Angling & Boating

Anglers or watercraft users use petrol or diesel motors and therefore unavoidably result in some pollution of surface waters. More pollution occurs with a leaky motor or someone pumping out oily bilge water in a sensitive water body, or as a result of discarding waste of various types, including sewage flushed from motor cruisers.

Using motor powered boats also causes disturbance to both fauna and flora. Wildfowl, in particular, are likely to experience disruption to their behaviour as a result of such disturbance and the wash from passing motor craft is also damaging to bank side structure and vegetation.   An even greater concern in relation to angling and boating activities is the transfer of invasive alien species (IAS) such as zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) and curly leaved pondweed (Potamogeton crispus) from an infested water body to another yet uninfected. Both are spread through surface waters and cause devastating changes to the ecosystems they infest.  Zebra mussels can be transported on boats, motors, or equipment. The pondweed (Lagarosiphon major) reproduces vegetatively from small pieces of stem. Additionally, several fish species such as roach, rudd and dace have been introduced into some lakes and/or rivers and represent a significant threat to the ecology of surface waters.

General Tips for anglers and boaters:

  •  Boats or equipment should not be moved from one water body to another, especially if the first one is infested with zebra mussel.
  • Clean and disinfect boats and equipment before launching, irrespective of their previous use.
  • Do not dump sewage into rivers or lakes. Manage sewage appropriately using pump-out stations.
  • Do not use toxic chemicals to clean or protect boats as this contributes to the pollution and is harmful to the aquatic life
  • Use eco friendly washing products
  • Maintain motors to avoid spillage or leakage of fuel or oil.
  • Do not discard rubbish or discharge waste into the water.
  • Do not move fish species from one water body to another
  • Do not operate speedboats or jet skis near wildfowl or in restricted areas (i.e. close to the banks).
Zebra mussel cluster. Photo taken by D. Jude, Univ. of Michigan.

Zebra mussel cluster. Photo taken by D. Jude, Univ. of Michigan.

How to prevent the spread of zebra mussels


  1. Inspect your boat
  2. Scrape down and steam clean your boat following removal from water. Temperature of the steam needs to be above 40°C. Ensure that steam-cleaning wastewater does not drain back into uninfected water. Heavily infected motors should be serviced.
  3. Clean outboard motors
  4. Dry your boat out and outboard engines for 4 weeks. This will cause zebra mussels (adults and larvae) to die. Store boats in dry conditions where mussels can dry out.

If buying a second hand boat have it cleaned before use.


  1. All equipment should be inspected and dried out before use in a different water body
  2. Make sure that zebra mussels are not attached to nets
  3. Do not take or use bait from infested to uninfected waters
  4. Do not transfer water from infected to uninfected lakes

Other useful links on zebra mussels and best practice:


How to prevent the spread of invasive weeds

 Boaters and Anglers

  1. Inspect and thoroughly clean your boat, trailer, engine, angling equipment and waders when leaving the waterway.
  2. Make sure that invasive weeds are not attached to your boat, trailer, engine, angling equipment, nets and waders
  3. Dispose of invasive weeds further away from waterways
  4. Do not transfer any weed from one waterway to another

Other useful links on invasive weeds and best practice:

More information on Disinfectant guidelines for paddle sports can be found here in this leaflet undertaken by IFI and Canoeing Ireland.