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Pest-proofing as boaties prepare to return to the water

Idle boats a potential haven for pests

Published: 11 May 2020

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Check and beat pests to the punch

In preparation for the return to the water, Auckland Council is urging boat owners to check their vessels for pests, both above and below the water, before heading out.

During the lockdown period, there is a good chance most boats have been left untouched in the backyard, at the marina or on their mooring.

And that will have provided the ideal opportunity for pests to have climbed on board to take refuge in warm, dry, undisturbed spaces.

And if food has been left on board from a previous trip, it’s even more of an attraction for pests.

“We’re asking boaties to take advantage of the lead-in time as we drop down the levels to check their boats for pests. Look for evidence of pest presence like droppings or chewed wiring,” says Liz Brooks, Team Manager Pathways.

“Even if you think the boat is free of pests, place some bait on or around it or set traps, just to be sure there are no unwelcome rats or stoats on board. Get onto it now while there is time,” she adds.

It’s not just pests on board that are the problem; marine pests make a nuisance of themselves below the water, attaching to the hull, particularly around the keel and propellers forming dense growth that can slow your boat down. When moving about, marine pests displace native species and compete for food, impacting marine ecosystems, commercial activities and kaimoana.

To help prevent unwanted visitors arriving on pest-free islands and to protect the coastlines we love and value, please:

  • check gear thoroughly for rodent and insects
  • clean footwear to remove soil and seeds
  • seal foodstuffs in pest-proof containers and gear in zipped bags
  • check for marine pests on boat hulls, book a haul out and clean if necessary and if moving between regions, check regional rules on hull cleaning before you depart.

Remember there are dog restrictions - they are not allowed on island reserves in the Hauraki Gulf. Check specific rules before you visit.

For further information on marine pests visit

Learn more about Pest Free Hauraki Gulf here.


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