Boating “Green,” from the Boating Guy

Hello, I’m Keith, the boating guy.

Boating usually brings thoughts of blue skies and water, but nowadays, many boaters are starting to think “green” – that is, environmentally friendly. You’ve heard of “green” houses, “green” cars, it’s only logical that the next step is “green” boats.

Here are some tips you can follow to get started boating green today:

Prevent oil discharges from the bilge;

Keep your engine well tuned to prevent fuel and oil leaks;

Dispose of hazardous waste at a marina or a local hazardous waste collection center;

Spill proof your oil changes by using an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill proof container. You’ll wrap a plastic bag or an absorbent pad around the oil filter to stop the oil from leaking into the bilge;

When fueling, prevent fuel spills by filling fuel tanks slowly and catching drips and spills with absorbent pads or rags. Remember, don’t top off. Don’t over flow your fuel tank. Leave your tank 10% empty to allow the fuel to expand as it warms. Do not add soap. Never use soap to displace fuel or oil spills. It’s illegal and it increases harm to the environment;

Save boat cleaning and maintenance for the boat yard whenever possible. If you must work on the water, minimize your impact by containing the waste. You can use tarps or vacuum sanders to place all the drips and the debris for proper disposal;

Reduce toxic discharges from the bottom paint by using by using less toxic or even non toxic anti filing paint. Use non abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Remember, dry storage reduces the need for anti filing paints and it also saves your money;

Dispose of hazardous wastes such as paints, batteries, anti-freeze, cleaning products, oil and oil filters at a hazardous waste collection facility;

Plan ahead – manage sewage waste properly. Never discharge sewage within 3 miles of shore. Use harbor pump out stations and shore side facilities. If you don’t have an installed toilet, use a port-a-potty and empty it at a harbor dump station or a bathroom.

Remember, check with your local boating authorities to find out what the boating laws and regulations for dumping grey water or sewage water is in your area;

Keep your trash on board. Never throw cigarette butts, fishing line, or any other garbage in the water. Recycle plastic, glass, metal and paper on shore side facilities;

Reduce grey water pollution and it’s impact on marine life by using phosphate free biodegradable soaps. Do your dishes and take your shower on shore when possible. Grey water is that soapy water used for boat purposes.

If you follow these tips, you’ll do more than enjoy the water. You’ll help preserve it for generations to come. Good luck, safe boating, and I hope to see you out on the water.

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