Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and fish parasites or diseases are readily transferred from one water body to another on diving gear, boats and protective clothing. These can be very damaging to resident fish stocks, the aquatic habitat and the general environment. In order to ensure that invasive species and fish diseases are not inadvertently transferred into Ireland’s freshwaters from abroad or within the country from an infested area to one that is free from these organisms, it is essential that all diving equipment is routinely inspected and disinfected following each diving trip.
Items of diving equipment that require attention might include:
Diving suits, BCDs, diving cylinders, weights, weight belts, regulators, gauges; diving accessories such as masks, snorkels, fins, hoods, gloves, SMBs and reels; and boats, outboard motors and trailers.
Prior to leaving any dive site following a diving trip, the diver should routinely visually inspect all equipment that has been used in or exposed to the water. Remove and safely dispose of all attached plant or animal material. Clean and disinfect the equipment at the water’s edge or later, as appropriate, making reference to the suggestions below. The best method of disinfection is drying equipment thoroughly for a minimum period of 1 week.
Diving suits, BCDs, regulators, diving cylinders and accessories
• Thorough visual inspection for organic debris including in the pockets of the diving suit and BCD. Remove and dispose of any debris found, gently dry brush and hose down exposed surfaces with clean freshwater in a biosecure manner.
• Drain the BCD bladder.
• Immerse and lightly scrub equipment in an appropriate proprietary disinfectant solution following the manufacturer’s guidelines, then rinse in clean freshwater and allow to dry out thoroughly.
• Rinse the inside of the BCD bladder in the same manner.
• When choosing an appropriate disinfectant to use, ensure that this does not have the potential to degrade the material integrity of the particular diving item being treated and does not invalidate any equipment warranty.
Download the guidelines here:Stop The Spread of Invasive Species – Scuba Diving