Zebra mussels in the free-swimming larval
(veliger) stage often attach to boat hulls and find their
way into hoses, bilges and almost anywhere water will go.
Your boat could easily become a ferry for moving mussels from
one body of water to another. The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
has recommended the following precautions to boat owners to
help prevent further spread of the zebra mussel:
Whenever you leave a body of water. .
- When transporting
a boat, drain all bilge
water, live wells, and bait buckets before leaving infested
areas. Do not transport leftover bait from infested waterways
to other waters.
inspect your boat's hull, outdrive, trim plates, trolling
plates, prop guards, transducers, trailers, and other parts
exposed to infested waters. If surfaces feel grainy, tiny
zebra mussels may be attached. These "hitchhiking"
mussels should be scraped off.
flush hulls, outdrive units, live wells (and pumping
systems), bilge, trailer frames, anchors and anchor ropes,
bait buckets, raw water engine cooling systems, and other
boat parts and accessories that typically get wet - use
hot water - 140 degree F (160 degree C) or hotter water.
A pressurized steam cleaner or high pressure power washer
is also effective and requires less time.
dry boats and trailers in the sun before transporting
them to other waterways.
- On boats that
remain in the water, avoid leaving outdrive in the down
position. Hulls and drive units should be inspected. Mussels
can attach to outdrives and cover or enter water intakes;
this leads to clogging, engine overheating, and damage to
cooling system parts.
Also, don't forget to...
- Carry a Zebra
Mussel Watch card! That way, you will know what
they look like and will be able to report any sighting to
the appropriate authorities.
What else can I do?
Learn how to
identify zebra mussels and what to do if you
spot an invader.