How Boat Owners Can Go Green

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People all over the world are seriously investing in going green – in other words, practicing habits that are more environmentally friendly and sustainable. For some people, it’s only about protecting the environment. For others, it’s about living more ethically and efficiently.

Whatever your motivations are, there are several strategies you can use to go green as an avid boater.

Get an Electric Boat Motor (and Use It Wisely)

Electric boat motors have exploded in popularity over the past few years, as they’ve become easier to develop, more versatile in function, and more practical in terms of distribution and use.

Electric motors can do almost everything that combustion motors can do, and they can do it with fewer emissions and greater efficiency. Switching to an electric boat motor can instantly make your maritime habits more environmentally sustainable – while simultaneously saving you money on fuel.

Just make sure you’re not running your engine unnecessarily and that you practice energy efficiency whenever possible.

Avoid Disastrous Spills

One of the worst things a boat owner can do is facilitate a disastrous spill in the water; if gasoline, diesel, oil, or other harmful materials end up in the water, it can cause an ecological catastrophe.

These are some of the most important strategies you can use to avoid these incidents.

Approach refueling and oil changes carefully. Whenever refueling your boat or changing the oil on your vessel, be deliberate, cautious, and methodical. Spilling even a small amount of fuel in the water can be problematic, so control these fluids carefully.

Regularly inspect for damage. Take the time to regularly inspect your vessel for any cracks or points of damage that could cause a leak. Oftentimes, fuel spills result from simple ignorance.

Practice routine maintenance. It’s also important to practice routine maintenance so your boat remains in the best possible condition. If your boat operates as intended, spills are unlikely.

Consider Installing Solar Panels

In some cases, it makes sense to install solar panels on your boat (or in your marina). Solar energy is one of the most practical and sustainable forms of energy generation, and it can reduce your reliance on less sustainable energy sources.

Control Your Waste

Keep tight control over the waste on your vessel.

Manage your sewage and greywater. Your wastewater should not be thrown overboard in most situations; in fact, it’s illegal in most areas. Make sure you have a plan to ethically manage your sewage and greywater. Marine sanitation devices (MSDs) can make this much easier.

Never throw garbage overboard. Never throw your trash overboard. Instead, stow it and dispose of it properly once you get to shore.

Recycle what you can. Reuse or recycle any materials you can, rather than throwing them away.

Use Eco-Friendly Products

Prioritize using environmentally friendly products while on your vessel. Some products are strictly better than others when it comes to environmental impact.

Cleaning products. Rely on cleaning products made from natural ingredients, and always check the label to see what your products are made of.

Sunscreen and lotion. Some types of sunscreen (and lotion) are made with harmful chemicals that can negatively impact marine life. Compounds like octocrylene, OD-PABA, and octinoxate can block photosynthesis in green algae, introduce defects in the offspring of fish, mussels, sea urchins, and even dolphins, and cause damage to coral reefs.

Paint. Boat paint comes in many varieties, and not all of these varieties are good for wildlife or the environment.

Observe Local Laws and Ordinances

Most areas have laws and ordinances in place to protect the environment, including strict laws on how, when, and where you can fish. Obey these laws and ordinances to the best of your ability; collectively, this can help preserve your natural resources.

Why Bother?

Why should you make the effort?

Protect the environment. Managing your habits can protect the environment and preserve it for future generations. Everyone has a shared interest in keeping our natural resources protected.

Save money. Many strategies focus on waste minimization and efficiency; following these strategies can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Comply with laws and regulations. Environmental sustainability efforts are sometimes required by local laws. You’ll need to be aware of those laws to remain in compliance with them.

Set a good example. Being a more sustainable boat owner encourages others to follow your sustainability initiative.

Going green is good not only for you, but also your boating enthusiast peers and anyone else interested in protecting and enjoying the environment. Many of these changes are simple and inexpensive, and many of them have practical advantages for you as an individual; accordingly, you should feel motivated to follow as many of them as you reasonably can.

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