Scuba Diving as a Pathway
Freshwater aquatic nuisance species, such as zebra mussels, spiny water flea, fish hook water flea and Eurasian watermilfoil, can unintentionally be transported from one body of water to another on scuba diving gear. Precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of spreading these unwanted species,especially when diving consecutive dives on different bodies of water on the same, or consecutive days.
Did You Know?
Many divers believe that zebra mussels have benefited the sport by improving visibility in the waters they inhabit. However, the negative impacts to the environment, the fishery, and industrial, municipal, and private water intake, far outweigh any positive benefit. Also, the rate of deterioration of wrecks is greatly increased when they become encrusted with mussels.
What You Can Do
- Inspect your equipment and remove any plants, mud, or animals that are visible before leaving any water body.
- Drain water from buoyancy compensator (bc), regulator, tank boot and any other equipment that may hold water before leaving any water body.
- Dry your suit and all equipment completely before diving in a different water body, and rinse the inside of your bc with hot or salted water as described below:
- Submerge/wash suit and equipment, and rinse the inside of your bc with hot water (at least 40° C or 104° F); or
- Submerge/wash suit and equipment in a tub or tote containing salted water(1/2 a cup of salt dissolved in one gallon of water), and rinse the inside of your bc with the salted solution too; then rinse equipment with clearwater.
- If you think you’ve seen an invasive species in the wild, please contact the Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711, or visit www.EDDMapS.org to report a sighting.