Marinas are Key Partners in Preventing the Spread of Aquatic Invaders

There are as many kinds of boats as there are places to enjoy them. From freshwater lakes to open oceans, aquatic invaders can easily hitch a ride and spread between British Columbia’s waterways. Marinas across the province can play an important part in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species, and boaters can work together to prevent the spread through the simple steps of Clean Drain Dry.

British Columbia is renowned for its rich marine and freshwater environments. Our BC marinas celebrate this diversity and are found in coastal and freshwater environments across the country. There are over 200 marinas and Small Craft Harbours located along the coastline alone, with many additional freshwater marinas based within the province.

Many programs exist to protect BC waters, and aquatic invasive species are a concern to all of them. “Our Clean Marine BC program helps recreational boaters and boating facilities to reduce their impact on our waterways,” says Christianne Wilhemson, Executive Director of the Georgia Strait Alliance. “Clean Drain Dry is an important messaging that we share with the boating community because when we all do our part, we’re keeping our aquatic environments clean and healthy.”

Plants that are typically considered freshwater invaders - such as Yellow flag iris, Eurasian watermilfoil, and Parrot’s feather (see image, credit – are tolerant enough to survive in saltwater environments. When boats travel between coastal, estuarine, and freshwater marinas, aquatic invasive species can spread from fresh to salt water and vice versa.

Aquatic invasive species threaten BC waters, decreasing opportunities for recreation and economic activity, and can harm human health. They spread easily because they can travel long distances in standing water and can cling to hard surfaces. Aquatic invaders can start life as microscopic larvae or spores and are often invisible to the naked eye. With their ease of spread, boaters may ask what they can do to help!

All boaters using BC marinas can make an impact and stop the spread of invasive species by using the three simple steps of Clean Drain Dry when leaving a body of water.

Boats leaving the marina for another waterbody should:  

Clean plants, animals and mud from your boat and gear

Drain all water from your boat and gear onto land

Dry all parts of your boat and gear completely

“Marinas and boaters are key partners in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species,” says Barry Gibbs, Executive Director of the Canadian Council on Invasive Species. “Taking the simple actions of Clean Drain Dry makes an impactful difference in protecting our diverse waters.”

For more information, watch for Clean Drain Dry resources and information at waterways near you! The Clean Drain Dry pilot initiative is lead through the Invasive Species Council of BC with funding by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and under contract to the Canadian Council on Invasive Species.

All marinas can help protect BC waters from the west coast to the Rockies by ensuring they Clean, Drain and Dry their boat after leaving a body of water.

Learn more about provincial regulations, programs concerning invasive species and the Clean Drain Dry program, visit

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