The summer boating season is drawing to a close.

As boaters decide it’s time to bring their boats ashore and store them for the winter, there is much more to consider than where you will be wintering your watercraft.

Hundreds of invasive species have infiltrated Ontario’s lakes, rivers and forests, endangering native fish, plants and animals, and their habitats.

This includes the waterways near New Tecumseth and up to Lake Simcoe.

Responsible boaters are encouraged to follow certain guidelines to avoid spreading invasive species in different parts of the province.

The zebra mussel is an excellent example of an invasive marine species in Ontario.

Thought to have been imported from Europe in the ballast of ocean-going vessels crossing the St. Lawrence Seaway, mussels were first detected in Lake St. Clair in 1988.

Since then, they have spread to the Great Lakes and were found in Lake Simcoe in 1994.

The spread to Lake Simcoe is believed to be caused by boaters towing their boats in the area after being launched in an affected area.

Mussels have caused billions of dollars in damage to the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways. W

hen it’s time to get your boat out of the water, you need to take precautions to help stop the spread of invasive species. F

First, once your boat is out of the water, clean all water plants and mud from the boat, engine, and trailer.

Drain all standing water from your boat’s transom, livewells, and engine air intakes. If you plan to take your boat to another body of water, you can eliminate invaders you cannot see by drying your boat for at least five sunny days.

This will kill any invisible species that might be hiding. You can clean your boat with hot water – over 50 ° C – or use pressurized water over 250 PSI to thoroughly clean the boat.

By taking these precautions, you can help stop the transfer of invasive species to other water bodies in the province.

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