Sustainable Boating Practices
Sustainable Boating Practices
A Guide From Eric's Outboard Marine Service
Boating is an extremely fun and popular pastime, but if you are careless, then it’s a hobby that definitely has a negative impact on the environment. Responsible boating practices that protect the environment are essential to keeping our waterways clean and safe. Being a good steward of the delicate ecosystems around you when you’re in a lake, river or ocean ensures that you’ll be able to enjoy those waters for years to come.
Fortunately, sustainable boating practices are easy to learn and can sometimes even save you money! Read our guide to environmentally-friendly boating before your next voyage to make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect the beauty around you. Eric’s Outboard Marine Service Inc. is located in Miami, Florida, so come to us with any questions you have about how to boat greener!
Use Fewer Chemicals
Try to reduce the amount of hazardous chemicals used in the maintenance and cleaning of your boat. While anti-fouling paint can prevent the growth of organisms on your boat, it often contains dangerous levels of mercury, copper, arsenic and other lethal agents. These elements leech into the water around you, potentially damaging the health of sea life as well as anyone swimming in the water. Seek out greener alternatives to this type of paint or simply don’t use it.
Harsh chemicals like ammonia, phosphates and chlorine are used to remove organisms and debris from your boat, but they also seep into the water, polluting it and harming sea life. Try to use gentler, more eco-friendly cleaning substances like vinegar, baking soda, borax and good old fashioned scrubbing with a stiff brush (although make sure the bristles won’t damage your gel coat). Keep any scrapings or sandings from your boat contained and dispose of them properly. To lower the potential that you’ll even need harsh chemicals to clean your boat, you should get into the habit of rinsing your boat thoroughly with clean water after every trip. Whether you were in saltwater or freshwater, you’ll want to clean off your boat so that you can reduce the build-up of algae, barnacles and other aquatic life.
Collect Trash & Recycling
While it’s easy to think that a wrapper or banana peel thrown overboard while you’re at sea won’t do much harm, the truth is that all that waste builds up. Most pieces of trash take years to degrade -- even an orange peel takes over two years to break down completely! The breakdown of plastics in particular takes over 500 years, which is why there are large, swirling patches of plastic trash in our oceans. Do your part by having secure trash and recycling receptacles on board your vessel and encouraging your passengers to use them. Don’t let any empty bottles or wrappers float loose. Keep everything contained within secure, lidded bins while you’re on the water, particularly in windy conditions, and dispose of your trash, compost and recycling properly when you’re back on land. Remember that even organic matter, like fruit peels, still take a long time to biodegrade, and doesn’t belong in the ocean.
Keep Solvents & Fuel Contained
Keep your boat’s engine and battery well-maintained to ensure that you aren’t unwittingly allowing oil, fuel, battery acid, coolant or any other fluids to leak into the water around you. Check your bilge before you pump it and install a bilge sock to catch fluids, since it’s illegal to allow oil to run into the water. If your boat does spill oil or fuel into the water, use an absorbent pad to get as much of it as you can. Then, take your boat to shore to have it repaired as soon as possible so it doesn’t continue to pollute waterways. Bring your boat to our service department at Eric’s Outboard Marine if you suspect that leaks are caused by a bigger problem than you can address at home.
Be Vigilant Around Wildlife
Fish and other aquatic creatures need you to watch out for them when you’re in the water. When hunting or fishing, make sure you’re doing it in approved waters and that you aren’t hunting or fishing any endangered species. Be watchful for any creatures that might swim near your boat’s propeller or engine and try to grant them a wide berth so they aren’t harmed by your boat.
Another great way to boat more sustainably is to trade in your older vessel for a newer model that is more fuel-efficient, quieter, less prone to leaking and made with more environmentally-friendly paints and materials. Because older boats are more likely to leech hazardous chemicals into the water as they degrade, it’s best that they are removed from our waterways and replaced. Visit Eric’s Outboard Marine Service Inc. in Miami, Florida to check out the latest in eco-friendly boats, including used models, which are a more sustainable choice since you’re prolonging the use of something that’s already been made.