A Pox on Mussels (and Other Invaders)

The Mussel Mast’R filter system is installed in the ballast plumbing systems of wakeboard boats to trap invasive species.Courtesy Wake WorX

The Mussel Mast’R filter system is installed in the ballast plumbing systems of wakeboard boats to trap invasive species.

Used to be only truckers and hunters had to worry about roadside scales and inspection sites. Overweight? No tag? Uh-oh. Now boat owners are included.

In recent years the spread of aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels and quagga mussels, Asian clams, New Zealand mud snails, and Eurasian water milfoil has caused billions of dollars of damage to public water-treatment systems, boats, harbors, and power plants. These invaders cling to and clog the insides of intake pipes. Local authorities, in efforts to prevent the transfer of such species from one body of water to another, have established roadside inspection stations to check for invasives in trailerable boats.

Wakeboard boats in particular are likely culprits since they have ballast tanks holding hundreds of gallons of water that are taken in and expelled with each use. The 213 (6.5m) MasterCraft X10, for example, has three ballast tanks—two aft and one forward—that hold a total of 2,000 lbs (906 kg) of water. A set of reversible pumps does the work of ballast adjustment. Why ballast tanks? To control the wave on which a wakeboarder rides. MasterCraft’s Gen 2 System integrates the hullform, ballast system, control software, and “a wave-shaping device beneath the transom that sculpts the wave.”

If contaminated, the tanks must be flushed with either hot water or chemicals to kill the invasive species. Another solution is the Mussel Mast’R filter from Wake WorX, a four-year-old Florida company seizing on the scourge. The filters are plumbed into the boat’s ballast plumbing. The company says some builders like Nau-tique Boats and Centurion are off-ering the Mussel Mast’R as optional equipment. The filters also can be retrofitted to old boats. Pro-fessional installation runs around $700.

Wake WorX, 14128 Nighthawk Terrace, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 USA, tel. 865–643–4119, website www.supersacr.com.


From “Rovings,” Professional BoatBuilder No. 158
Compiled by Dan Spurr