It’s time we talk about a really important matter that way too often gets overlooked: Green and responsible boating. As boaters, we do impact the waters we love, and there are ways to keep our “prints” invisible. Waterways are often one of the most polluted environments and we can take actions to make sure we don’t contribute to this sad fact. Keep reading, Skipper, and I’ll tell you how to be a green boater:
Avoid oil leaks from the bilge
As a boat owner is your responsibility to keep your engine properly tuned to prevent fuel and/or oil leaks. Secure an oil absorbent pad in your bilge and under your engine where drips could occur. Check the pads often, so you don’t let them clog the bilge pump, and dispose of them as hazardous waste at a marina or hazardous waste collection center.
Make sure your oil changes are spill-proof
When changing the oil of your boat, use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill-proof container. Wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge.
Avoid fuel spills at all costs
You can prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and using absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills. Don’t overflow your fuel tank. Leave the tank approximately 10% empty to allow fuel to expand as it warms.
Do not add soap
Avoid using soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. This practices not only increases harm to the environment, but it’s also illegal.
Keep the boat cleaning and maintenance in the water to a minimum
Whenever possible, stick your maintenance routines to the boatyard. When doing work on the water, minimize your impact by containing waste. Use tarps and vacuum sanders to collect all drips and debris for correct disposal.
Minimize toxic discharges from bottom paints
Reduce the discharge of heavy metals found in soft-sloughing antifouling paints by using a less toxic (or nontoxic altogether) antifouling paint. Use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Keep in mind that dry storage reduces the need for antifouling paints and saves money.
Dispose of hazardous waste properly
Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters and other hazardous wastes at a hazardous waste collection facilities. Waterways ARE NOT dumpsters.
Stow it, don’t throw it!
This one should be obvious, but given the number of assholes doing it, it’s worth repeating: keep your trash on board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing lines, or any other garbage into the ocean. Take advantage of shore-side facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal, and paper.
Are you ready to be a conscious and eco-friendly boater? Then follow these simple tips and let’s all contribute to a better, greener world. Ocean deserves your respect, Skipper.
See you on the waves,