There is nothing better than a beautiful day on the water. There is nothing worse than seeing trash floating in your kids’ favorite swim area or a chemical sheen on your favorite fishing spot.
Boating in many ways has a negative effect on our ecosystem and directly on our marine ecosystem. The cleaning chemicals, the fuel and oil, and even our footprints can have a negative lasting impact. So how can we lessen or even stop this problem from getting worse? We want to preserve our precious natural resources for our future generations.
We hear it everywhere – reasons to go eco-friendly, use green products, save the environment and recycle. But what does it all really mean and why do we need to become more eco-conscious?
Air, water, soil, sunlight, plants, and animals – including humans – make up an ecosystem or network. Ecosystems can be as tiny as a patch of dirt in your backyard, or as large as the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Here are a few steps to be a Green Boater!
Go Green for the Clean
One easy way to be a Green Boater is to use eco-friendly cleaners, sealants, and paints. Always look for the marine-approved solutions when it comes to boat maintenance.
Cut out the phosphates in the boat cleaning process. Standard soaps contain phosphates. Phosphates create a lather when using soap. Despite what previous marketing and our grandmothers have ingrained in us – you do not need to have an impressive lather to get things clean. Another myth is adding soap to oil slicks. Soap does break up the oil into smaller molecules, but those molecules are still damaging to aquatic life. This is just one of the reasons to report oil spills. Professionals are equipped to handle them properly!
Sealants and bottom paints have green choices that work. Use non-ablative bottom paints. The high levels of copper and other metals in ablative paints are toxic to wildlife. Waterproof and other sealants have violative chemicals when they are still wet. Make sure they completely dry before putting into the water. There are also green and eco-friendly choices to buy and use on your boat.
A very easy way to be green is to use the designated areas to clean and maintain your boat. This helps keep runoff from the chemical into entering our watersheds.
Choose a Green Boat or Make Green Repairs
Of course, canoes and kayaks do not pollute the water with emissions. Not everyone dreams of a man-powered boat. Boat manufacturers are doing their best to become eco-friendly. Some manufacturers use reclaimed wood, eco-friendly composite material, and more… Do your research on the type of boat you want and the manufacturers’ green policies.
Have an older boat?
There are green choices that can help lessen the impact on your marine eco-system. 4 stroke engines have fewer emissions than 2 stroke engines. Smart electronics that power off when not being used, LED lights vs incandescent, trickle chargers are all great choices when repairing or upgrading the electronics. This is the perfect way to lessen our carbon footprint.
Become a Member of Boat Club
At Carefree, we do our part to sustain these ecosystems in various ways. By joining a club, you take part in the ‘Shared Boat Concept’, dividing boat time and resources with 10 other members. In the process, exertion levels harmful materials, fuel, and cleaning products are dramatically reduced, saving our precious waters and ecosystems.
Below are some ways that you can get involved, do your part and become an environmentalist!
Get involved with your location conservation group. Most have clean-up days where the shorelines and beaches are patrolled on groups. Learn new green practices and how to positively affect your ecosystem.
To find groups near you use Google, ask your library, contact your local marine or wildlife center, or your local water agency. Here are a few:
Check out Discover Boating for more ways to be a green boater!
Being Green doesn’t just stop when you leave the water….
Reducing pollution from your yard or neighborhood:
Reduce or eliminate lawn fertilizer use, upgrade older septic systems and decrease nitrogen pollutants by half, pick up dog poop and other animal waste, install rain barrels, build rain gardens in our yards and around our church, school or business parking lots, grow oysters under our pier
Reducing air pollution:
Plant trees, drive fuel-efficient cars, drive fewer miles or carpool.