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Eco-Friendly Boating for Beginners

In order to conserve our environment, it is essential to follow eco-friendly boating practices. By following these environmentally safe guidelines, our waterways can be conserved for generations to come to share and enjoy. There are many different ways that boats can contribute to pollution. Marine engines contribute to ground level pollution by emitting hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide. The pollutants caused by marine engines impact humans directly because they cause respiratory inflammation. Lack of regular maintenance on a vessel can contribute to oil and gas leaks. The surrounding environment of a particular waterway can be infected by a single vessel through the transportation of evasive species from one body of water to another. While there are many ways a boat can contribute to pollution, there are many ways drivers can make their boating trips greener. Action Donation Services┬« who processes boat, yacht, and watercraft donations for hundreds of America’s best known charities believes strongly that beginning boaters should understand the importance of protecting the environment and provides this article to help educate boaters.

The Clean Water Act was established in 1972 as a significant revision of an earlier act called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act set in 1948. The Clean Water Act set the standards for emitting wastewater and other pollutants into waterways for the boating industry. The act instituted general guidelines for discharging pollutants into United States Waters.

In 2008, the Clean Boating Act was passed by Congress to amend the preexisting Clean Water Act. The Clean Boating Act holds recreational boaters responsible for the discharge of their boating vessels. This act regulates discharges related to multiple emissions of a vessel. The act regulates the method and chemicals used to clean a boat, the transport of aquatic species that are harmful to new environments, where to bilge water, and dispose of waste from fishing. While this act holds more boaters responsible for the emissions of their vessels, it also ensures that fewer harmful pollutants and evasive species will invade waterways. By following the act, boaters must ensure that they carry out regular maintenance on their vessels and follow guidelines for limiting the discharge of harmful pollutants into waterways.

Boaters can help to keep waterways clear by following some guidelines that are set forth by the EPA. Always avoid spilling gasoline in waterways and on the boat itself. In order to prevent gas spillage, use a funnel that has an automatic stop device, hold the gasoline container securely, and pour the gasoline slowly into the gas tank. To save on gas and emissions, drivers can limit all unnecessary idling and operation at full throttle. To prevent oil and gas leaks, follow the recommended schedule for maintenance set forth by the vessels manufacturer. Prepare the engine for winter storage properly to prevent oil and winterizing chemicals from leaking.

Transporting evasive species to multiple waterways can easily disrupt the gentle balance of an ecosystem because it can wipe out an entire species in a particular area that contributes to the surrounding environment. In order to prevent transfer of these species, check the bilges and the hull of the boat. Make sure to check the trailer and clear off any plant matter. Regular cleaning and maintenance of a vessel will also help to ensure that these species do not hitchhike from one waterway to another.

There are multiple alternatives to choosing a new way to travel waters in an environmentally conscious fashion. Sailboats and kayaks use natural means of propulsion and do not emit chemicals that result in the use of an engine. While these engine free vessels produce little to no harmful fumes, they can still contaminate waters with evasive species and cleaning chemicals.

New technology is helping to create boats that are more environmentally friendly by using a smarter engine that controls the speed at which it emits gas from the engine. The Sea Doo 210 Challenger contains a computer that relays information to the engine while it is in the fuel economy mode. This computer regulates two mechanisms, the amount of power delivered, and how it is delivered by the engine. Once the boat planes the computer automatically determines the most efficient fuel mode: ski, eco, docking, or cruise. This computer continually works within the four fuel modes to pick the most fuel efficient mode depending on factors like water temperature, change in current, and air temperature.

There are many ways to make a boat more environmentally friendly. While there are minor tips to keep a boat as environmentally friendly (such as using a non-toxic cleaning products), purchasing a new engine that meets the most current EPA standards is always a great way to ensure that a vessel is emitting as few harmful emissions as possible. While these standards are set for vessels that contain motors, the Clean Boating Act also requires that vessels without motors like kayaks, and sailboats be regularly maintained. Following the standards that are established by the EPA will not only help to conserve the environment and waterways, they can also help boaters save money by conserving gas and getting better mileage on their boating trips.

To learn more about eco-friendly boating, consult the following links:

  • Clean Boating Act: An overview of the Clean Boating Act.
  • Clean Boating Tips: Tips on how to keep your boat clean and free of aquatic hitchhikers. Also includes information on how and where to dispose of various chemicals.
  • Eco Friendly Boating: How to keep your boat ecofriendly before, during, and after the boating season.
  • Quick and Easy Eco Boating Tips: Quick and easy ways to stay ecofriendly while boating.
  • Environmentally Friendly Boat Engines: A resource for new technology in fuel efficient and ecofriendly boat engines.
  • Environmentally Friendly Boat Cleaning Products: A guide to non-toxic and homemade cleaning products.
  • Proper Boat Washing: A tip sheet for proper boat washing procedures.
  • Boat Cleaning and Maintenance: How to properly clean and maintain your boat to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species Guidebooks: Provides multiple guidebooks on limiting aquatic invasive species in PDF format.
  • Cleaning Procedures to Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers: How to properly clean your boat to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species.
  • Zebra Mussels: Information on a popular aquatic nuisance species.
  • Eurasian Water Milfoil: Information on a common aquatic invasive species.
  • Boat Inspection and Cleaning: Procedures to inspect and clean your boat.
  • When you no longer need your boat, consider donating it to a deserving charity by calling Action Donation Services.┬« who has expertise in processing donated vessels of all sizes.
  • Invasive Aquatic Animals: A guide to invasive species and animals.

 

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