What do I actually need to do about invasive species?
QI was most concerned to read about the spread of invasive species up the Scottish coast in your news story ( Invasive species spread in Scotland, YM Aug 17). I’ve sailed in Scotland all my life and wouldn’t want to be causing harm, so I’m keen to do my bit. I did wonder though, exactly how thorough this washing off and drying business needs to be?
If I’ve used my anchor, do I just give it a quick eyeball to check there’s no bits of seaweed on it, or do I need to give each link of the chain and anchor a thorough scrub and fresh water wash-off? The latter is nigh-on impossible on a small boat, but what steps do I actually need to take to minimise hitchhikers?
ASarah Brown, marine biosecurity consultant, C2W, replies: Helping to stop the spread of invasive species means we all have a duty to take reasonable, practical steps to keep our boats clean and free from fouling. Cleaning every link would be ideal but woefully impractical – imagine how long it would take to lift the anchor!
I was shocked, however, to walk down a local pontoon last weekend and see two anchors, hanging out over the pontoons, covered in caked-on mud and silt. The eyeball test is good but mud, silt and weed can stick effectively to an anchor.
I recommend using a bucket of local seawater and a scrubbing brush to give the anchor and the deck the once over before you head out of the anchorage.