Boating Clean and Green
It’s safe to say that most of the States in the union have some form of water — rivers, waterfalls, mountain springs, oceans and lakes — and on those bodies of water, you bet you’re gonna’ find people. Whether they’re in jet skis or boats, fishing or sporting or surfing or just plain swimming, wherever there’s people, there tends to be waste, pollution and the chance for damage to be done to the environment. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
When it comes to boating and bringing craft onto the nation’s waters, there are ways to ensure that our lakes and oceans stay clean and environmentally maintained. It just takes a bit of extra care when it comes to fuel, oil, trash and general maintenance. With states like California boasting one of the highest levels of recreational boating activity in the country, you can easily see why it is so important to spend a bit of extra attention on this matter. A few years ago, California had nearly a million actively registered boats — every single one of them capable of contributing either positively or negatively to the overall health of the state’s waters. And similar concerns are relevant for many other states as well. Here are some easy tips to adopt when boating, in order to maintain a higher green profile and to save and preserve the nation’s beautiful bodies of water.
Tips for Boating Clean and Green
1. Prevent oily discharge from the bilge.
Keep your engine tuned up regularly in order to prevent fuel and oil leaks. It’s as simple as placing a special oil absorbent pad under the boat’s engine where drips often happen, and in your bilge. Monitor these pads carefully and consistently, and when they are filthy, make sure to dispose of them as hazardous waste at the marina or any Household Hazardous Waste Facility nearby where you boat.
2. Spill-proof your oil changes.
For oil changes, use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill proof container. Wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge.
3. Spill-proof your fueling practices.
Prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and carefully and by using absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills. Whatever you do, just like with a car, DO NOT overflow your fuel tank — instead, make sure to leave 5% of the tank empty in order to allow warming fuel to expand.
4. Do not add soap to a spill!
Never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. It’s illegal, and it further damages the environment.
5. Minimize boat cleaning and maintenance in the water.
If possible, save maintenance projects for the boatyard or your driveway. When performing work on the water, minimize your impact by containing waste using tarps and vacuum sanders, and collect all drips and debris for proper disposal.
6. Reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints.
Minimize the discharge of heavy metals that come from soft-sloughing anti-fouling paints by using a hard, less toxic or nontoxic type. Use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Remember, dry storage reduces the need for anti-fouling paints and saves money.
7. Dispose of hazardous waste properly.
Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters and other hazardous wastes at any Household Hazardous Waste Facility.
8. Plan ahead and make sure to manage sewage waste properly.
Never discharge sewage directly into the water; instead, make sure to use pump-out station facilities. If you don’t have an installed toilet, use a port-a-potty and empty it at the dock’s dump station or bathroom.
9. When it comes to trash on board your boat: Stow it, don’t throw it!
Keep your waste and trash on board your boat. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage into lakes and rivers. Take advantage of dockside facilities to recycle plastic, glass, metal, and paper.
10. Reduce gray water discharges.
Make sure to purchase and use a phosphate-free soap; this cuts down on the impact of gray water on the marine environment. Further aid the environment by doing dishes and taking showers on shore as often as possible.