Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day for Boaters

This Earth Day, please take a moment and think about the bodies of water that make boating possible...

Taking out the trash. Photo courtesy Project Kaisei 2 © Ocean Conservancy

What does green boating mean to you? We're not suggesting you trade in your powerboat for a sailboat or a solar powered electric boat, but we would like to encourage you to keeping our waters clean and boatable for your family and future generations. One way you can start to boat in a more green-friendly manner is by following some of the safe boating practices outlined by the Ocean Conservancy's Good Mate program.

According to the Ocean Conservancy, there are five general ways boaters can protect our oceans and waterways, and conveniently enough, each of the five tips starts with a letter that ends up spelling the word "BOATS".

Be a leader in your community. Talk about marine litter prevention with members of your boating community, from your neighbor in the next slip to boating clubs and marina managers.

Offer your time. Volunteer in boat and marina cleanup programs, especially at sites only accessible by boat. And participate in Ocean Conservancy's annual International Coastal Cleanup, the largest volunteer effort of its kind for the ocean.

Accidents happen. Be prepared with absorbent pads to clean oil or fuel spills. Dish soap doesn't work. It just causes those liquids to sink and contaminate the bottom.

Take it all back to shore. Don't allow cigarette butts to go overboard; small but significant, they are the most prevalent marine litter item found during the International Coastal Cleanup. Dispose of them properly onshore.

Set the pace. Recycle everything you can, from beverage containers to propeller-snarling fishing line or plastic bags.

While the above items may be viewed as a bit generic, the Good Mate program goes deeper to outline practical steps you can use today, and the steps are broken down into six manageable categories. There are excellent tips in the Good Mate program, and dozens of suggestions that make it it easy to do your part to make boating a little greener and make our waters a little cleaner.
* Marine Debris
* Vessel Maintenance and Repair
* Vessel Operation
* Oil and Fuel
* Stormwater Runoff
* Sewage Pollution
Follow all or any one of the above links, and do just one thing the next time you boat, or check to see if there are things you already doing that you didn't realize are helping the environment. Let us know via a comment if you are giving back to the waters that give you a place to boat.