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AQIS requirements for yachts clearing into Australia: Biofouling

By doina — last modified Jul 05, 2006 12:11 PM

Published: 2006-07-05 12:11:42
Countries: Australia

Making sure your vessel's hull is free from biofouling before you come to Australia will help you protect our unique marine environment.

Biofouling refers to marine organisms that attach to objects immersed in salt water, including the hulls and ancillary gear of yachts. By ancillary gear we mean anchors cables, fenders, cordage, tenders and anything else in regular contact with the sea.

Marine pests are a major problem for Australia and there are already 250 species established in our ports and waters. Plus there are many other nasties out there - like the Black Striped Mussel - that we want to keep out.

To combat this problem, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS or Quarantine) is developing biofouling management requirements for yachts and other vessels that arrive from overseas.

The first thing to make clear is that you won't have to haul out your vessel on arrival.

Quarantine officers will inspect your vessel's hull, ancillary gear and any internal seawater systems at your first port of call.

If your hull or gear is badly fouled, then you may have to haul out and have your vessel cleaned.

AQIS simply asks that you arrive with a vessel clean of biofouling and pay special attention to the cleaning of your hull, ancillary gear and sea water systems. It's also important that operators keep copies of any receipts that show the work done on their yacht prior to arrival in Australia. This will help AQIS verify that cleaning or antifouling work has been done.

AQIS knows that yacht operators and owners are very environmentally conscious people and want them to be more aware about the risks of marine pests and to know that routine cleaning and maintenance needs to be that bit more thorough to take care of marine pests.

AQIS are currently conducting a review into the requirements before they become mandatory and would really like to hear from you. If you'd like to provide some direct feedback you can send an e-mail to Or you can check out their website at for more information.

Peter Neimanis

AQIS Seaports, Marine Pests Project Officer