Going green: Tips and tricks for eco-friendly boating
14th February 2021 Jessica Watson
It’s impossible to enjoy our coastlines and oceans without wanting to see them protected. I’m sure that I’m not alone in feeling devastated when I find rubbish washed up on an otherwise pristine beach or see oil spread across the surface of the water.
Thankfully, we’ve become more and more conscious of protecting our marine environments. Boaties have become more mindful, and the industry has taken fantastic steps in the right direction.
Here are a few things that boaties should think about to ensure that we’re all doing our bit when it comes to doing the right thing by the ocean.
Fuel, oil and water are not a good mix. The tiniest spill will spread alarmingly quickly on the surface of the water. When it comes time to fuel up, work out where the fuel dock’s spill kit is and have rags at the ready; perhaps even laid out around the fuel filler. If you're refuelling from a jerrycan while on the water, use a funnel with a flexible spout to avoid spills. Don’t treat fuelling up lightly as a small slip can have big consequences.
Plastics and other materials
The incredible damage caused to our oceans by plastics is well documented, so it goes without saying that plastic should never be thrown over the side. Plastics can take hundreds of years to break down and may even become part of our food chain. But when it comes to other materials like glass and aluminium, there are a lot of misconceptions about what is and isn’t okay. While these materials may break down faster than plastic, they can still take hundreds of years. It’s better not to let anything go over the side!
Sinks, showers and other drains
Keep in mind that anything you put down the sink goes straight out into the water. You might want to go easy on harsh cleaning products and think about stocking your boat with the more environmentally friendly options. When in port, marina showers should be utilised.
Whilst not a pleasant topic, it is necessary to mention holdings tanks as some areas require boats to have them installed. In areas such as the Whitsundays, the authorities are pretty diligent at checking for tanks. Many marinas also provide pump-out facilities. Boaties should check with the maritime authorities in their relevant state to find out what the local requirements are.
Hanging your towels
Hanging your towels out to dry isn’t something that comes to mind as an environmental hazard, but a towel or shirt that blows overboard can do a lot of damage to coral and certain fabrics take years to break down.
Boaties are also encouraged to support marinas that are part of the International Clean Marina Program managed by the Marina Industries Association. To view marinas in your area, check the map on the deckee app.