Check, clean and thoroughly dry equipment and clothing that comes in contact with the water before using again. If everything cannot be dry for at least 48 hours before re-entering the water, then disinfect it.


As a water user, you may unknowingly be helping to spread invasive species from one water body to another in equipment, shoes and clothing.

Help stop this happening by following three simple steps when you leave the water:

CHECK your gear, clothing and footwear after leaving the water for mud, aquatic animals, or plant material. Remove anything you find and leave it at the site.
CLEAN everything thoroughly as soon as you can. Pay particular attention to nets, waders, and areas that are damp and hard to inspect. If possible, use hot water (at least 45oC) or a high-pressure spray.
DRY all equipment and clothing until dry for at least 48 hours – some species can live for many days or weeks in moist conditions.


If complete drying is not possible –  Disinfect cleaned items. Use a disinfectant such as Virkon Aquatic, Virasure or another appropriate disinfectant. Items can be soaked, thoroughly sprayed or wiped down with disinfectant. Extreme care should be taken when using disinfectants and the manufacturer’s guidelines should always be followed.

Contaminated gear (e.g. equipment, boats, footwear, and clothing) is one of the most common causes of the spread of invasive species to new waterways. Invasive plants and animals can be small and hard to spot so are easily spread on damp equipment and clothing. All water users can protect our wildlife and environment following the Check Clean Dry code. A range of guidance and awareness raising materials for anglers, boaters, canal users, paddle sport enthusiasts and other water users have been developed.

You can download these free materials for your club, local community and events:



View species profiles

View species profiles of some of the most invasive aquatic species spread that can be spread to new areas as hitchhikers. Report sightings of invasive species:
Click on image to access species profile information.

Zebra mussel Bloody-red shrimp Killer shrimp (not in Ireland) Quagga mussel