To ensure the marine environment stays protected for generations to come, we should always remember to practice responsible green boating. It’s important to recognise that as boaters we do have an impact but there are ways we can take care of the seas, rivers, canals and lakes that we love.
It’s our duty to put effort into protecting the environment and following sustainable boating best practices - it starts with how we spend time on the water, where we sail and the products we use on our boats.
Here’s some top tips for being a green boater and setting the standards for thoughtful, sustainable practices on the water.
Filling up our fuel tanks is the most common way we unintentionally pollute waterways. Just one litre of oil can pollute one million litres of water!
Taking care not to accidentally spill oil or fuel will help to minimise the risk of water pollution. Learn steps you can take if you do spill and how to prevent it from spreading.
Sewage discharge from marine heads can also cause a lot of damage to the marine environment, discover ways to manage blackwater on your vessel and check the regulations you should follow.
Untreated water from your onboard sinks and showers and wastewater from cleaning your boat with detergents can also be a major polluter, so be aware of how to prevent this gray water having an impact on your local waters and wildlife.
Marine debris is not only harmful to important marine habitats and wildlife, but it can also cause damage to your boat. A good way to prevent waste from making its way into our waters is by reducing our plastic onboard.
Repurposing is also a really good way of reducing your waste - if you have boating gear that you no longer have use for, reusing or upcycling items help reduce this waste that may otherwise end up in the landfill or our oceans.
Use eco-friendly products
When looking at cleaning products for your boat it’s good to do proper research and find cleaning products that are non-toxic and good for both the environment and your boat.
The chemicals in these products will end up in our waters and we should be aware of what we’re putting in them. When it comes to boat paint, many boats use copper-based bottom paints which can harm aquatic wildlife. It’s good to learn about the eco-friendly alternatives that will lessen your boat’s environmental impact and it could also save you money!
Another thing that many people don’t think of is the impact of the products you have on your skin if you head into the water. When you go swimming your suncream can wash off into the water and the chemicals in these products can harm marine wildlife - research eco-friendly SPF products and go that extra mile in protecting our waters.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Learn how to calculate your boat's carbon footprint and find ways to reduce and/or offset your impact on the environment.
How you drive your boat has a big effect on how much fuel you use, being aware of this can both reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. Outboard engines have come a long way in being more environmentally-friendly - find motors that are both clean and cost effective to operate.
The sun, wind and water are all things we love as boaters and they can also be a great source of energy to help power our boats - looking at renewable energy and the technologies that work best for your boat will help us all work towards being more environmentally-friendly on the water.
Protect wildlife and habitats
Anchoring can damage important ecosystems including coral reefs, seagrass and shellfish beds - learning proper anchoring techniques can help prevent the impact on nature. Being aware of prop scar prevention, how you navigate through shallow waters and taking proper precautions can also help to prevent damage to the seagrass beds.
You really need to take care when boating near marine wildlife not to disturb their habitat. If you enjoy fishing on your boat, observe responsible fishing practices to lessen your impact on fish populations and the surrounding aquatic environment.
Keep on top of boat maintenance
When you’re getting your boat ready to launch there are lots of simple practices and product swaps you can make to ensure the process is as green as possible.
Proactively managing your boat well reduces any harmful impact on the environment as well as extending the life of your engine and boat. Routine maintenance will ensure you’re protecting your local waters and that your engine is performing properly.
Inspecting and maintaining your bilge will prevent oils and other toxic chemicals leaking into the sea.
Choosing the right battery is good for the environment as well as optimising the lifespan of your battery, that then saves you money in the long term.
Making sure you store your boat properly for winter will also ensure that you protect the environment before you get back out on the water next season. Search Boat Central to compare all your options.
We hope these top tips will help you along the way to being the best green boater you can be - as individuals all these small swaps and practices add up to make a big impact on the future of our planet and the marine environment.