Invasive Species Week will be back from 23-29 March 2018. Throughout the week, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) will be joining forces with The Green Blue to focus on a different theme each day - and you can join in by following @CheckCleanDryGB or searching #InvasivesWeek.
Invasive non-native species (INNS) are those that have been transported outside of their natural range and can damage our environment, the economy, our health and the way we live. They can 'hitchhike' on the outside of vessels and in spaces within them, as well as on equipment and clothing.
It is estimated that the threat to biodiversity from these invaders is second only to that of habitat loss. There are currently about 140 aquatic non-native species in Britain. Many species thrive in both salt and fresh water. Their main means of spreading is via boat hulls or propellers, or within bilge or engine cooling water systems.
The GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) and Defra launched the first Invasive Species Week in 2015, bringing together a range of organisations to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and inspire people to #GetINNSvolved and stop the spread.
Launching for the first time on a Friday, this year's Invasive Species Week will kick off with an introduction to invasive non-native species (INNS) and their impacts, and information about the variety of events taking place throughout the week.
On Tuesday, 27 March the spotlight will be on hitchhikers! We'll be sharing information on the ways that recreational water users, field workers and anyone out in the countryside can help to prevent the spread of INNS, in particular promoting Check Clean Dry.
This simple yet crucial campaign encourages all water users to follow the three simple steps of 'Check Clean Dry' before they move from one water body to another:
Check your boat, 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, footwear and clothes thoroughly. If you do come across any plants and animals, leave them at the waterbody where you found them.
Dry all equipment and clothing - some species can live for many days in moist conditions, make sure you don't transfer them elsewhere
Pledge your commitment
Campaign Manager for The Green Blue, Kate Fortnam, explains: "It's important that boaters demonstrate that they're doing all they can to reduce the spread of invasive non-native species in order to help protect the environment and reduce potential damage to boat engines and props.
"As part of Invasive Species Week 2018, we'll be encouraging boaters to pledge their commitment to helping prevent the spread of alien species."
If you take part in outdoor activities on or around our coastal and inland waterways, following the three simple steps of Check, Clean, Dry can massively reduce the risk of spreading invasive aquatic species. And don't forget you can also request further Check Clean Dry advice from email@example.com to help protect our waterways.
The last day of Invasive Species Week is set to focus on the work of Local Action Groups and other organisations across the British Isles helping to tackle INNS, and hopefully inspiring others to take part - so look out for the hashtag #getINNSvolved on Thursday, 29 March.
Green Guide to Boating
"It's in everyone's interest to protect the natural environment that supports our recreational boating activity. In other words, making sure that meeting the needs of the present does not compromise the needs of future generations," says Kate.
The Green Blue supports sustainable development by demonstrating best practice and encouraging the design and production of innovative, environmentally benign products, facilities and processes within the recreational boating sector.
For more information or to download your free copy of 'The Green Guide to Boating' visit www.thegreenblue.org.uk. The site is packed with practical advice, case studies and information on green products to help you save money, protect water quality and habitats and ultimately, safeguard the future of our inland waterways.