Skip to content

Boat Washing: The Best Protection Against Invasive Species


You might think most boat washing you see people doing at the lake is done to keep things looking sharp for the ride home. Really, though, there are reasons other than pride to make that boat shine after a long day on the water. In fact, washing your boat is perhaps the single most effective way you can help to preserve the aquatic environments that you love, especially if you frequently move from one lake to another during the summer season.

Unwelcome Hitchhikers

You may have heard the term “invasive species” before and if you boat or are into power sports, then you’ve probably seen warning posters about them at the various lakes, rivers and launches you frequent during the summer. An invasive species is an animal or a plant that has been accidentally introduced to an area where it wasn’t previously found. Most of the time, this means that the environment doesn’t feature any natural predators for the new organism in question, which allows it to multiply rapidly and out-compete native species. Over a long enough time period, this can decimate waterways by wiping them clean of their original denizens.

Water TaxiBoat washing helps prevent the spread of Zebra mussels

How does this relate to boat cleaning? Simply put, washing your boat before moving to a different body of water ensures that it won’t serve as a taxi to an invasive species. One of the most common examples used when discussing this type of boat-related transplant is the zebra mussel, a creature that can clog up waterways and damage hydroelectric and lock infrastructure by clumping onto whatever surface it can find. The mussels can be very small in juvenile form — almost invisible — and so are their eggs, which makes them hard to spot on a boat or jet-ski.

Drain, Wash, Dry

Even if you can’t easily see an invasive species like a zebra mussel, it’s relatively simple to fight the good fight and not provide them with free transportation from one habitat to the next.

Complete these three steps every time you plan to try out a new waterway: drain, wash and dry your boat. Being diligent regarding these simple tasks will make short work of any unwanted guests and help prevent an invasive species from potentially getting a toehold in your favorite summer hangout spot.

Check out all the marine & boat products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on boat washing, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.


Benjamin Hunting View All

Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time.  I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *