Sept 8, 2020

Clean Drain DrySome boat owners retrofit wakeboats with external ballast bags that need to be emptied before leaving the lake.

For owners of all types of boats that are trailered from one lake to another within Canada, (and perhaps to waters in the USA when the borders open again) please take the steps to clean, drain and dry your boat and trailer to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. If you plan to venture into the USA with your boat and trailer, you may be required to follow specific cleaning protocols. We should always do this here in Canada as well, even if there are no specific laws requiring it.

A new video from Wildlife Forever, funded in part by a BoatUS Foundation Grassroots Grant shows watersport boat owners how to easily follow “Clean, Drain, Dry” at the boat ramp to help prevent the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Support for the video also came from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and boat retailer Marine Max.

“Today’s watersports enthusiasts enjoy riding big waves,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Outreach Alanna Keating. “To help them substantially increase the wave height and size, some recreational boats utilize large internal ballast compartments or use external bags that are filled with water. However, after using and before moving on to another water body, these bags or tanks need to be thoroughly drained and dried for five days to eliminate any AIS from being spread to other waters.”

Clean Drain DryWakesport boats with internal tanks can emptied with the touch of a button, making “Clean, Drain, Dry” easy.

A recent study from the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center using AIS-infested water showed that even after draining, these ballast compartments could contain more than 12 cups of residual water. Wildlife Forever’s one-minute video concisely runs through each of steps necessary to help keep local waters clean by showing how to properly decontaminate a wake-style boat and its trailer.

As part of a coalition of recreational boating, environmental, conservation and government organizations, the BoatUS Foundation has championed “Clean, Drain, Dry” for the better part of a decade, promoting information on how to stop the spread of invasive species such as zebra mussels as part of the nonprofit’s free online Basic Boating Safety course and on its website at  

As part of the national Clean Drain Dry Initiative, Wildlife Forever also offers AIS educational materials and resources tailored to the wakesport, fishing and hunting industries, boat dealers, retail centers and launch ramp inspectors that help educate all outdoor recreational users on invasive species prevention.

The video can be found at