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What Is “Green Boating” How Can Boaters Practice Sustainability

Water is the essential elixir of life on Earth. It covers about 70% of the planet’s surface and houses at least 240,000 known plant and animal species. Clean water enables marine life to thrive, but it also ensures the continuance of our planet’s water cycle. Naturally, boaters appreciate the beauty and life-giving potential of the waters they sail in. Green boating practices take that appreciation further, helping preserve these waters for everyone’s benefit. 

The Benefits of Green Boating

Simply put, green boating incorporates an eco-friendly approach. It focuses on reducing boaters’ overall impact on their environment, including the waters in which they’re sailing. Green boating includes several core principles: 

  • Preventing pollution
  • Using eco-friendly products
  • Protecting wildlife and habitats
  • Boosting sustainability
  • Green boat maintenance 

How To Prevent Oil Discharge From Your Boat

Green boating’s first focus is pollution prevention. Common substances such as oil, fuel, blackwater and greywater. Since oil is one of the most harmful pollutants, you should take some essential steps to ensure you don’t discharge it into the water. First, make sure that all your engine’s bolts are sufficiently tight. To avoid spills from hydraulic lines and fittings, replace them as soon as they’re worn out or cracked. Equip a drip tray or oil pan to prevent oil leaks from your engine. 

Tips for Fueling Your Boat

Fuel spills in the water can also significantly harm plants and wildlife. Fortunately, you can reduce the chance of spills by following some smart practices. You should know your tank’s capacity, but steer clear of filling it up to complete capacity. Leave about 10% empty for some “wiggle room” so excess fuel doesn’t spill out. Also, do not leave your bilge pump on during the refueling process. Just make sure you turn it back on after you are done. 

You can also prevent both oil and fuel spills before they start. With some oil-absorbent pads, you can create a DIY bilge sock. Absorbent pads and fuel collars catch fuel drips, stopping them from entering the water. 

Minimize Maintenance in the Water

Stopping chemical pollution is key to green boating. Reducing the amount of maintenance you perform in the water helps cut down or eliminate pollutant discharge. Consider performing watercraft maintenance on land whenever possible. Using a tarp ensures that you catch drips, dust and other stuff you don’t want in the local water supply. When cleaning your boat, choose biodegradable boat soap that contains no phosphates or other toxic substances. 

Disposing of Trash & Waste Properly

While chemical pollutants are harmful to marine life, solid waste and trash can also leave negative impacts. Proper disposal of these items keeps them out of the local water supply. While onboard your watercraft, trash should be collected and contained. When performing maintenance, set aside any brushes, chemicals, batteries and other hazardous waste items. Take them to the appropriate disposal sites when you’re done — do not place them in trash cans.

When considering disposal methods, don’t forget about sewage from your boat. Look for pump-out stations at your local marina or harbor. You can also use these stations to dispose of waste collected in portable marine sewage discharge tanks.

Preserving Our Planet’s Waters

With waterways being such an integral part of our planet’s ecosystems, we must do what we can to minimize our impacts on them. Through green boating, we continue to enjoy these beautiful waterways. At the same time, it ensures we don’t disrupt the plant and animal species that call them home. Pollution prevention, waste management and mindful boat maintenance practices all come together, allowing humans and marine life to peacefully coexist.