Learn to beware and be careful of what lurks below the water's surface.

There are so many fantastic lakes and waterways to enjoy all around the state of Connecticut. But to go along with that, there is the threat of boaters spreading invasive plants and animals that can cause a lot of havoc.

Recently the Candlewood Lake Authority made a move to help clean up the water.

Now state officials are hoping boaters will take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of invasive plants and animals. The second annual Aquatic Invasive Species Awareness Weekend was just held at several boat launches across the state.

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Quality ( DEEP ) has many recommendations for boat owners to observe and put into practice:

Before Leaving the Water:

Clean: inspect and remove aquatic plants and animals as well as mud or other debris from your vessel, equipment (including rods/reels), shoes, etc. (As a reminder to boaters, it is illegal to transport aquatic plants and animals on yourboat or trailer).
Drain any water collected from that water body. For boats this means the bilge and associated equipment  like buckets, coolers, live wells, etc.

Before you take your boat and equipment to another body of water you should do the following:

Dry for a minimum of 1 week in hot/dry weather or 4 weeks in cool/wet weather.
Wash your boat and equipment with (1) hot, high pressure water, (2) salt water solution for 24 hours prior to rinsing, (3) 100% vinegar for 20 minutes prior to rinsing, or (4) wash with bleach or soap & water.
Do not to return live bait into the water, including salt water, unless it was caught there. Instead, freeze it for a future fishing trip or give it to a fisherman at the site.

You can find more information about aquatic invasive species at ct.gov/deep/invasivespecies

There's months left of great boating weather. Please do all you can do to ensure that there are years and years of great boating and clean waterways for everyone to enjoy.

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