Greenwich Boat Show

green boater tips
Instead of throwing boat shrink wrap in the dumpster, BoatUS says there’s a better way – and has advice on how you can help your marina start a recycling program.

Clean and green boating tips to remember this spring for Earth Day and all season

As the weather warms up and boaters everywhere are preparing for a fun season ahead, now is a great time for a reminder of why you love boating. Getting back to nature and enjoying your time on the water. All the more reason for boaters to have a vested interest in maintaining the environment and keeping our precious waters clean.

Spring is a busy time for boaters – peeling off the shrink wrap, painting and waxing boats for the season. And with Earth Day coming up on April 22, its a great time to think about what boaters can do to prepare for a greener boating season.

Here are three easy tips from the BoatUS Foundation that any boater can do:

Springtime Greening

When you uncover the boat this spring, recycle your shrink wrap. If your marina does not have a recycling program, send them to www.recycling-run.com where they can learn about starting one, courtesy of Dr. Shrink.

[Editor’s note: Some boaters also opt to recycle their shrink wrap for the next season – I’ve even seen some boaters that carefully remove their wrap save it for reuse 2-3 years.]

Be sure to give your marina any discarded fluids such as engine oil to recycle. However, always label used oil and never simply leave in a location unattended – once the contents cannot be confirmed, it falls into the “orphan” category of hazardous waste, will not be recycled, and won’t make your marina very happy.

[Editor’s note: Don’t forget about other recycling at your marina – most boaters generate a lot of empty water bottles and beer cans that should be recycled. Talk to your marina about adding a recycling container for slip holders – or take them home with you to recycle.]

Change your Refueling Habits

boatUS clean marinasIf you sometimes seem to accidentally get a little fuel in the water during refueling, try some different ways to refuel, such as always having an absorbent pad, fuel nozzle absorbent “donut” or “bib” (to soak up back splashes) before you start the pump. Learn – by listening to changing sound coming from the fuel vent – when your fuel tank is nearly full, then stop refueling. It’s ok to leave a little air at the top of the tank. Ninety percent full is best and will help to prevent a rough sea or expansion from causing any fuel to exit the vent. Fueling basics, including smart refueling tips, can be found at BoatUS.org/clean-boating/fueling.

Potty Training

When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. We all know it is illegal and just downright gross to discharge untreated sewage within three miles of shore. If your boat has a “head” or toilet facility, ensure that the Y-valve is closed to prevent any overboard discharge and learn how to use a pumpout station by watching the short video at BoatUS.org/clean-boating/sewage/pumpout. If you have an onboard treatment device, know the location of any “no discharge zones” where you boat, as even a treated discharge is not allowed in these areas.

[Editor’s note: If you really are “potty training” on your boat, you may want to also check out BoaterKids.com for more tips on boating with kids!

Also check out our Green and Ec0-Friendly Boat Cleaning Products for tips on how to use greener cleaning products for your boating environment.]

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Diane Seltzer

Founder & Editor at My Boat Life
Diane is the founder of MyBoatLife.com as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids BoaterKids.com. She is also active in the boating industry, serving as the marketing director for a marine sunshade product, SureShade, and founder of Marine Marketing Tools, a collaborative site for sharing marine marketing best practices. Diane is also the author of the children's book The Amazing Adventures of Boat Girl.

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