Everyone enjoys taking their boats out, especially on an exceptionally clear, sunny day. Whether it is just for a relaxing afternoon on the water or some action-like boating activities; utilizing the boat is always fun. More often than not, however, most folks don’t give a second thought on what it is doing to our environment.
Texas Heritage Protection would like to list a few things you can do to be green and clean while still having fun on your boating excursions!
1. Preventing Oil in the Ocean. It is in your best interest, and the lakes and rivers, that you prevent the oily discharges from the bilge. The best way to do that is by remembering to give your boats the maintenance and tune ups they need. Doing so can avert the gas or oil leaks. Using an oil absorbent pillow or pad, secure it to the bilge and under your boats engine where such leaks can potentially occur. Be sure to check the pads frequently, as you do not want them to clog the bilge pump. When you need to dispose of the pad or pillows, do so at your local hazardous waste collection center.
2. Oil Change Pump. When getting your boat’s oil changed, utilize an oil change pump to transfer oil to a spill-proof container. Afterwards, wrap either a plastic bag or oil absorbent pad around the oil filter to better prevent oil from leaking into the bilge.
3. Cautiously Fuel your Boat’s Tank. When filling your tank, do not top off or over fill the tank. Add fuel slowly to avoid dripping. Fuel expands when it warms up, so leaving 10% of your tank empty is more optimal. When filling the tank, have an oil absorbent pad handy to catch the drips or spills in the event they occur.
4. Just say no to soap. Not only is it illegal, but it is in no way good to the environment to use soap to disperse fuel and oil spills.
5. Keep the Water Clean. Avoid doing heavy maintenance projects on the water. Keep that kind of work in the boatyard. If an occasion calls for performing maintenance work on the water, do your best to contain waste to minimize the effects. To do so, use tarps and vacuum sanders to better compile the drips and other debris for proper disposal.
6. Use green paint. To keep the water pure as best we can, we want to reduce the toxic discharge from the bottom of paint. You can decrease the discharge of heavy metals often found in sloughing antifouling paints by switching to nontoxic antifouling paints. When you are cleaning underneath the hull, apply non-abrasive underwater hull cleaning techniques. By applying this method to your maintenance, you can prevent excessive paint discharge. Dry storage reduces your need for antifouling paint, which saves the environment and saves you money.
7. All hazardous waste is properly disposed of. Your hazardous waste materials need to be sufficiently disposed of. All these things include paint, batteries, antifreeze, cleaning products, oil, oil filters and other related materials need to be disposed of in your local hazardous waste collection facility.
8. Sewage waste needs proper disposal. Make sure you follow your local laws and protocols when disposing of your sewage waste.
9. Collect trash. It is prudent that you do not throw your discarded trash overboard. Have a garbage bag on hand for cigarette butts, fishing lines, food wrappers, or any other manner of refuse. Then throw it away in the appropriate garbage receptacle.
10. Think it out. Before doing anything you are uncertain of, use common sense. If the answer still eludes you, inquire about your actions with the appropriate authority figure, or use your favorite search engine. Keeping our environment clean and green in all water activities is the best thing to do to preserve it for future generations.