As we become more and more aware of the negative impact that our lifestyles can have on the environment, we start to make increased efforts to find alternative means to live the way we want but at less of a cost to the environment. Many people, for instance are now buying hybrid or 100% electric cars to reduce their carbon footprint but what about boat owners?
Boat engines can have just as much negative impact on the environment as cars, especially when you consider how many pollutants are released off boats into the water, such as cleaning fluids and fuel. However, many owners are not aware of what they can do to help reduce this negative environmental impact, so below you will find 5 useful tips that, if followed, will help you do just that.
Before going out onto the water:
Effectively prepping the outside of your boat
By this, we mean adding a wax coat onto your boat. Wax is extremely good at keeping dirt and grime at arm’s length, which means that, if done well and regularly, you will not have to clean your boat as much as you had to when your boat was not covered in wax. If you don’t have to clean your boat as much, it means you won’t be using as many harmful chemicals, so fewer pollutants are therefore released.
Only ever refuel on land
Mistakes happen and sometimes this means that fuel spillages occur when refueling your boat. If this happens on land, it is not too big a deal, however, if it happens when your boat is on the water, it can turn into a big deal. Even if you think it doesn’t matter because it is only a tiny spillage, if everyone had this attitude and didn’t care about their tiny spillage when they were refueling on the water, think how devastating this could be to the creatures living in that area.
So, next time you go to refuel on the water, think about the natural environment and how you’d rather the sea birds living in that area continued to live a healthy life, rather than be bogged down and eventually killed by their oily feathers. Refuel on land, it does not take that much extra effort and is definitely worth it in the long run.
When refueling, don’t fill the tank to the top.
What many people don’t realise, when topping up their fuel tank, is that gasoline expands when it is warm. This means that if your tank is full to the brim, it will spill over when you’re out at sea and that is no good for anyone. Not only do you not get the extra mileage from the fuel that you’ve put in but the natural environment gets polluted.
So, next time you are refueling (on land), be sure to leave approximately 10% free space in the tank, which will allow the gasoline to expand without risking a hazardous spillage.
When you come to dock your boat:
Try cleaning your boat with natural cleaning solutions
Many people tend to be of the opinion that natural cleaning solutions do not work as well as the commercial (polluting) products. However, people have been cleaning with natural cleaning solutions for a lot longer than those commercial products have been around and if it means you can save the environment at the same time, well there’s just no worthwhile argument not to go natural.
Vinegar is one of the most common and most effective environmentally friendly products that you can use and, when mixed with a little water, works very well at cleaning dirt, oil and sea scum off your boat. This vinegar/water mix is also very adept at cleaning windows and leaving them streak-free. Alternatively, you can also create a bicarbonate of soda and water mixture, which works wonders on mildew and stubborn marks.
In addition to these cleaning solutions, you should also look at investing in a boat cover, which will help to prevent the buildup of grime when your boat is docked.
Make sure you know how to change, replace & dispose of things properly
There is always going to be a time when your boat requires servicing and this may mean that you have to change the oil, replace the filters and even adjust certain chemical imbalances. When it comes to this, if you are doing it yourself, you have got to make sure that you perform these actions on land and in a secure area. You should never risk doing anything near a water source, where you could possible end up releasing pollutants.
You also need to make sure that you know how and where to dispose of any oil and chemicals that you have taken from your boat. Oil and filters can, more often than not, now be recycled so maybe ask around the boatyard for advice on where you can take them. Alternatively have a look online and look for advice on how to safely store or get rid of your oil and filters.
Whatever you do, don’t just dismissively throw things away. You never know what damage they might end up doing to the environment. Above all, take careful note of the tips above and you can be safe and proud in the knowledge that you are doing your bit for the environment.
James blogs for dry stack boat storage in Australia company, Wickens. When he isn’t blogging about boat storage or cantilever racking systems he’s cycling around in the big outdoors or trying to get a bit better at the ukulele…