5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day as a Boater

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how to celebrate earth day

Earth Day, celebrated every April 22, is an excellent day for boaters to show their support for environmental conservation. The world's waterways are our playgrounds, and protecting them is a core part of what it means to be a member of the boating community. 

In addition to regularly following "green boating" best practices, here are seven ways that boaters can celebrate Earth Day this year.

Green Boating: 10 Best Practices for Boaters

How to Celebrate Earth Day on the Water

1. Clean Up Local Beaches and Waterways

The Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, Ocean Blue Project, and similar organizations organize beach cleanups across the country and beyond. 

Likewise, Plastic Whale, based in Holland, offers two-hour "plastic fishing cruises." These cruises are just what they sound like: People book a short cruise using nets and other tools to fish plastic out of Dutch canals. The effort can add up to more than 30,000 plastic bottles in a year.

Why not take some friends out on your own boat for a "plastic fishing cruise"?

  1. Take a slow spin around a local harbor;
  2. Fish some trash out of your favorite waterways;
  3. Post the photos of everything you snag on social media, the same way fishermen post photos of their prize catch;
  4. By doing so, you may also inspire more boaters to do the same.
choose reef-friendly sunscreens

2. Use Reef-Friendly Sunscreens

Coral reefs don't like sunscreen—in particular, they can be harmed by oxybenzone and octinoxate, contributing to coral bleaching and death. In a handful of places, including Key West, Florida, sunscreens containing these ingredients are outright banned in an attempt to protect the marine environment.

Fortunately, you don't have to wait for a ban in the area you go boating to make a change. 

When shopping for sunscreen, you can still look for products that deliver SPF 15, 30, and 50+ protection while still being free of harmful chemicals such as PABA, parabens, and phthalates. 

Many of these reef- and environment-friendly sunscreens are also made without any animal by-products or animal testing.

Sunscreen & Sun Safety Tips for Boaters

3. Opt for Eco-Friendly Boat Cleaning Products

"Green cleaners," often called in chandleries and marine supply stores, are boat cleaning products formulated to minimize environmental impact. A quick Google search for "eco-friendly boat cleaner" will reveal a wide range of options.

One example is West Marine's Pure Oceans Crystal Boat Soap, made with a concentrated, eco-friendly formula that works without harsh inorganic compounds or other harmful components and works with boat fresh or saltwater.

How to Clean a Boat: Boat Cleaning Basics

earth day boating

4. Switch to Sustainable Sunglasses

Costa Sunglasses' Untangled Collection previously made our list of 5 Eco-Friendly Boating Products Making a Difference, so it's no surprise they make another appearance here. 

Costa estimates that each year, almost 640,000 tons of discarded fishing nets and gear pollute our oceans.

To combat this form of ocean plastic pollution, Costa joined forces with Bureo, which works with fishermen to prevent discarded nets from polluting oceans and harming marine life. 

The Untangled Collection uses pellets that have been recycled from raw material from fishing nets to mold the sunglasses frames. The collection features styles for both men and women, including polarized options.

5. Purchase a 4Ocean Bracelet to Help Fund Plastic Removal from our Oceans

4ocean, an organization on a mission to end the ocean plastic crisis, hires full-time captains and crews to recover trash from oceans, rivers, and coastlines. They have cleanup divisions in Florida, Bali, Haiti, and Guatemala, where whatever can be recycled is turned into reusable products. Money used from the sale of some of those products goes back into helping the effort.

The 4Ocean bracelet is the best-known product offering, and it comes in all kinds of shapes and colors. Since each bracelet purchase funds a pound of plastic removed from the world's waters, the box set contributes to 12 pounds of trash being cleaned.

Read Next: 5 Ways to Raise Conservation-Minded Kid Boaters