Preventing the spread of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) in the US has largely fallen on boat owners who trailer their vessels between waterways, but now a group of Minnesota marine professionals are suggesting boat and motor design changes that could help to minimise the threat.

In states where AIS is a problem, boaters are required to drain all water from their boats and remove visible plants or other marine life from the hull and trailer prior to leaving the launch ramp, or face fines.

In Minnesota, Tonka Bay Marina’s Gabe Jabbour convened a group of boatbuilders, dealers and state government regulators to address ways to slow down the spread of AIS. While the solutions the group arrived at are no magic bullet, they could help boaters comply with the laws.

The idea sounds simple enough: eliminate the nooks, crannies, crevices and other spots that AIS like weeds or Zebra Mussels can hide and seal areas where water can accumulate. Other changes could include self-draining hulls and closed-loop cooling systems.

Jabbour told WCCO-TV that while the changes seem minor, they could have a profound effect on controlling AIS. “To design boats that are easily identifiable to where AIS can accumulate, and you can remedy it by being proactive and make such things… sealed,” Jabbour said.

Jabbour credits the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Minnesota Fish and Wildlife for convincing the industry of the impact these changes will have.

Design changes identified by the group should start showing up in boat designs beginning with the 2020 model year.