Prevention when Boating

Viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) is a severe disease of freshwater and marine fish recently found in the Great Lakes. It can be spread by infected fish, contaminated water sources or contaminated objects.

Preventing the further spread of the disease, and other aquatic invasive species, when boating involves a few basic steps.

  • Drain all water from vehicles and equipment before leaving the water source. This includes:
    • Boats, recreational watercraft, trailers, buckets
    • Motors, jet drives, live wells, boat hulls, canoes, kayaks, rafts, scuba tanks and regulators
    • Any boots, waders or other aquatic footwear
  • Remove all debris, mud, plants, and aquatic life from vehicles and equipment
    • Check the trailer, boat, anchor, props, ropes, bumpers, paddles
    • Do not move fish or plants from one body of water to another
  • Thoroughly clean and dry your boat and trailer before using them in a new body of water
    • If you are using a body of water known to be infected with VHS virus,
      disinfect vehicles and equipment with:
      • Hot (>40°C/104°F) water
      • Salt water (1% solution for 24 hours)
      • Vinegar solution
        • Dip equipment into 100% vinegar for 20 minutes
      • Bleach/water solution.
        • Do not rinse bleach solutions into lakes or rivers

States may have fishing or boating regulations in efforts to prevent the further spread of VHS and other aquatic invasive species. Find regulations for your state:

Stop your boat from spreading fish disease. Be responsible. Clean it out. Wash it down. Prevention involves everyone!

Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers LogoProtect Your Waters and Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers Campaign
Learn more about preventing VHS and other aquatic nuisance species