Clean Green Boating

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Clean Green Boating

Our planet’s oceans and the vast amount of precariously balanced ecosystems it contains are under major threat – pollution being the chief cause. As boaters we have a collective responsibility to ensure that our fun on the water does not bring about any negative repercussions on the environment so that future generations may also have the privilege of enjoying and discovering the Deep Blue.

Firstly, when you take your boat out, make sure to prevent oily discharges from the bilge. This is easily avoided by keeping your engine well tuned and thereby preventing any fuel or oil leaks. Just to be sure, secure an oil absorbent pad or pillow in your bilge and under your engine where drips may occur.

Secondly, we all know that changing your boat’s oil can be a messy business, but make sure to spill-proof your oil changes in future. Use an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill-proof container. Then, wrap a plastic bag or absorbent pad around the oil filter to prevent oil from spilling into the bilge and Bob’s your uncle, a spill-free oil change.

The other marine killer is fuel. When you run out of fuel at the dam and need to refuel at the petrol dock, don’t spill any into the water! Prevent petrol spills by filling your tank slowly and using absorbent pads or rags to catch drips and spills. Don’t “top off” or overflow your fuel tank. Leave the tank 10% empty to allow fuel to expand as it warms. When you do spill oil or petrol, do not add soap! Never use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills. It increases harm to the environment.

Everyone wants to show off with a clean and shiny boat, but try to minimise boat cleaning and maintenance in the water. If possible, save maintenance projects for the boatyard. When doing on-the-water jobs however, reduce your impact by containing waste. Use tarps and vacuum sanders to collect all drips and debris for proper disposal. When it’s time for a new paint job make sure to reduce toxic discharges from bottom paints. The discharge of heavy metals found in soft-sloughing antifouling paints have a hugely damaging impact to marine life so rather use a less toxic, or nontoxic antifouling paint. Also, use only non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques to prevent excessive paint discharge. Remember, dry storage reduces the need for antifouling paints and saves money.

Dispose of hazardous waste properly. Dispose of paints, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters and other hazardous wastes at a hazardous waste collection facility or dump…


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