Slow and steady not always the winner

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Marine pests found on boats at Ballast Head boat race Kangaroo Island

With the Ballast Head Cup, the ‘world’s first yacht race’, held at Island Beach on New Year’s Day each year, Kangaroo Island receives an influx of yachts travelling over to take part in or view the race.

This year, as part of the Too Good to Spoil, Too Precious to Lose biosecurity project being run by Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, staff inspected yacht hulls the day prior to the race to look for any unwanted visitors. In the past, marine pests have arrived on Kangaroo Island via recreational yachts that have been berthed at mainland marinas, so this was a perfect opportunity to prevent the possibility of this happening again.

The exercise also provided an opportunity to speak with boat owners visiting the island. As a snorkeler surveyed each yacht for marine pests, owners completed a survey on their boat use, cleaning practices and their knowledge of marine pests.

The surveys revealed some interesting results: five of the 17 boats checked had the European Fan Worm (Sabella spallanzanii) attached to their hull, with a total of 240 worms removed throughout the day. All the owners of the yachts that had fan worms attached mentioned that their boats were due or overdue to be antifouled, which highlights the importance of regular boat maintenance. Clean hulls also reduce boat running costs, and importantly for yacht races, clean hulls sail faster.

A bonus for those who participated in the survey was their entrance into a draw of Whitworth’s Marine vouchers provided by the Kangaroo Island Natural Resources Management Board. The owners of Jenny Anna, Shameless and Sun Star were the lucky voucher winners.

Find out more about marine pests or contact us.

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