If you're off in search of sunny weather and new waters this summer remember to Check, Clean, Dry to make sure you don't bring back any hitchhikers!
Invasive non-native species can damage boat engines and props, block up waterways, make navigation difficult, and harm the environment.
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 over two weeks.
Once established in a new waterbody, invasive species can become unmanageable. You can help to protect the sport we all love by remembering to Check, Clean, Dry your clothing and equipment when you leave the water.
If you're heading abroad it's even more important to Check, Clean, Dry while you're away or you could bring back a new invasive species or disease.
New species threat
In recent years the rate of new introductions of invasive freshwater species to Britain has increased dramatically.
Following the 1992 creation of a canal linking the Danube and Rhine, numerous species from the Ponto-Caspian basin have spread rapidly into Western Europe. Many of these species, which include killer shrimp, quagga and zebra mussel, are highly invasive.
Before the canal was built, a new Ponto-Caspian species was introduced to Britain every 100 years but the rate has increased to one new species every 18 months since 2004.
Many more of these and other invasive freshwater species are present in neighbouring countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands. A key concern is that these could be introduced to Britain by recreational water users returning from a trip abroad with their own kit, many of whom travel to the near continent each year.
This summer we're working closely with the NNSS and Defra to support the Check Clean Dry push to reduce the risk of introduction of new invasive species and diseases by raising awareness amongst overseas travellers. So if you're off in search of sunny weather and new waters this summer, always remember to Check, Clean, Dry:
Check your equipment, clothing and footwear
Clean everything thoroughly before you return
Dry everything as some species can live for over two weeks in damp conditions
You can become a Check Clean Dry champion today and contact The Green Blue for free materials you can share to raise awareness of INNS - and head to www.rya.org.uk/go/alienspecies to find out more about how you can help 'Stop the Spread.'
For more information visit www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry
Follow the campaign on Twitter @CheckCleanDryGB and @TheGreenBlue