Researchers launch survey of recreational boat owners to inform biosecurity efforts 

15 November 2023

Recreational boat owners across Aotearoa New Zealand are being called on to share their perspectives on hull cleaning and maintenance in a new national survey.

Researchers from Cawthron Institute and Scion Research have developed the survey through the Cawthron-led Marine Biosecurity Toolbox Research Programme. Their aim is to better understand the motivations of recreational boat owners with regards to antifouling maintenance on their boats, as well as obstacles they might face and considerations that guide their decision making. 

Richard Yao of Scion Research has co-led the survey’s development, and says fouled vessels directly contribute to the spread of introduced marine organisms. 

“Invasive species love to hitch-hike around our coastlines by attaching to the bottoms of boats, and this is why marinas and ports are often hotspots for their spread,” Dr Yao says. 

“Everyone has a role to play in preventing this from happening, including marina operators, councils, government regulators and boat owners, but this survey specifically aims to understand what boat owners think about hull cleaning and maintenance and what actions they typically take.” 

The results of the survey will be used to inform approaches to limiting the spread of introduced marine organisms.

The Marine Biosecurity Toolbox Research Programme is a national initiative that brings together people and organisations from a range of sectors who all have a part to play in managing and developing our national biosecurity system, including researchers, Māori, regulatory and industry organisations, communities and government.

The programme’s objective is to develop transformative ‘tools’ that empower these people and organisations to effectively manage risk pathways, prevent pest establishment, and detect and respond to new incursions.

As an output of the Programme, this survey gives boat owners a voice, and helps all the other stakeholders in our biosecurity system understand how they can support boat owners to play their part in preventing the spread of invasive organisms.

The survey will run until December 31, 2023, and takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. 

All participants will go in the draw to win a $250 voucher as thanks for their contribution. 

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