How to be a Friend of the Water: 5 Tips for Green Boating
Boating should be fun, safe, and healthy. Unfortunately, not every boater follows the rules, which often makes it a dangerous recreational activity. And while summer is winding down, there’s still time to implement some new eco-friendly practices that you can carry over into next boating season.
Try These 5 Green Boating Tips
You can’t just lower your boat into the water, crank up the engine, and jet off for a few hours without thinking about the impact you’re having on the environment. You have a responsibility to respect the local ecosystem, and the following tips should help:
1. Maintain Your Boat
While the integrity of the vessel itself comes first, the engine is arguably one of the single most important components of your boat. Not only will a faulty engine lead to bad performance, but it could pollute the water and disturb marine life.
“It cannot be overstated,” Wholesale Marine says. “Perform routine maintenance, and perform it correctly.” When you maintain your boat and your engine, in particular, you prevent early damage and avoid the need for serious repairs in the future.
2. Use the Right Cleaning Products
One of the more time intensive parts of boat ownership is the cleaning. Boats require regular cleaning – especially salt water boats – and the products you choose can have a very negative impact on the environment.
When shopping for cleaning products, look for items that are non-toxic and water-based. These cleaners are far less harmful and tend to work just as well as their toxic counterparts. Also, if possible, try to do the majority of your cleaning on land.
3. Avoid Gas and Oil Spills
Few things are worse than spilling oil and gas into a lake or ocean. Even the smallest spill can have a catastrophic impact on fish and plant life.
There are a few things you can do to avoid these issues. First off, always try to fill your tank while in the marina or at the dock. Never fill up in the water unless it’s an emergency. Secondly, always have oil-absorbent rags on hand. If there is spilling or dripping, you can use these rags to clean it up.
4. Dispose of Sewage Properly
If your boat has a bathroom on board, then it’s likely that you’ll occasionally have people who need to use the restroom. How you’ll dispose of human waste is something you have to think about. It’s never okay to dump sewage directly into the water. Instead, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with your options – which include composting toilets, as well as the more traditional route of taking waste to a nearby pump out facility.
5. Throw Fish Back
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with fishing. In fact, fishing is one of the primary reasons why people buy boats. It’s an exciting sport that provides enjoyment for millions of people. And while there are situations where you keep fish to eat, don’t ever keep fish if you aren’t going to put them to use. Always catch and release undersized fish and stay within limits. Stripping a body of water of too many fish can hurt populations and permanently damage the food chain.
Leave the Water Better Than You Found It
Most people don’t think about what they’re doing to the water and marine life when boating, but it isn’t always positive. Between leaks, spills, and the use of harsh chemicals and materials, a fun day on the water can be a disastrous day for the surrounding ecosystem. Your objective should be to become a smarter boater who always leaves the water in better shape than it was before. It’ll require some critical thinking on your part, but it’s a noble goal worth striving for.