Boating is one of the most fun and rewarding recreational experiences in the world. It's healthy, it's good fun for the whole family, it's educational for kids, and it's just plain relaxing. While all of this is true, it's no secret that boating can also be a little rough on nature. It doesn't have to be, of course, but if you're not careful, boats can add a lot of pollution to the water, and they can even disturb the underwater habitat. But of course, it doesn't have to be. If you follow these tips, your boating experience will become much greener.
1. Bring a trash bag: This one goes without saying, but no list of tips for green boating would be complete without it. When entering any natural area, bring a trash bag, and take out everything that you bring in.
2. Stop fuel drips: When you're refueling your boat, do so slowly and use a rag to absorb any spills that come out around the nozzle. And rather than topping off the tank, leave about 10% empty at the top to make sure that no fuel gets out.
3. Maintenance out of the water: When you have to do maintenance to your boat, try to avoid doing it in the water. This is because things like paint chips, fuel, and other debris can get into the water, which is bad for the ecosystem. If possible, take your boat out of the water any time you need to do maintenance to it.
4. Use clean non-toxic paints: Any time you're repainting your boat, be sure to use paints that are specially designed to be non-toxic and water friendly. Many of the cheaper paints are very toxic to water life. Even when they're dry, they can flake off and dissolve in to the water.
5. Keep your motor up to speed: Every time you're out on the water, monitor that your motor is working properly. Even if it runs fine, it could be that it's dropping fuel as you go along. Always keep an eye out for fuel leaks, and make repairs as soon as they're needed.
6. Discharge sewage on shore: If you have a boat that has a sewage discharge, never release it less than 3 miles from the shore. Use pump-out stations at the harbor.
7. Don't use soap in the water: Most types of soap are hazardous to underwater life. If for any reason you plan to use any kind of soap when boating, invest in a non-toxic variety that is made of nothing but natural materials. Whenever possible, do things like wash dishes on shore.
8. Turn off the motor when not in use: This is an obvious fuel-saving measure, but it's also a good green boating tip. It reduces the amount of exhaust you create, and it also cuts down on noise pollution. Let's not forget that noise is also a major issue when it comes to boating.