As a mariner/boater, you are enjoying the splendor of the blue planet. However, you should be aware of the environmental consequences of your boating and follow these basic steps to protect the environment for your continued enjoyment.
Tip: Reuse and recycle! Recycle spent antifreeze, fuel, oil, oil filters, and batteries. Use less toxic propylene glycol antifreeze whenever possible, but check before mixing it with other antifreeze for recycling.
Tip: If you do not currently have recycling at your marina, let the manager know that you and other boaters would support the separate collection of recyclables.
Tip: Tune up your engine. A tuned engine improves fuel economy and burns fuel more efficiently, causing fewer emissions from entering the air and water.
Tip: Keeping your hull clean and free of barnacles, grass and other marine growth will help reduce fuel consumption, and help increase your boats' performance.
Tip: Before entering new waterways, drain all bilge water, live wells, bait buckets and any other water from your boat and equipment to prevent the introduction of exotic species.
Tip: Use a hard (not ablative) anti-fouling paint if you plan on scrubbing the boat bottom while in the water
Tip: Wash your boat often and naturally. Try to wash your deck off regularly with fresh water and natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda to reduce the amount of strong chemical cleaners needed throughout the boating season
Tip: Use environmentally friendly deck and hull cleaners. For example, BC 600 BioCleaner/Degreaser, or Bio Hull which is water based.
Tip: Use environmentally friendly wood finishers and treatments. For example, Clipper Clear Varnish #95.
Tip: Keep garbage from blowing overboard; bring it back to port for proper disposal. If your trash container is in an open area, make sure it has a locking lid to prevent light items from blowing away.
Tip: For septic systems on board a boat, try to be as eco-friendly as possible by using methods that use natural products rather than harmful chemicals. Never discharge sewage - either treated or untreated - into waters; wait to use pump out facilities or dump stations.
Tip: Fill gas tanks only 90 percent full. Gasoline expands when warm and can spill from overflow vents into the water, where it is hazardous to fish and other aquatic life.
Tip: When fueling, catch any overflow with petroleum-absorbent materials (bilge pads and booms), and use oil absorbent materials in your bilge and for spill cleanup.
Tip: Talk to your friends and fellow boaters about the importance of protecting water quality and share these simple, daily techniques to help improve watershed health.
For more information on how and what to use on your boat to make your ride environmentally healthy read Shopping for Safer Boat Care by Neil Smith and Phil Troy. This book is filled with useful tips, as well as the names of all the eco-friendly products one could need. Check out the Boat U.S. Foundation`s "clean routine brochure" for more ideas.