Protect the marine environment you love by following these simple eco-friendly boat tips when out on the water
Boating season is now in full swing, and while many recreational boaters are preparing their vessels to set sail on the open seas, they should also be considering the steps they can take to limit their boat’s carbon footprint and negative environmental effects.
Many top-of-the-line boats are equipped with countless features that, while luxurious and accommodating, require significant maintenance that often involves less-than-sustainable supplies. Before you set sail, literally or figuratively, it’s important to stay sustainable.
Here are just a few ways to give your boat an eco-friendly boost before you hit the open waters this summer.
Cut Energy Costs
First, you shouldn’t underestimate the energy you could save during each and every boat ride by taking a few simple steps. Start by taking a look at your boat’s cooling system and clean out its filter. Just like your home’s HVAC system, efficient HVAC systems require maintenance inspections twice a year, and keeping the filter clean is one of the most effective steps you can take to keep the system from working harder than it has to.
Another creative way to cut air conditioner usage and keep your boat cool during summer boat rides — not to mention private — is by installing protective window shields that limit the amount of sunlight that can enter your boat. In fact, window tint can block up to 79% of solar heat, keeping rooms cooler and cutting down on cooling costs. Window tints have a relatively low initial investment and can make a major difference in the overall appearance, comfort, and privacy level of your boat.
Use Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
It should come as no surprise that most mainstream cleaning products for boats are filled with toxic chemicals that can damage the delicate balance of the aquatic ecosystem. Fortunately, there are non-toxic boat cleaning products intended to limit this damage while ensuring a thorough cleaning job.
A 2017 Unilever study found that 33% of consumers, or one in three, prefer to choose brands that support social or environmental causes, and between the number of non-toxic cleaning products available on the market and from the natural ingredients in your home, you can prevent marine life damage during the boat cleaning process.
For example, if you need to clean your boat’s windows and mirrors, you can do the job effectively by creating a mixture of vinegar, lemon juice, and water. Spray the mixture onto the surface and wipe it down with a clean, dry cloth. Today, more than one-third of new paper is made with recycled fiber, which means that you can also use newspaper as an eco-friendly option that won’t leave lint or streaks after you’re done cleaning.
For a complete list of eco-friendly cleaning solutions for boats, consult Eartheasy‘s simple and sustainable guide. (Also see our post on suggested green boat cleaning products).
Prevent Oil Spills at All Costs
Finally, one of the most important precautions all boaters should take during every boat trip is to do all they can to prevent oil spills. Experts say a shocking proportion of oil within North American waters is a direct result of human activity. This includes the emissions from boats.
To ensure that you’re fueling your boat safely, make sure the process is completed at the dock. Don’t attempt to top off your gas tank, either, as the heat from the engine will cause the gas to expand, overflow, and enter the water. If, after your best efforts, your boat does leak oil during your trip, Mobox Marine advises a number of quick yet important steps:
“Any oil, petroleum, or gasoline that leaves a sheen on the water must be reported immediately, whether you spilled it or simply discovered it (or saw someone else do it)…Do not attempt to clean the spill yourself (and do not make it worse by diluting it with detergent or other chemicals..call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802,” writes Mobox Marine.
Ultimately, it’s your duty as a responsible boat owner to keep the environment in mind during each and every excursion, and these tips can help you get started. Anchors aweigh!
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