Let's do our part and keep it forever...
Our Oceans, Seas, Rivers and Canals are the reason we love boating. The tranquility of the water and the feeling of peace with nothing but waves, towpaths or riverbanks as our companions. What's not to like..?
With a few simple changes we can make a difference
Our waters and wildlife are being lost, polluted and compromised at an alarming rate, and we all know it's our duty to stop this. Here are a few useful tips on how we can contribute to a cleaner and greener environment.
Boaters of the future will thank us in return....
Fuel and Reduced Consumption. Reducing fuel consumption, is one of the most important, and easiest ways to maintain better environmental practice on-board. Limiting your speed and running with a clean hull, motor and propellers help us to achieve this. It's also important to make sure waste fuel is disposed of properly, and to be careful when re-fueling to avoid spillage. Turning off the engine whenever possible, and not carrying unnecessary weight on board will also benefit the enviroment. The less fuel we consume or waste; the less "out of pocket" we are...!
Clean Water. Chemicals in Oceans and Rivers are a big threat, so keeping products as Environmentally Friendly as possible is a great way forward. Try not to use detergents that contain Triclosan, Phosphate, Chlorine or Bleach as these are highly toxic and harmful. There are many water based alternatives and ways we can limit the impact of toxins. The amount of water we use also impacts our environment as chemicals are used to treat this water, long before it comes out the end of a hose. Washing the boat down first thing in the morning, when "Mother Nature" has covered it for you in Dew, is a superb way to use less water. You can also fit low-flow shower heads, or better still use the Marina facilities to wash and shower. It's less harmful to the enviroment and you don't have to clean the heads after you've cleaned yourself..!
Go Green with Lighting. Traditional flourescent lighting contains Mercury, which is both toxic to the environment and problematic to dispose of. A greener alternative is LED lighting which contains no toxic elements and only loses approximately 5% of heat. LED's draw very little power and can be up to 80% more efficient than other forms of lighting; they also last longer.
Painting a Better Picture. Many paints are listed as hazardous waste, so they need to be disposed of correctly. There are ways to limit our footprint by using "friendlier" coatings, espcially those which are non-biocide. Where possible, we'd suggest exploring paints with a low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound). When painting or sanding your boat, a closed or covered area helps to contain airborne particles, as does "wet sanding".
Avoid & Notify. Spillage or leaks of dangerous substances from boats can greatly impact water quality and aquatic life. A few simple steps could make a real difference, such as; not over-filling your tank, filling up carefully and using a fuel bib. Keeping your bilge clean and removing any oil, fuel and chemicals with absorbent pads also helps. If you do locate a spill you should notify the authorities as soon as possible, stating location, weather conditions and approximate size of the spill.
Keep it Blue, not Black or Grey. Black and Grey waste is inevitable, but there are practices which can help minimise the harm it can do and manage the waste that's produced. Using shoreside facilities when you can, and thinking twice about what goes down the plughole can make a real difference. Holding tanks are already law in some European Countries and may be an option for your boat. Many Marinas will have Elsan Disposal facilities and there are numerous companies who pump out waste from boats to ensure it doesn't end up in the water.
Sunscreen in our Seas. Unbelievably, many Sunscreen Products can disturb micro-organisms in our Oceans. Some contain Oxybenzone which is toxic to the sealife and can even damage the DNA of Coral. It is important to use Sunscreen for our health, but there are Eco-Friendly Sunscreens that don't contain Oxybenzone. It helps to use Sunscreens that rub into the skin rather than sprays, and lotions with the active ingredients Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide; both are biodegradable.
Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle. It's estimated that in years to come, there could be more plastic in our Oceans than the total weight of all the fish. Some easy ways to stop this happening are by re-using plastic water bottles, and swapping plastic food wrappings for paper ones. Keeping re-usable items on-board such as cutlery, tableware and cups will help, but if you don't like washing up, there are disposable tableware items such as Bamboo or Sugar Cane plates and cutlery. Many Marinas have recycling facilities but if there are none available, just take any discarded food wrappings, plastic bottles or waste home and pop it in your recycling bin.
Be Alternative with Power. Minimising the use of fossil fuels by using alternative energy sources such as Wind, Water and Solar can be easily adopted on-board. There are now water powered hydro-generators to charge batteries; some can even be recharged with Wind and Solar. Solar Power is becoming popular with boaters around the world and is often introduced for lighting, mobile phone charging and low energy electrics. If you're thinking of changing your boat, why not consider a Hybrid or Electric Powered Boat; it's also worth asking manufacturers what alternative eco-friendly solutions could be added.
A few simple pledges. In summary, we can all do our bit if we work to create change. It can be as simple as not throwing anything into the water (this includes food as believe it or not, some items take decades to decompose and don't end up feeding the fish). Using your bins and disposing of rubbish at home, or at recycling points in the Marina, keeping an eye on your speed, and maintaining a clean hull are really easy things we can all do.
Take if off the boat and help the environment
All boaters get to enjoy not just the water, but the surrounding environment. Why not join a "Beach Clean" or "Canal or River Vounteer Group".? If your Marina doesn't have recycling facilities, you could always suggest they introduce them. Every step we take, or measure we introduce, will help boater enjoys our waters for years to come.