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WSIA Towboat Brands Take Steps to Curb Aquatic Invasive Species

In an effort to stop the spread of AIS, the WSIA is working in collaboration with towboat manufacturers to develop new modifications and best practices.

ORLANDO, FL (May 26, 2020) — In an effort to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), the Water Sports Industry Association (WSIA) is working in collaboration with towboat manufacturers to develop new modifications and best practices. WSIA towboat members have committed to providing $4.5 million in value to new boat customers by making engine flush kits standard—instead of optional—equipment on all boats moving forward.

During the WSIA towboat committee meeting held in Lake Tahoe this past winter, it was suggested and agreed that boat manufacturers will add an engine flush hose connection to the boat as standard equipment. This will greatly improve the convenience of flushing an engine. With increased convenience comes increased implementation, which will in turn reduce the transmission of AIS from one water body to another.

Decontamination of boats and trailers has become the norm in many states throughout America. Some manufacturers’ boat models already have a hose hook-up to flush the engine. For boats without this, aftermarket devices must be used. This simple installation could help speed up the time involved with flushing an engine, both for the boat owner and the operator of the decontamination station. The goal is to make it easier for all involved to develop regular practices to help reduce the spread of AIS. 

All eight major towboat manufacturers represented at the meeting jumped at the idea. They unanimously agreed to implement this as standard equipment on all 2021 model boats they produce.    

The idea was presented by AIS Subject Matter Expert, Rich Kolb, at the WSIA Summit in Lake Tahoe this past February. Kolb was retained by the WSIA shortly after in order to guide AIS efforts in the towed watersports industry. He will be working to develop AIS standards and protocols for the industry with an end goal of reducing the spread of AIS.

The WSIA is a 40-year-old marine industry trade association that represents manufacturers in the towed watersports field. The WSIA works closely with the NMMA, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the ABYC and is dedicated to do all it can to prevent the spread of AIS.

For more information, contact a WSIA team member at ten.aisw@ofni.

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