Invasive non-native species can damage boating equipment, block water treatment systems and harm native habitats.

As recreational boaters, there are a number of actions that we can take to minimise the risk of introducing or spreading invasive non-native species around Great Britain.

Biosecurity requirements

Anglian Water has agreed biosecurity requirements for their waters with Defra under the Waterparks Byelaws 2014, which came into force earlier this year. 

Recreational boaters must comply with these rules or they could face a fine of up to £500 for each offence, although it is a defence to show that they "took all reasonable precautions and exercised all due diligence" or otherwise had a "reasonable excuse" for committing the offence.

Check, clean, dry

Check, Clean, Dry is the best way to protect both your stretch of water and others around the country from invasive non-native species.

  • Check boats, equipment and clothing for living plants and animals. Pay particular attention to areas that are damp or hard to inspect.   
  • Clean and wash all equipment, thoroughly with freshwater and anti-foul boats annually. Remove visible fouling and put in the bin, not back in the water.  
  • Dry responsibly! When recovering a boat, trailer, dinghy, Personal Water Craft or RIB, drain water from every part and all equipment that can hold water, including any water that collects in bilges, before leaving the site. 

Sailing and watersports

Anglian Water Byelaw 17.2 states that no boat shall enter a Water Park with the intention of launching onto the water without complying with current agreed biosecurity guidance. Boats must be checked, cleaned and fully dried before arriving at the Water Park and visiting boats must sign in at the point of access to confirm this process has been carried out before arriving at the park.

Am I affected?

The Byelaw affects the following sites, which offer a mix of facilities including boating, fishing and bird watching:

  • Alton Water, Suffolk
  • Ardleigh Reservoir, Essex
  • Costessey Lakes and Taverham Mill Lake, Norfolk
  • Covenham Reservoir, North Lincolnshire
  • Foxcote Reservoir, Buckingham
  • Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire
  • Hollowell Reservoir, Northamptonshire
  • Hyde Lane Lakes, Buckinghamshire
  • Newbourne Springs, Suffolk
  • Pitsford Water, Northamptonshire 
  • Ravensthorpe Reservoir, Northamptonshire 
  • Rutland Water, Rutland
  • Tetney Blow Wells, Lincolnshire

The new byelaw affects those based at these locations and anyone visiting these locations, including for competitions.

More information

For further information on invasive non-native species go to: The Anglian Water byelaws can be found at:

Advice on boating best practice can be found on The Green Blue website at

Photo credit: Paul Wyeth