Tips For Greener Boating
If we want to enjoy the clean open waters of Vancouver Island, we need to care for it.
Sometimes we tune out the buzzword “green”, because it’s everywhere. The one main place I perk up and pay close attention is when “green” is applied to boating. Being on the water is a way I practice environmental stewardship, and having the privilege of having access to our oceans motivates me to ensure my vessel is as eco-friendly as possible.
If you’re new to boating or simply want more ideas on ways to be greener, here are a few tips to get you started:
Keep A Waste Receptacle On Board
Boats tend to roll around, and with the added help of wind it’s easy for trash to end up in the water. Secure all trash immediately in a lined waste container, so the lining can be removed and disposed of when you disembark. It’s not uncommon for garbage, especially plastic bags to get caught in a fellow boaters intake or wrapped around their propeller, costing them money and hassle.
Recycle When Possible
Aluminum cans, plastic bottles, batteries of all sizes are environmental hazards if not disposed of properly at a recycling centre. Many boat yards provide recycling services for old oil, and follow strict containment policies. If you need motivation to recycle your plastics, learn more about how plastics impact wildlife.
Start At The Dock
Keep your bilge clean! Water in your bilge will be evacuated by your bilge pump into the open water, along with any oil or contaminates that happen to be there. If you notice an oily ring around your boat, clean the spill with absorbent pads and fix the source of the problem asap.
Watch Your Fuel
Fuel spills are a nasty business, so be vigilant. Take care when refuelling and keep an absorbent cloth at hand to deal with overflow. A lighter boat equals improved fuel economy, so assess how much weight your boat carries, and store gear you don’t need in a dock box. Keeping the hull clean is another way to minimize drag and improve your fuel economy.
Be In Tune
A well tuned engine will save you money. It burns far more efficiently, won’t tax auxiliary power and doesn’t emit unnecessary pollutants. Managing the functionality of your drivetrain and propeller will ensure maximum energy is converted to thrust, and you do this by keeping a regular maintenance schedule.
Use Pumpout Stations
If you absolutely have to dump sewage offshore, do so only in deep open water, away from anchorages, sensitive areas, shellfish beds and swimmers. If at all possible, use a pumpout station.
Invasive species are a huge concern. Trailering your Formula from one body of water to another can accidentally transport unwanted marine life. Make it a habit to hose out the bilge, flush the motors and spray down the boat and trailer before you trailer to the next launch site.
A list of environmentally responsible cleaners, approved by Green Seal (an independent, non-profit eco-awareness organization) can be found here. Alternatively, cleaning procedures can be made from common, non-toxic household items such as vinegar, lemon, and baking soda. Sometimes, they even do a better job than the store-bought stuff!
Share Your Love Of Boating
Boating is an amazing vehicle to teach others about the environment. Sharing your passion for green boating is one of the best ways to ensure its legacy.