7 Green Boating Tips for Earth Day (and Every Day)

7 Green Boating Tips for Earth Day (and Every Day)

Happy Earth Day! Today is a day when groups organize special clean-up events at beaches, parks, trails and streams around the country. While today is a great opportunity to lend a hand and help out, we hope that you’ll also think about ways to make your boating trips more Earth-friendly year-round.

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Here are 7 tips from the Sea Tow Foundation to have a green boating trip and make every day Earth Day!

  1. Avoid plastic bags – When packing your food and gear for a day on the water, avoid using plastic bags. When bags are empty, they easily catch the wind and can get blown overboard into the water where they can wreak havoc on boat propellers and confuse hungry marine life who mistake the bags for food. Use containers to hold your food and reusable bags for your gear.

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  1. Use non-toxic cleaners – Cleaning your boat or your boating equipment is important, but you should use non-toxic cleaners to do so. These are not only safe for the environment, but they will also be safe around your members and pets.

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  1. Take care when fueling – When gassing up your boat, always make sure you know where your fuel tank is so that you don’t accidentally fill up a fishing rod holder instead. Also, don’t top off the tank because it can overflow when the gas expands under the warm sun. Fill tanks slowly so that you do not spill any gas into the boat or the water. If you do have drips, use special oil-absorbing towels to wipe them up and dispose of the towels in specially marked containers on land. If you do have a spill, notify your state boating agency or your marina immediately so that it can be contained.

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  1. Perform regular maintenance – Check your engine and bilge regularly to ensure that they are running smoothly and not leaking. Also, change your oil as frequently as the manufacturer recommends. If you are unsure how to handle these things on your own, ask your local Sea Tow captain for a recommendation of where to take your boat for service.

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  1. Trash collection – Whatever goes out on the water comes back with you to be thrown away or recycled on land. Never toss food, bottles, cans or other items into the water. And, if you’re able to safely pick up trash that you see along the shoreline, you’ll be helping keep the waters clean for everyone to enjoy.

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  1. Fishing gear – Used hooks and fishing line are dangerous and should be disposed of properly. Fishing line can get tangled around sea life or people swimming in the water. And, hooks can pierce the skin and lead to infections. Collect used fishing gear in a safe area on your boat where children and pets won’t stumble across them and dispose of them properly when you get back to the dock.

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  1. Hose your boat down – If you trailer your boat to different bodies of water, there are a few steps that you need to take to stop the spread of aquatic nuisance species. Right after leaving a body of water, empty your live wells, take out your drain plug, and hose down the outside of the boat with plenty of fresh water. You are doing this to remove hitchhiking parasites and organisms from your boat so that they don’t get spread into another body of water.

 

Written by  Gail Kulp

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