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Practical: Good vessel maintenance – Keep your bottom clean

VESSELS entering interstate waters, regardless of their size or frequency of visits pose a risk to aquatic biosecurity.

Good vessel maintenance and effective antifouling not only prevents the introduction of new invasive marine pests (IMPs) and spread of those already existing, it also provides a number of benefits including increased vessel performance and speed, lower fuel consumption and reduced maintenance costs.

Invasive marine pests (IMPs) are marine plants or animals that if introduced, could find their new homes so attractive they out-compete native species and cause a whole host of other problems.

How could they get here?

IMPs can be transported across thousands of kilometres of ocean in or on the hulls of vessels big or small. These include commercial shipping, fishing and recreational vessels, petroleum production and exploration vessels and a range of non-trading vessels including barges, ferries and tugs.

It has been estimated that of the 250 non-indigenous marine species identified in Australian waters, as many as three quarters have arrived as biofouling on vessels. All vessels carry marine species whether in ballast water, biofouling or tangled in gear and equipment and many have the potential to survive the voyage, establish viable populations and become significant invasive pests.

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Prevent the spread of aquatic pests by following these 5 simple R’s

  1. 1.     Regularly inspect and clean areas most prone to biofouling such as niche areas including internal sea water systems, docking strips, sea chests, pipe openings, propellers, shafts and rudders.
  2. 2.     Remember to dry and maintain your boat and equipment.Air drying will kill most small pest species in about 24 hours.
  3. 3.     Re-apply or apply an authorised antifoul paint where appropriate and well within the life-span specified by the manufacturer, paying particular attention to coverage of pipe openings, niche and internal areas.
  4. 4.     Regularly check and ensure marine growth prevention systems (MGPS) are operating efficiently and effectively. In the absence of a MGPS, ensure that other options for treating internal seawater systems are undertaken regularly and effectively.
  5. 5.     Report any unusual sightings to FishWatch on 1800 815 507, via email to or through the free WA PestWatch app, which can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store.

For more information on marine pests and vessel maintenance visit and

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