and tiny plant fragments can easily be carried on equipment, shoes and clothing, and some can survive out of water in damp conditions for more than two weeks.

Since the launch of the Check, Clean, Dry campaign in 2011, The Green Blue and the RYA has provided a wealth of information and guidance to inland and coastal clubs about the steps they can take to minimise the spread of invasive non-native species.

How can I get involved?

If you are inspired by the great work going on to prevent invasive non-native species from spreading and reduce the impact of those that already have, why not get involved?

  • Help us stop the spread of invasive plants and animals in British waters – put up a Check, Clean, Dry sign to nudge fellow boaters into action
  • Share a photo on social media under #InvasivesWeek to promote your club
  • Remind your club members that they may unknowingly be helping to spread invasive species from one water body to another in equipment, shoes and clothing
  • Access the free online training to learn more about invasive non-native species, how to identify them and how you can prevent them from spreading
  • Become a Check, Clean, Dry champion and contact The Green Blue for free materials you can share with other members of your club to raise awareness

Facts and figures

  • Around 2,000 non-native plants and animals from all over the world have been introduced to the UK by people
  • There has been a dramatic increase in the number of species arriving in recent years and there is no indication of this trend slowing
  • Most non-native species are harmless but around 10 – 15 per cent have become invasive and have a negative impact on our environment, economy and even our health and way of life
  • INNS have contributed to 40 per cent of the animal extinctions that have occurred in the last 400 years
  • They cost the UK economy at least £1.8 billion a year

Invasive non-native invertebrates such as the killer shrimp, zebra mussels and signal crayfish can have a harmful effect on our freshwater environment. These organisms can reproduce rapidly, compete with or eat our native species and spread diseases and parasites.

The RYA and British Marine’s joint environmental campaign, The Green Blue, has developed a series of guidance videos for boaters on how to Check, Clean, Dry their craft including specific windsurf, dinghy, powerboat and personal watercraft best practice.

Campaign Manager for The Green Blue, Kate Fortnam, explains: “It is in everyone’s interest to protect the natural environment that supports our recreational boating; that is why it is so important to check, clean and dry all your equipment after use so as to minimise the spread of alien species or diseases.”


For more information, visit www.thegreenblue.org.uk. Follow the campaign on Twitter @CheckCleanDryGB and @TheGreenBlue #InvasivesWeek

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