What do I ac­tu­ally need to do about in­va­sive species?

Yachting Monthly - - ANY QUESTIONS? - Humphrey New­man

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.

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