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User Specific Prevention Procedures: SCUBA Divers/Snorkelers

SCUBA divers can unintentionally transport Aquatic Hitchhikers species between waters. Precautions should be taken to reduce the risk of moving these species, especially when diving in different waters on the same or repeated days. Many divers believe zebra mussels have benefited the sport by improving water visibility. But, they soon learn the things that attracted them become encrusted, which obscures these features. Thus, the harm caused by zebra mussels outweighs any benefit. Divers can reduce the impacts by following a few basic steps.

Using products designed specifically for SCUBA equipment, please do the following:
  • Check all gear that could potentially hide any nuisance species (include regulators, BCDs, wetsuits, masks, snorkels and any other dive gear,
  • Thoroughly clean all regulators, BCDs, wetsuits, masks, snorkels and any other dive gear, making sure to clean both the inside and outside of the BCD to ensure that no mud or organic matter is present.
  • After cleaning, rinse your suit, equipment and inside of BCD with hot (<40 C or 104F) or salt (1/2 cup salt/gallon) water. Note, if you use the salt-water solution, it is very important to thoroughly rinse the equipment in freshwater after your cleaning because the salt crystals can harm your equipment.
  • Allow gear, suit and other equipment to dry before diving in different waters. ANS can survive for a period of time on wet scuba gear;

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Check out the Latest News about the Stop Aquatic Hitchhiker Campaign and the aquatic hitchhiker problem.

Common Hitchhikers

Zebra Mussels
Whirling Disease
Spiny Water Fleas
Round Gobies
Water Hyacinth

Video Clips
Asian Carp in the Upper Mississippi River
(Real Video format)

Round Goby
(Quicktime Format)
New Audio Messages for Traveler Information Systems
Zebra Mussel (mp3)
Zebra Mussel #2 (mp3)