There’s nothing like a warm, sunny day spent on the water. There’s nothing better than taking a pleasure cruise with some friends. Boating is one of the things you look forward to all year. There are so many great lakes and rivers to explore. Now that summer’s finally here, make sure you do your part to keep your passengers — and the environment — safe from harm. Follow these green boating safety tips to get the most out of summer boating season.
1. Keep Your Boat Tuned Up
At the beginning of the season, have your engine checked by a mechanic to make sure you don’t have any fuel or oil leaks. Keep your boat in good repair all season long so it runs as efficiently and cleanly as possible.
2. Do Repairs in Dry Dock
Performing maintenance in the water often allows pollutants to escape into local waterways. Save your big maintenance jobs for when your boat is on land.
3. Try an Absorbent
Use oil absorbent under the engine and in the bilge for a belt-and-suspenders approach. Dispose of used absorbent as hazardous waste to keep oil out of the environment.
4. Add Fuel Carefully
To avoid spilling fuel into the water, don’t top off your tank. Instead, under-fill a bit to allow room for fuel to expand in the heat and avoid a potentially harmful mess.
5. Skip the Soap
It’s illegal to use soap to dilute or disperse fuel — it just makes things worse. Fortunately, there are vegan and green cleaning options available for use. When looking for cleaners, make sure that the products are safe for both humans and animals, have no V.O.C.s and are USDA approved.
6. Plan Ahead for Sewage
Make sure you plan your itinerary to allow enough stops to dispose of sewage properly. It’s illegal to dump into the water, and it’s harmful for marine animals and plants
7. Carry in, Carry Out
Have trash bags on hand to corral any food wrappers or other trash so you can dispose of it properly when back on shore. Remember that the wind can blow away light items, so be careful with your refuse.
8. Manage Gray Water
Try to plan your trips to avoid washing dishes or taking showers aboard the ship to keep soap run-off out of the water. If you do need to wash while aboard, use phosphate-free soaps. If you want to go the extra mile and consider yourself a DIY enthusiast, check out this great vegan cleaning solution for dirty bathrooms.
9. Choose Environmentally Friendly Bottom Paint
Minimize corrosion and growth on the hull with non-toxic, non-copper paints that repel microorganisms but keep the water clean. You can also hire a green hull cleaning company to minimize your impact.
10. Check for Invasive Species
Check your boat after each trip for any signs of plants or animals and clean thoroughly. Never dump an unknown or non-local species, as they could be invasive.
Know Your Marina
Following these green tips is much easier when you are familiar with the marina where you’re docking. If you’re parking somewhere new, be sure to contact the marina well ahead of time to plan your stay and ask for any local rules and regulations. Local ordinances and environmental rules vary, so it’s best to have them in writing so you can follow the regulations easily.
It’s also a good idea to know ahead of time your marina’s docking material and requirements about tying up overnight. Bring along slip resistant shoes if the marina has concrete docks. Ask about the emergency response plan so you know what to do in the event of a fire or major storm — it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Vegan Boating Options
Did you know that there are specific cruises dedicated for those who are vegan or vegetarian? If you don’t own your own boat, but would love to relax on the water there are plenty of cruise options.
With some forethought and research, you can make sure your summer boating season is a safe one that protects both your human friends and all the creatures of the sea. Follow the steps to protect the environment, and you’ll be boating on crystalline waters for years to come!