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Marine biosecurity for boats

Marine biosecurity is about what you can do as boats to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive marine pests. It is an essential aspect of responsible boating, and its importance cannot be overstated. When boats move between different areas, they can potentially introduce or move pests from one area to another. This happens via hitchhiking on dirty hulls so keeping a clean hull is essential.

To prevent the spread of marine pests, boat owners need to:

  • Keep your hull as clean as possible – in Auckland this means no more than light fouling including niche areas, such as rudder, prop, intakes etc.

  • Ensure your anchor and equipment is clean and remove any debris such as seaweeds and crabs, making sure to put it in the location it came from.

  • Ensure debris is not washed back into the water when clean fouling from your vessel. In Auckland you can clean or 'groom' your hull in the water in some locations, but only if it has light fouling or a layer of slime and a few barnacles. Anything more fouled than this needs to be cleaned at a haul out facility.

  • Book in early for haul out and regularly maintain your vessel's antifoam. Find the directory of haul out facilities here.

  • Any small boats launched from the land into any marine water body in the Auckland region must be free of all ballast water, bilge water, holding tank water or sea water held in any other container.

  • Report any unusual species you see by calling 0800 80 99 66 or report online here.

  • Be aware of the local regional rules around Aotearoa. These differ around teh country, and you can find the latest at

As a boat owner, taking these steps can help protect our marine environments and the communities that depend on them. These steps can also help to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of managing invasive species and dealing with their harmful impacts. Therefore, marine biosecurity is an essential responsibility of all boat owners.

Marine Biosecurity Newsletter

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Online resources – The one stop shop for all your marine biosecurity queries. – Contains collected national data and research relating to the management of marine pests in New Zealand. – A New Zealand based research programme developing tools and technologies that will assist in managing biosecurity risk.