Hey There! Capt Chris here!
As boaters, we have a responsibility and it is up to us to help protect the environment. Protecting the environment takes a conscious effort by all of us and starts with how we boat, where we boat, and the products we use on our boats. The little things are what count. A couple of things that come to mind and that are listed on Boat US’s website are:
- Stow your trash until you get on land: Never throw anything into the water that didn’t come out of it. Keep trash, even food waste, onboard and bring it back to recycle or throw away on shore. This also includes cigarette butts.
- Respect the marine environment: Don’t feed or harass dolphins and other mammals. Reduce speed and give a wide berth to whales and manatees. If it is planted there, leave it there. Watch out for coral reefs and other vegetation where you boat.
- Slow down and watch your wake: Large wakes accelerate shoreline erosion. Throttle back in narrow waterways. Use moorings rather than anchoring in environmentally delicate areas such as coral reef. When snorkeling or diving, never touch any live coral.
- Follow sanitation laws and regulations: "No dumping" means no dumping! Install a coast Guard- approved marine sanitation device on your boat and use it. Consult up-to-date cruising guides for the locations of pump- out facilities.
- Tune up your engine: An engine that is tuned up and running properly improves fuel economy and burns fuel more efficiently, causing fewer emissions into the air and water.
- Refuel with care: Take precautions to keep fuel and oil out of the water. Do not top off your fuel tanks, as it can lead to gas spilling into the water. Use a "bilge pillow" to soak up leaks in your bilge, instead of using your bilge pump to pump it out.
- Is your marina a clean marina? I support all the local marinas that participate and have been labeled a “clean marina”.
- Shrink Wrap: Purchase a reusable winter cover to help reduce the amount of waste. If you do use shrink wrap, make sure to recycle. I use shrink wrap, but I make sure to personally put it in the recycling bin at the marina.
- Solar Panels: Have you ever thought about installing solar panels on your boat to help charge your batteries or run your electronics while you are on a sand bar, instead of your generator?
- Be on the look out. If you see oil or chemical spills or other pollutions, call the United States Coast Guard’s National response Center hotline (800-424-8802).
What are you doing to help protect the environment while you are boating? What tips do you have for me and other boaters?