Here are some easy tips boaters and marina operators can take to protect the oceans, lakes and waterways, and even save some money in the process! Be it while on the water or at the dock, they can act as true stewards of waterways, because clean, healthy waters are good for both boating and all other activities on the water, as well as for the boating business!
How boaters operate and maintain their boats affects the health of the waters and all aquatic wildlife living in these waters. To protect the plants and animals living in shallow waters, they should slow down in such waters to avoid stirring up sediment and disrupting the underwater environment. Anchoring in sensitive habitats is best to be avoided.
To reduce fuel consumption, reduce speed! Your engine is not supposed to run at near or open throttle most of the time. If it does, that is a sign that your engine is too small for your boat, and that the load, fuel consumption, and emissions are going to exceed normal standards. The propeller should suit the size of your boat as well.
To save on fuel, have a float plan! Your engine should be well-tuned for fuel efficiency and to minimize pollution. Make sure to use the grade of gasoline specified by the engine manufacturer. Minimize the amount of time that you idle at the dock, and the use of onboard generators by perusing the dockside electrical power instead.
Fuel your boat properly, never topping off your tank. Have an absorbent pad at hand to clean any oil or fuel spills. Should a spill happen, report it immediately. Trying to disperse the spill using soaps is stupid and illegal.
All engine fluids should be disposed properly, and never drained into the bilge. Boat cleaning and maintenance is better saved for the boatyard. When performing it on the water, make sure you contain all waste.
Use environmentally friendly cleaning products such as non-toxic, phosphate-free, biodegradable boat soaps and color safe, oxygen release gels and cleansers instead of bleach and the like. Disposing raw sewage within three nautical miles of the coastline is illegal.
Finally, patronize marinas that are environmentally conscious. They will help you recycle oil, plastic, aluminum, antifreeze, etc., discard worn motor parts, and offer pump-out facility for your sanitary system. Recent improvements in marine sanitation have done a lot to protect the marine environment from boat sewage.