Invasive Species Awareness

Invasive Species Awareness

Collaborating to protect our waters

The National Biodiversity Data Centre and Irish Sailing teamed up during Invasive Species Week 2023 to raise awareness of invasive alien species in the marine environment. Invasive species are one of the leading causes of species extinction and biodiversity loss globally. Two regional sailing events (the Optimist Leinster Championships and Eastern SB20 Championships) took place over the weekend of Invasive Species Week in the National Yacht Club and Royal St. Georges Yacht Club respectively.

Pop-up stands were set up at each club and Martina O’Brien, the Invasive Species Engagement Officer from the National Biodiversity Data Centre was on hand to explain more about invasive species, how they can harm our environment and the steps that the sailing community, competition participants and club members can take to help stop their spread.

Awareness raising continued in the Peoples Park in Dun Laoghaire on Sunday 21st May with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council with a marquee set up during the farmers market where the general public could come along and learn more. The event was supported by Irish Sailing, UCD’s Invasive Ecology Researchers and the Irish National Sailing School (INSS). 

Speaking about the event, Gail MacAllister, Development Officer with Irish Sailing said that “All recreational water users can help stop the spread of invasive species by remembering to follow the Check, Clean, Dry code”.

Check, Clean, Dry is a biosecurity awareness campaign that encourages recreational water users to

  1. Check: boats, equipment, and clothing after leaving the water for fouling or entangled seaweeds. Remove anything you find and put it in the bin. Reapply anti-fouling annually.
  2. Clean: everything thoroughly as soon as you can with freshwater, paying attention to ropes, bilges, bow thrusters, trailers, and areas that are damp and hard to access. Wash your anchor and chain before leaving an anchorage. Use hot water (at least 45°C) if possible
  3. Dry: drain water from every part of your trailer and boat. Dry everything until dry for at least 48 hours before using elsewhere as some invasive plants and animals can survive for weeks in damp conditions.

See the Check, Clean, Dry video below.

For more information visit the Invasive Species website:

Check, Clean, Dry resources can be downloaded for free from:

Identification guides for common invasive species:

Irish Sailing would like to thank Martina OBrien of Biodiversity Ireland for working with us on this awareness project.

Image: Chinese Mitten Crab thanks to Biodiversity Ireland  - learn more here.

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